Equality and social Justice in a Democracy
Donna M. Gollnick Chief Academic Officer, TEACH-NOW
Philip C. Chinn California State University, Los Angeles
Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Gollnick, Donna M. | Chinn, Philip C., 1937- Title: Multicultural education in a pluralistic society / Donna M. Gollnick, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, Philip C. Chinn, California State University, Los Angeles. Description: Tenth Edition. | Boston : Pearson,  | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2015033057 | ISBN 9780134054674 Subjects: LCSH: Multicultural education–United States. | Social sciences—Study and teaching (Elementary)–United States. | Cultural pluralism—Study and teaching (Elementary)–United States. | Social sciences—Study and teaching (Secondary)–United States. | Cultural pluralism—Study and teaching (Secondary)–United States. Classification: LCC LC1099.3 .G65 2017 | DDC 370.1170973–dc23 LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015033057
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LLV: ISBN 10: 0-13-405491-1 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-405491-9
eText: ISBN 10: 0-13-405564-0 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-405564-0
eText with LLV: ISBN 10: 0-13-405467-9 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-405467-4
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This book is dedicated to
Dr. Haywood Wyche and Michele Clarke, my best friends and my inspiration
Dr. Frances Kuwahara Chinn and Dylan Philip Chinn-Gonzalez, my best friend and my newest grandchild
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About the Authors
Donna M. Gollnick is the Chief Academic Officer of TEACH-NOW, an online teacher education program. She
was previously a senior consultant for the new teacher education accrediting organization,
the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the Senior Vice Presi-
dent of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), where
she managed the accreditation of colleges and universities across the United States. She has
been promoting and writing about multicultural education and equity in teacher education
and schools since the 1970s and is a past president of the National Association for Multicul-
tural Education (NAME). Dr. Gollnick is the coauthor of Introduction to the Foundations of
American Education, Seventeenth Edition, and Introduction to Teaching: Making a Difference in
Student Learning, Second Edition.
Philip C. Chinn is a professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles, where he taught multicul-
tural education, special education, and served as Special Education Division chair. He served as
special assistant to the Executive Director for Minority Affairs at the Council for Exceptional
Children (CEC), where he coordinated the first national conferences on the Exceptional Bilin-
gual Child and the Exceptional Black Child. He served as vice president of the National Associa-
tion for Multicultural Education (NAME) and co-editor of Multicultural Perspectives, the NAME
journal. NAME named their Multicultural Book Award in his honor. He has co-authored two
special education texts. He also served on the California State Advisory Commission for Special
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Brief Contents ChAPter 1
Foundations of Multicultural education 1
race and ethnicity 26
Class and Socioeconomic Status 57
Sexual Orientation 109
the Youth Culture 235
education that Is Multicultural 258
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Foundations of Multicultural education 1
Diversity in the Classroom 2
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Celebrating Ethnic Holidays 5
Characteristics of Culture 5
The Dominant Culture 6
Cultural Identity 8
Pluralism in Society 9
Cultural Relativism 11
Equality and Social Justice in a Democracy 12
Social Justice 14
Obstacles to Equality and Social Justice 15
Multicultural Education 18
Evolution of Multicultural Education 19
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Should Ethnic Studies Be Taught? 21
Multicultural Education Today 22
Multicultural Proficiencies for Teachers 23
Reflecting on Multicultural Teaching 24
race and ethnicity 26
A Brief History of Immigration in the United States 27
The Control of Immigration 29
Unauthorized Immigrants 31
Refugees and Asylees 32
Education of Immigrants 33
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Ethnic Identity 34
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Student Conflict between Family and Peer Values 36
Identification of Race 37
Racial Diversity 38
Racial Identity 39
The Struggle for Civil Rights 41
The Civil Rights Movement 41
Brown v. Board of Education 42
Post-Brown Turnaround 43
Racial and Ethnic Discrimination 46
Intergroup Relations 46
Hate Groups 47
School-to-Prison Pipeline 48
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/To Suspend or Not Suspend? 49
Affirming Race and Ethnicity in Classrooms 50
Acknowledging Race and Ethnicity in Schools 51
Confronting Racism in Classrooms 52
Incorporating Race and Ethnicity in the Curriculum 52
Closing the Opportunity Gap 54
Class and Socioeconomic Status 57
Class Identity 58
Social Stratification 59
Socioeconomic Status 59
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Impact of Socioeconomic Status on School Events 61
Class Differences 65
The Unemployed and Homeless 66
The Working Class 68
The Middle Class 69
The Upper Middle Class 70
The Upper Class 71
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Economic Inequality 72
Racial and Ethnic Inequality 72
Gender Inequality 74
Age Inequality 74
Teaching for Equality 76
Teacher Expectations 78
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Detracking 80
Curriculum for Equality 81
School Funding 82
Male and Female Differences 85
Differences Based on Nature 85
Socially Constructed Differences 86
Gender Identity 88
Masculinity and Femininity 88
Transgender Identity 89
Influence of Ethnicity and Religion 90
Struggles for Gender Equity 90
Early Struggles for Gender Equity 91
The Second Wave 91
Today’s Challenges 92
The Boy Crisis 93
The Cost of Sexism and Gender Discrimination 93
Sexual Harassment 98
Critical Incidents in Teaching: The Boys’ Code 99
Bringing Gender Equality to the Classroom and Beyond 100
Title IX 101
Improving Academic Achievement 102
Nonsexist Education 103
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Separate Education for Boys and Girls 105
Single-Sex Education 105
Gender Equity: A Universal Issue 106
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Sexual Orientation 109
Sexual Identity 110
Sexual Differences 110
Diversity of Sexual Orientations 111
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Same-Sex Parents 113
Struggles for Sexual Equity 114
Fighting for Sexual Equity 115
Continuing Challenges for Equity 119
Heterosexism’s Toll on Students and Adults 120
A Targeted Minority 120
The School Climate 121
LGBTQ Teachers 122
Schools That Value Sexual Diversity 124
Queering the Curriculum 124
Conflict About LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum 126
Supporting LGBTQ Students 126
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Sexual Orientation in the Curriculum 127
Students with Disabilities and Students Who Are Gifted and Talented 131
Historical Antecedents 133
Brown v. Board of Education 134
PARC v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 135
Mills v. Board of Education 135
Section 504 136
Public Law 94-142 136
Americans with Disabilities Act 137
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 138
Idea Amendments 139
Idea Funding 140
Post–P.L. 94-142 Litigation 140
Laws and Funding for Gifted and Talented Students 141
Exceptional Individuals and Society 142
Exceptional Cultural Groups 143
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Disproportionate Placement in Special Education 145
Reporting of Students with Disabilites 145
Need for Disaggregated Data 148
California Proposition 227 and Special Education 148
Teaching Children with Exceptionalities 149
Communication Needs 150
Acceptance Needs 150
Freedom to Grow 150
Critical Incidents in Teaching: How to Address a Major Student Behavior Issue 151
Normalization and Inclusion 152
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Is Full Inclusion Feasible for All Children with Disabilities? 154
Language and Culture 157
Language as a Socializing Agent 158
Language Diversity 159
The Nature of Language 159
Cultural Influences 159
Language Differences 160
Perspectives on Standard English 164
Perspectives on African American English 164
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Attitudes toward African American Vernacular English 165
Sign Language 166
Nonverbal Communication 166
Second-Language Acquisition 168
English Language Learner Characteristics 169
The Role of First Language in Second Language Acquisition 169
Official English (English-Only) Controversy 171
Differentiating Instruction for All Language Learners 171
Language and Educational Assessment 172
Bilingual Education 173
English as a Second Language 175
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Curtailing Bilingual Education 178
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Religion and Culture 181
Religious Composition of Schools 181
The First Amendment and the Separation of Church and State 182
Religion as a Way of Life 183
The Importance of Religion in Our Lives 183
Freedom of Religious Expression 183
Religious Pluralism in the United States 184
A Changing Religious Landscape 185
The End of Christian America? 187
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Ship Them Back to Where They Came From? 194
Other Denominations and Religious Groups 198
Interaction of Religion with Gender, Gay and Lesbian Issues, and Race 198
Religion and Gender 198
Religion and Gay and Lesbian Issues 200
Religion and Race 201
Separating Church and State and Other Issues 203
School Prayer 204
School Vouchers 204
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/School Prayer 206
Classroom Implications 207
Geography and Culture 210
What Is Geography? 210
Our Place in the World 211
Regional Diversity in the United States 211
Regional Differences in Education 213
Rural, Urban, and Suburban Areas 216
Rural Areas 216
Urban Areas 218
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Moving from the City to a Rural Community 219
Suburban Areas 222
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Migration Worldwide 225
Migration in the United States 225
Resistance by Indigenous People 228
Incorporating Students’ Cultural and Geographic Differences into the Classroom 229
Teaching Immigrant Students 230
Honoring Family Cultures 231
Incorporating Global Perspectives 231
Working with Families and Communities 231
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Incorporating Global Perspectives in the Curriculum 232
the Youth Culture 235
The Culture of Youth 236
Young Adulthood 236
The Millennials: The Me Generation 237
Social Class and Poverty 240
Children, Ethnic Awareness, and Prejudice 240
Child Abuse 241
Childhood Obesity 243
Relationship with Parents 244
At-Risk Youth and High-Risk Behavior 244
Substance Abuse 245
Adolescent Sexual Behaviors 246
Other High-Risk Behaviors 247
Adolescent Suicide 247
Adolescent Self-Injury 249
Youth Violence 250
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Zero Tolerance 252
Street Gangs 253
America’s Youth in Today’s Classrooms 254
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Honor Student and Star Athlete 255
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education that Is Multicultural 258
Making Teaching Multicultural 259
Placing Students at the Center of Teaching and Learning 260
Student Voices 261
Engaging Students 261
Climate That Promotes Human Rights 262
School Climate 263
Hidden Curriculum 264
Messages to Students 264
Student and Teacher Connections 265
Student and Teacher Communications 266
Belief That All Students Can Learn 266
Focus on Learning 267
High Expectations 268
Culturally Responsive Teaching 269
Multicultural Curriculum 269
Critical Incidents in Teaching: Teaching about Thanksgiving 271
Culture in Academic Subjects 271
Multiple Perspectives 272
Inequity and Power 273
Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate/Teaching “Black Lives Matter” 274
Social Justice and Equality 275
Thinking Critically 275
Fostering Learning Communities 276
Teaching as a Political Activity 276
Preparing to Teach Multiculturally 276
Know Yourself and Others 276
Reflect on Your Practice 277
Author index 305
Subject index 309
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Preface A decade from now, we may look back at the period around 2015 as a turning point in address- ing racism in the United States. As this book went to print, in the summer of 2015, marchers from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic groups across the country were chanting “Black Lives Matter” after nine African Americans had been murdered in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a number of unarmed African American youth and men had been killed by police over the previous year. Calls for the removal of the Confederate f lag as a symbol of hate from public places came from leaders across political parties and racial groups. Times will tell whether these events have led to a public outcry by people of all races that will change policies and practices that are racist and discriminate against people of color.
The tenth edition of Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society examines issues of race, diversity and equity in society, how they are ref lected in schools, and their impact on students and teachers. In order to explore these issues, the book introduces future teachers to the dif- ferent cultural groups to which we and our students belong and the importance of building on the cultures and experiences of students to help them learn at high levels.
What Is New in the tenth edition?
NEW! The tenth edition is available as an enhanced Pearson e-text* with the following features:
• Video Margin Notes: Our new digital format allows us to illustrate issues and introduce readers to cultural groups in ways that were unimaginable in the past. Each chapter includes two to five videos to allow readers to listen to experts, watch footage of diverse classrooms, and listen to and watch effective teachers talk about and prac- tice strategies that promote multicultural education.
• Chapter Quizzes: Quiz questions align with learning outcomes and appear as a link at the end of each chapter in the e-text*. Using multiple-choice questions, the quiz- zes allow readers to test their knowledge of the concepts, research, strategies, and practices discussed in each section.
NEW! New opening scenarios in Chapters 1 and 5 introduce issues surrounding language diversity and sexual identity in classrooms. NEW! Chapters 1, 2, and 11 include new Focus Your Cultural Lens features on the politics of teaching ethnic studies, the use of suspensions in schools, and teaching “Black Lives Matter.” NEW! New Critical Incidents are introduced on handling a student behavior issue (Chapter 7), verbal attacks on Muslims in a classroom (Chapter 8), and moving from the city to a rural community (Chapter 9).
*These features are only available in the Pearson eText, available exclusively from www.pearsonhighered.com/etextbooks or by ordering the Pearson eText plus Loose-Leaf Version (ISBN 0134054679) or the Pearson eText Access Code Card (ISBN 013405492X).
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NEW! With disproportionately large numbers of African American and Latino men incarcerated in the nation’s prisons, Chapter 2 on ethnicity and race explores the school to prison pipeline that contributes to many youth entering the juvenile justice system as a result of actions taken in schools. NEW! Data from the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s No Ceilings, the Full Participation Report informs a Chapter 4 discussion of the dramatic changes that have improved conditions for girls and women in the world since the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. NEW! The growing interest in dual language immersion programs and the softening in some states of their previous opposition to bilingual education programs are introduced in Chapter 7 on language. NEW! New sections on global restrictions on religion, the changes introduced by Pope Francis, and Islamic extremists have been added to Chapter 8 on religion along with a discussion of the rise in the number of Americans and Canadians indicating no religious affiliation. The discussion of the interaction between religion and presidential and congressional elections has been expanded in this edition. NEW! Changing racial and ethnic demographics and significant regional differences related to health and well-being, politics, religion, and education are explored in Chapter 9 on geography. NEW! The impact of the most technologically advanced group of students to appear in our classrooms is examined in Chapter 10 on age. The chapter now includes a section on the Sandy Hook tragedies and chronicles the problems faced by the gunman who instigated the incident. UPDATED! Chapters reflect recent events and research that have impacted the topics addressed throughout the book. UPDATED! All tables, figures, and references reflect the latest data and thinking about the issues explored throughout the book.
Why Study Multicultural education?
The United States is one of the most multicultural nations in the world. The population includes indigenous peoples—American Indians, Aleuts, Inuit, and Hawaiians—and others who themselves or whose ancestors arrived as immigrants from other countries. Our students bring their unique ethnicities, races, socioeconomic statuses, religions, and native languages to the classroom. They differ in gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and physical and mental abilities. They have come from different parts of the world and have different experiences based on the communities in which they have grown up. As we move further into this century, the population will become increasingly more diverse. Children of color comprised just over half of the school-aged population in 2014, and this percentage will continue to grow over time.
The culture and the society of the United States are dynamic and in a continuous state of change. Understanding the impact of race, class, gender, and other group memberships on our students’ lives will make us more effective teachers. Education that is multicultural pro- vides an environment that values diversity and portrays it positively. Students are valued regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, native language, religion, socio- economic status, or disability. We should have high expectations for all of our students and both encourage and support them in meeting their educational and vocational potential. To deliver multicultural education, we must develop instructional strategies that build on the cultures of our students and their communities. We must make the curriculum authentic and meaningful to students to engage them in learning. Making the curriculum multicultural helps students and teachers think critically about institutional racism, classism, sexism, ablism, age- ism, and heterosexism.
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About the tenth edition
Students in undergraduate, graduate, and in-service courses will find this text helpful in examining social and cultural conditions that impact education. It provides the foundation for understanding diversity and using this knowledge effectively in classrooms and schools to help students learn. Other social services professionals will find it helpful in understanding the complexity of cultural backgrounds and experiences as they work with families and children.
As in previous editions, we approach multicultural education with a broad perspective of the concept. Using culture as the basis for understanding multicultural education, we discuss the cultural groups to which we belong and the impact those group memberships have on us and how we are treated in society and in schools.
We also emphasize the importance of an equitable education for all students. Educators should both be aware of and confront racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and discrimi- nation based on abilities, age, religion, and geography. Schools can eradicate discrimination in their own policies and practices if educators are willing to confront and eliminate their own racism, sexism, and other biases. To rid our schools of such practices takes a committed and strong faculty. The tenth edition helps readers develop the habit of self-ref lection that will help them become more effective teachers in classrooms that provide equity for all students.
Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society provides an overview of the different cultural groups to which students belong. The first chapter examines the pervasive inf luence of culture, the importance of understanding our own and our students’ cultural backgrounds and experi- ences, and the evolution of multicultural education. The next nine chapters examine ethnicity and race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, exceptionality, language, religion, geography (that is, the places we live), and age. The final chapter contains recommendations for using culturally responsive and social justice pedagogies in the implementation of education that is multicultural. The chapters in this edition have been revised and reorganized to ref lect current thinking and research in the area. In particular, the first chapter provides the founda- tional framework that supports our thinking about multicultural education. The final chapter integrates critical pedagogy with research on teaching effectively. Each chapter opens with a scenario to place the topic in an educational setting.
We have tried to present different perspectives on a number of issues in the most unbiased manner possible. We are not without strong opinions or passion on some of the issues. How- ever, in our effort to be equitable, we attempt to present different perspectives on the issues and allow the reader to make his or her own decisions. There are some issues related to racism, sexism, ableism, and so on, that are so important to the well-being of society that we do provide our positions, which we recognize to be our biases.
Readers should be aware of several caveats related to the language used in this text. Although we realize that the term American is commonly used to refer to the U.S. popula- tion, we view American as including other North and South Americans as well. Therefore, we have tried to limit the use of this term when referring to the United States. Although we have tried to use the terms black and white sparingly, data about groups often have been categorized by the racial identification, rather than by national origin such as African or European American. In many cases, we were not able to distinguish ethnic identity and have continued to use black, white, or persons of color. We have limited our use of the term minority and have focused more on the power relationships that exist between groups. We use His- panic and Latino interchangeably to refer to persons with Spanish-speaking heritages who have emigrated from countries as diverse as Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Belize, and Colombia.
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Features in the Tenth Edition
Each chapter includes the following features that illustrate how concepts and events play out in a classroom or school.
Chapter-Opening Classroom Scenarios Each chapter opens with a class- room scenario to place the chap- ter content in an educational setting. Questions at the end of each scenario encourage readers to think about the scenario and ref lect on the decisions they would make.
Critical Incidents in Teaching This feature presents both real-life and hypothetical situations that occur in schools or classrooms, providing read- ers with the opportunity to examine their feelings, attitudes, and possible actions or reactions to each scenario.
Socioeconomic Status 61
better in 1973 than in 1940. Beginning in 1973, however, the cost of living (i.e., the cost of housing, utilities, food, and other essentials) began to increase faster than incomes. Except for the wealthy, all families felt the financial pressure. No longer did they have extra income to purchase nonessentials. No longer was one full-time worker in a family enough to maintain a reasonable standard of living. The 1990s saw another upswing in the economy that resulted in an annual median family income of $68,9311 in 2007. Following the 2008 recession, the median income of a family dropped to $63,152; it had rebounded only to $63,815 by 2013. When both husband and wife worked, the median income of the family increased to $94,299 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014m).
Income sets limits on the general lifestyle of a family, as well as on their general welfare. It controls the consumption patterns of a family—the amount and quality of material posses- sions, consumer goods, and luxuries—and it influences savings, housing, and diet. It deter- mines whether families are able to afford college educations or new cars. Most low-income and middle-income families are barely able to cover their expenses from one paycheck to the next. If they lose their source of income, they could be homeless within a few months. Higher incomes provide security for families so that they will not need to worry about paying for the essentials and will have access to health care and retirement benefits.
Wealth Although the difference in income among families is great, an examination of income alone does not reveal the vast differences in the way families live. Income figures show the amount of money earned by a family for their labors during one year, but the figures do not include money earned from investments, land, and other holdings. They do not present the net worth of a family after they have paid all of their debts. The wealth of a family includes savings accounts, insurance, corporate stock ownership, and property. Wealth provides a partial guar- antee of future income and has the potential of producing additional income and wealth. However, for most families, the majority of their wealth comes from the equity value of their
1All of the family income numbers in this paragraph are reported as equivalent to 2013 dollars.
Critical Incidents in Teaching
impact of Socioeconomic Status on School events The middle school in a rural community of 9,000 residents has four school-sponsored dances each year. At the Valentine’s Day dance, a coat-and-tie affair, six eighth-grade boys showed up in rented tuxedos. They had planned this together, and their parents, who were among the more affluent in the community, thought it would be “cute” and paid for the rentals. The final dance of the year is scheduled for May, and it too is a coat-and-tie dance. This time, rumors are circulating around school that “everyone” is renting a tux and that the girls are getting new formal dresses. The parents of the six boys are, according to the grapevine, renting a limousine for their sons and their dates. These behaviors and dress standards are far in excess of anything previously observed at the middle school.
Several students, particularly those from lower-income backgrounds, have said they will boycott the dance. They cannot afford the expensive attire, and they claim that the ones behind the dress-up movement have said that only the nerds or geeks would show up in anything less than a tux or a formal gown.
QueStiOnS fOr CLaSSrOOm DiSCuSSiOn
1. How can schools ensure that the cost of attending school affairs is not prohibitive for some of their students? 2. Should school administrators intervene in the plans being made by the more advantaged students? What
could they do to control the situation? 3. Why could the actions of these advantaged students be disruptive to the school climate?
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Race and Ethnicity LEaRning OutcOmEs As you read this chapter, you should be able to:
2.1 Identify patterns of immigration and immigration policy and their impact on the education of children of foreign-born families.
2.2 Explain how educational practices support or eliminate ethnic differences among students.
2.3 Analyze the impact that the nation’s growing racial diversity will have on schools and students.
2.4 Describe the impact of the civil rights movement on education.
2.5 Evaluate the results of continuing racial and ethnic discrimination on communities and students.
2.6 Develop strategies for affirming race and ethnicity in the classroom.
Denise Williams was aware of the racial tension in the high school in which she teaches. At the last faculty meeting, the focus of the discussion was on developing more positive interethnic and interracial relations among students. A committee had been created to identify consultants and other resources to guide teachers in this effort.
Ms. Williams, however, thought that neither she nor her students could wait months to receive a report and recommendations from the committee. She was ready to introduce the civil rights movement in her social studies class. It seemed a perfect time to promote better cross-cultural communications. She decided to introduce this unit with a current event. She asked students to read selected articles and videos of events in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer and fall of 2014, after Michael Brown had been shot by a police officer.
She soon learned that this topic was not an easy one to handle. African American students expressed their anger at the discriminatory practices in the school and the community. Most of the white students did not believe that there was any discrimination. They did not understand the anger of the African American and Latino students. Ms. Williams thought the class was getting nowhere. In fact, at times the anger on both sides was so intense that she worried a physical fight would erupt. She was frustrated because the class discussions and activities were not helping students understand the reasons for their different perspectives about the same event. She felt she was making no progress at addressing stereotypes and prejudices that students held about each other. She was concerned that students were becoming more polarized in their
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beliefs. She wondered whether she could do anything in her class to improve understanding, empathy, and communications across groups.
1. What racial groups are most likely to see themselves represented in the school curriculum? 2. How can a classroom reflect the diversity of its students so that they all feel valued and
respected? 3. What were the positive and negative outcomes of the steps taken by Ms. Williams to introduce
the civil rights movement?
As people from all over the world joined American Indians in populating this nation, they brought with them cultural experiences from their native countries. Just because individuals have the same national origins, however, does not mean that they have the same history and experi- ences as other people who have emigrated from the same country. The time of immigration, the places in which groups settled, the reasons for emigrating, their socioeconomic status, and the degree to which their families have been affected by racism and discrimination affect their immigration experiences and acceptance in the United States. You will see these differences in schools as students whose families have been in the United States for several generations do not always warmly welcome new immigrant students.
Most groups have immigrated to the United States voluntarily to seek freedoms not avail- able in their native countries at the time, to escape dismal economic or political conditions, or to join family members already settled in the United States. However, not all people and groups voluntarily immigrate. The ancestors of most African Americans arrived involuntarily on slave ships. Mexicans living in the southwestern part of the country became residents when the United States annexed their lands. The reasons for immigration and the way immigrants were treated after they arrived have had a lasting impact on each group’s assimilation patterns and access to society’s resources.
a Brief History of immigration in the united states The United States was populated by hundreds of American Indian tribes when explorers from other nations arrived on its shores. Early European leaders were convinced that they needed to convert First Americans to Christianity, teach them English, and have them adopt European culture. With the continuing arrival of the European settlers, federal policies led to government takeovers of the land of the indigenous population, who fought against the privatization and selling of their lands. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 led to the forcible removal of First Americans in the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations from their homes in southeastern states in the Trail of Tears that moved them to reservations in the Oklahoma Territory. As many as 1 in 3 of the First Americans who were removed from their homes died on the way to the western territories. In addition, this separation led to a pattern of isolation and inequity that remains for many First Americans today.
By 1879, children on reservations were being removed from their homes and placed in boarding schools to unlearn their traditional ways and languages of their families. The hair of these children was cut, and they were not allowed to use their native languages. They some- times attended school part of the day and worked the other part of the day to support the school. A number of reports in the 1920s chronicled the abuse of these children, who were schooled many miles and sometimes many states away from their families. Although the goal
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Focus Your Cultural Lens: Debate This feature presents a controversial school issue with for and against statements for readers to consider. Questions guide readers to critically analyze both sides of the issue and encourage them to take a side.
232 chapter 9 Geography
are congruent with the home cultures of students. Parents can learn to support their children’s learning at home but may need concrete suggestions, which they will seek from teachers who they believe care about their children.
Educators must know the community to understand the cultures of families. In a school in which a prayer is said every morning, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision forbidding prayer in public schools, a new teacher in that setting should realize that teaching evolution would need to be done with great care and even then might have some negative consequences. In that school setting, one may not be able to teach sex education in the same way it is taught in many urban and suburban schools. In another school, Islamic parents may be upset with the attire that their daughters are expected to wear in physical education classes and may not approve of coed physical education courses. Jewish and Muslim students often wonder why the school celebrates or at least acknowledges Christian holidays but never their religious holidays.
Because members of the community may object to the content and activities in the cur- riculum does not mean that educators cannot teach multiculturally. It does suggest that they
Focus Your Cultural Lens
Debate/incorporating Global Perspectives in the curriculum When a number of teachers at John F. Kennedy High School began to realize the impact that globalization was having on their community, they began to talk to their colleagues about more systematically incorporating global perspectives across the curriculum. Some of the other teachers agreed. They clearly saw that a number of parents had lost their jobs when several factories relocated to Southeast Asian cities. And all around them, they could see that they and their students were wearing clothing and buying goods that were made outside the United States. The latest threats to food safety were due to imports from other countries.
Other teachers thought it was nonsense to change their curriculum to integrate global issues and perspec- tives. One teacher was overheard saying, “Who do these young radicals think they are? All they want to do is convince these kids that the United States is an imperialist country that only cares about filling corporate pockets. The country will be ruined with such talk.” The principal, however, likes the idea of students developing a greater global awareness. She thinks that it might gain community support and provide a unique branding for the school.
1. Why do faculty members disagree about how globalization should be addressed in the curriculum? 2. Why do proponents feel that it is important to help students not only understand globalization but
understand the negative impact it is having on many of them who are students, as well as children around the world?
3. Where do you stand on including global perspectives throughout the curriculum? How could they be integrated into the subject that you will be teaching?
The study of globalization will help students understand how different nations are connected.
It will help students understand which people are benefited by globalization and which ones lose as a result.
Students will learn to think more critically about the changes that are occurring in the country as a result of globalization.
Projects in some classes could help students become more involved in their communities by having them organize to fight against inequalities.
Social studies courses already cover global issues. The approach must present a balanced view of the importance of globalization for our economy.
Including global perspectives in the curriculum will politicize the curriculum.
The curriculum should concentrate on preparing students for college or jobs.
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The following resources are available for instructors to download on www.pearsonhighered .com/ educators. Instructors enter the author or title of this book, select the 10th edition of the book, and then click on the “Resources” tab to log in and download textbook supplements. Instructor’s Resource Manual and Test Bank (0134227972) The Instructor’s Resource Manual and Test Bank includes an overview of chapter content and related instructional activities for the college classroom and for practice in the field as well as a robust collection of chapter-by-chapter test items. Discussion Questions and Portfolio Activ- ities found in earlier editions have been moved to the Instructor’s Resource Manual. PowerPoint™ Slides (0134227980) The PowerPoint™ slides include key concept summarizations. They are designed to help students understand, organize, and reinforce core concepts and theories. TestGen (0134227999) TestGen is a powerful test generator available exclusively from Pearson Education publishers. You install TestGen on your personal computer (Windows or Macintosh) and create your own tests for classroom testing and for other specialized delivery options, such as over a local area network or on the Web. A test bank, which is also called a Test Item File (TIF), typically con- tains a large set of test items, organized by chapter and ready for your use in creating a test, based on the associated textbook material. Assessments may be created for both print and testing online. Tests can be downloaded in the following formats:
TestGen Testbank file – PC TestGen Testbank file – MAC TestGen Testbank – Blackboard 9 TIF TestGen Testbank – Blackboard CE/Vista (WebCT) TIF Angel Test Bank (zip) D2L Test Bank (zip) Moodle Test Bank Sakai Test Bank (zip)
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The preparation of any text involves the contributions of many individuals in addition to those whose names are found on the copyright page. We wish to thank Maria Gutierrez and Michele Clarke for their highly competent assistance in researching and manuscript development. Thanks also to Ian K. Macgilliray for his thoughtful review and recommendations on Chapter 5 on sexual orientation. We also sincerely appreciate the continuous support and assistance of Dr. Haywood E. Wyche and Dr. Frances Kuwahara Chinn as the manuscript was developed. We appreciate the assistance, patience, encouragement, and guidance of our editors, Christina Robb, Karen Mason, and Meredith Fossel, and particularly want to thank Maria Feliberty for promptly responding to our needs during the development of the manuscript. We greatly appreciate Susan McNally, Kitty Wilson, and Jeff Georgeson for their editing and recommen- dations in the final stages of producing the book.
We also wish to thank the following reviewers, whose recommendations were used to improve this edition: Temba Charles Bassoppo-Moyo, Illinois State University; Alma L. Contreras-Vanegas, Sam Houston State University; Edward Garcia Fierros, Villanova Univer- sity; and Richard Gordon, CSU Dominguez Hills.
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1 Foundations of Multicultural EducationLEarning OutcOMEs As you read this chapter, you should be able to:
1.1 Describe the diversity of students in today’s schools and discuss how that diversity can enrich a classroom.
1.2 Examine the role that culture plays in the lives of students and their families and discuss the influence of the experiences of a cultural group in the community and society on our cultural identity.
1.3 Consider whether cultural pluralism is a reasonable and achievable goal in the classroom.
1.4 Identify the obstacles to creating a just and equal classroom and explore strategies for overcoming them.
1.5 Describe characteristics of a multicultural classroom.
Katie Cunningham’s students are anxious about their first day of school. A number of them are learning a new language—along with a new country, a new teacher, and new classmates. More than one-third of the school’s student population speak a language other than English at home. More than 50 languages are spoken among students in the school district who have come from numerous countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, and Europe.
Ms. Cunningham is excited about having such a diverse classroom. The majority of her class is African American and European American students whose native language is English. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and is familiar with the families of some of the students who have emigrated from Central America over the past two decades. She had not realized that her class would include a student who recently moved from Russia and speaks no English and that the native language of two students is Farsi, but she is looking forward to learning about the languages and cultures of Russia and Iran.
1. What are some of the reasons that Ms. Cunningham is excited about having a diverse student population in her classroom?
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2 chapter 1 Foundations of Multicultural Education
2. What challenges is Ms. Cunningham likely to confront in her goal for all of her students to be at grade level by the end of the year?
3. What do you wish you had learned in your teacher preparation program to help you be a more effective teacher of English language learners from diverse countries of origin?
Diversity in the classroom
Educators today are faced with an overwhelming challenge to prepare students from diverse populations and backgrounds to live in a rapidly changing society in which we don’t know many of the jobs that will be available to them in the future. In addition, the United States is becom- ing increasingly diverse but continues to struggle to provide equality across racial, ethnic, gender, economic, language, and religious groups. The gap in income and wealth continues to grow, leading to a smaller middle class and a larger proportion of the population being unable to provide basic needs for their families even when working full time.
Schools are becoming increasingly diverse across the United States as the proportion of white students diminishes. In today’s public schools, students of color account for more than half of the student population, with the largest increases in Asian American and Latino students ( National Center for Education Statistics, 2014a). By 2023, students of color are projected to account for 55% of the elementary and secondary public school populations ( National Center for Education Statistics, 2014b). However, the race and sex of their teachers match neither the student population nor the general population, as shown in Figure 1.1. More than 80% of the teachers are European American, and 76% are female ( National Center for Education Statistics, 2014b).
The racial and ethnic diversity in public schools differs greatly from region to region, as shown in Figure 1.2, and from state to state within the region. Students of color already account for over half of the student population in western and southern states. More than 40% of the public school students in western states are Hispanic, and 10% are Asian American/ Pacific Islander. Nearly 25% of the public school students in southern states are African American. Schools in midwestern states are the least diverse, with only one in three students being students of color. Students of color are in the majority in most of the nation’s largest school districts, with only one in four students being white across the 100 largest districts (Sable, Plotts, & Mitchell, 2010). This ethnic diversity includes the children of recent immi- grants, who often speak a language other than English at home, requiring schools to have programs that help students learn both the subjects being taught and English.
The United States is not only multiethnic, it is also a nation of diverse religious beliefs. During the past 40 years, new waves of immigrants from around the globe have brought with them religions that are unfamiliar to many U.S. citizens. While small groups of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs have been in the country for many decades, they became more highly visible as conflicts in the Middle East were expanded in the first few years of this century. Even Christians from Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and Egypt bring their own brands of worship to denominations that have strong roots in this country.
Diverse religious beliefs can raise challenges for educators in some communities. The holidays to be celebrated must be considered, along with religious codes related to the curriculum, school lunches, interactions of boys and girls, and student clothing. Immigrant parents generally value education for their children, but they do not always agree with the school’s approaches to teaching and learning or accept the public school’s secular values as being appropriate for their families. Values are the qualities that parents find desirable and important in the education of their children; they include areas such as morality, hard work, and caring, often with religious overtones. Working collaboratively with parents and communities is an important step in providing an equitable education to all students.
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Diversity in the Classroom 3
American Indian or
Asian or Pacific
Black or African
Hispanic White or European American
Two or More Races
Public School Students
Public School Teachers
FigurE 1.1 Pan-Ethnic and Racial Diversity of K–12 Teachers and Students in 2011 Sources: (1) U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). Annual estimates of the resident population by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin for the United States and
states: April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.
xhtml?pid=PEP_2013_PEPASR6H&prodType=table. (2) National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). Digest of education statistics: Enrollment and
percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and region: Selected years, fall 1995 through
fall 2023 (Table 203.50). Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_203.50.asp. (3) National Center
for Education Statistics. (2014). Digest of education statistics: Number and percentage distribution of teachers in public and private elementary and
secondary schools, by selected teacher characteristics: Selected years, 1987–88 through 2011–12 (Table 209.10). Retrieved October 12, 2014, from
Northeast Midwest South West
White or European American
Black or African American
American Indian/ Alaska Native
Asian American/ Pacific Islander
Two or more races
FigurE 1.2 Percentage of Public Elementary and Secondary School Students Enrolled, by Region and Ethnicity/Race in 2011 Source: National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). Enrollment and percentage distribution of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools,
by race/ethnicity and region: Selected years, fall 1995 through fall 2023 (Table 203.50), Digest of education statistics. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved
on October 12, 2014, from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_203.50.asp.
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4 chapter 1 Foundations of Multicultural Education
Another important aspect of diversity that has an impact on schools is the economic level of students’ families. Although the U.S. Census Bureau (2014) reports that 14.5% of the U.S. population had income below the poverty level in 2013, nearly one in five, or 20%, of U.S. children live below the official poverty level (DeNavas-Walt & Proctor, 2014). The percentage of public school students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch pro- grams because their families are below or near the poverty level increased from 38% in the 2000–01 school year to 48% in 2010–11 (Snyder & Dillow, 2015). In addition, nearly one in five students attend a high-poverty school in which more than 75% of the students are eli- gible for free or reduced-price lunch (Kena et al., 2014). African American, American Indian, and Latino students are more likely than other students to be attending these high-poverty schools (Aud et al., 2012).
Each classroom is likely to have one or more students with disabilities. Depending on the disability, modifications in the curriculum or environment will be needed to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to learn at the same level as other students. The goal is to provide all students the least restrictive environment so that they can learn with peers who do not have a recognized disability. The number of students with disabilities who are being served by special programs increased from 3.7 million in the 1976–77 school year to 6.4 million, or 13% of the school population, in the 2010–11 school year (Snyder & Dillow, 2013).
Being aware and knowledgeable of the diversity of your students is one way to show respect for them and their families. Understanding the community in which the school is located will be very helpful in developing effective instructional strategies that draw on the cultural background and experiences of students. You should help students affirm their own cultures while learning that people across cultures have many similarities. In addition, students should become aware of cultural differences and inequalities in the nation and in the world.
Teachers will find that students have individual differences, even though they may appear to be from the same cultural groups. These differences extend far beyond intellectual and physical abilities. Students bring to the classroom different historical and cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and day-to-day experiences that guide the way they behave in school. The cultures of some students will be mirrored in the school culture. The differences between home and school cultures for others will cause dissonance unless the teacher can accept and respect students’ cultures, integrate their cultures into the curriculum, and develop a support- ive environment for learning. If the teacher fails to understand the cultural factors that affect student learning and behavior, it will be difficult to help all students learn.
Multicultural education is an educational construct in which students’ cultures are inte- grated into the curriculum, instruction, and classroom and school environment. It supports and extends the concepts of culture, diversity, equality, social justice, and democracy into the school setting. An examination of these concepts and their practical applications in schools is a first step in creating a classroom that is multicultural.
Culture defines who we are. It inf luences our knowledge, beliefs, and values. It provides the blueprint that determines the way we think, feel, and behave. Generally accepted and patterned ways of behavior are necessary for a group of people to live together, and culture imposes order and meaning on our experiences. What appears as the natural and perhaps only way to learn and to interact with others is determined by our culture. It allows us to predict how others of the same culture will behave in certain situations. Culturally determined norms provide the dos and don’ts of appropriate behavior in our culture. We are generally comfortable with others who share our culture because we know the meanings of their words and actions. In addition, we share the same traditions, holidays, and celebrations.
Culture has such an impact on us that we fail to realize that not everyone shares our way of thinking and behaving. This may be, in part, because we have never been in cultural settings
Watch the video “Cultural Diversity in
the United States” to hear the importance of teachers developing cultural compe- tence to interact effectively with students and families from diverse groups.
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different from our own. This lack of knowledge often leads to our responding to differences as personal affronts rather than simply cultural differences. These misunderstandings may appear insignificant to an observer, but they can be important to participants. For example, our cul- ture determines how loud is too loud, how late we may arrive at an event, and how close we can stand to another without being rude or disrespectful. Teachers may misinterpret the actions and voices of their students if they do not share the same culture.
characteristics of culture Culture is learned, adapted, and dynamic. We learn our culture from the people who are closest to us—our parents or caretakers. The ways that we were held, fed, bathed, dressed, and talked to as babies are culturally determined and begin the process of learning the family’s culture. Culture impacts how we dress, what we eat, how we speak, and what we think ( Ryan, 2010). The process continues throughout our lives as we interact with members of our own and other cultures.
Our values are initially determined by our culture. They influence the importance of prestige, status, pride, family loyalty, love of country, religious belief, and honor. Status sym- bols differ across cultures. For many families in the United States, accumulation of material possessions is a respected status symbol. For others, the welfare of the extended family is of utmost importance. These factors, as well as the meaning of morality and immorality, the use of punishment and reward, and the need for higher education are determined by the value system of our culture.
Critical Incidents in Teaching
celebrating Ethnic Holidays Esther Greenberg is a teacher in an alternative education class. Ms. Greenberg’s college roommate was Chinese American, and she remembers fondly her visit to her roommate’s home during the Lunar New Year. During that holiday, the parents and other Chinese adults gave all the children, including her, money wrapped in red paper, which was to bring all the recipients good luck in the new year. Ms. Greenberg thought it would be a nice gesture to give the students in her class the red paper envelopes as an observance of the upcoming Lunar New Year. Since she was unable to give the students money, she wrapped gold-foil-covered chocolate coins (given to Jewish children) in red paper to give to her students.
Unfortunately, on the day of Lunar New Year, a number of students were pulled out of class for a special event-planning session. Most of the remaining students were Asian American students. When she passed out the red envelopes, the students were surprised and touched by her sensitivity to a cherished custom.
When her principal heard what Ms. Greenberg had done, he accused her of favoritism to the Asian American students and of deliberately leaving out the African American and white students. When she tried to convince him otherwise, he responded that she had no right to impose Asian customs on her students. She responded that this was an important Asian custom of which students should be aware. However, he continued his attack, saying that this was Asian superstition bordering on a religious observance, and students should not be participating in such activities.
QuEstiOns FOr cLassrOOM DiscussiOn
1. Were Esther Greenberg’s actions inappropriate for a public school classroom? If so, why? If not, why not? 2. When Ms. Greenberg learned that a large number of students were going to be absent from class, what
should she have done with the red envelopes? Did her actions create an appearance of favoritism of one ethnic group over others? How could she have handled the situation to make it a pleasing experience to all concerned?
3. Why may the principal have been so upset about Ms. Greenberg’s actions?
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6 chapter 1 Foundations of Multicultural Education
Our nonverbal communication patterns also reflect our culture and can lead to misunder- standings among groups. The appropriateness of shaking hands, bowing, or kissing people on greeting them varies across cultures. Culture also determines our manner of walking, sitting, standing, reclining, gesturing, and dancing. Raising an eyebrow and gesturing with our hands have different meanings across groups; they may be acceptable and expected in one group and very offensive or rude in another group. We must remind ourselves not to interpret acts and expressions of people from a different cultural group as wrong or inappropriate just because they are not the same as our own. These behaviors are culturally determined.
Language is a reflection of culture and provides a special way of looking at the world and organizing experiences that is often lost in translating words from one language to another. Many different sounds and combinations of sounds are used in the languages of different cul- tures. Those of us who have tried to learn a second language may have experienced difficulty verbalizing sounds that were not part of our first language. Also, diverse language patterns found within the same language group can lead to misunderstandings. For example, one per- son’s joking may be heard by others as serious criticism or abuse of power.
Because culture is so internalized, we tend to confuse biological and cultural heritage. Our cul- tural heritage is not innately based on the culture into which we are born. For example, Vietnamese infants adopted by Italian American, Catholic, middle-class parents will share a cultural heritage with their adopted family rather than with Vietnamese. Observers, however, may continue to iden- tify these individuals as Vietnamese Americans because of their physical characteristics. Parents from different ethnic, racial, and religious groups than their children may consciously encourage their children to be bicultural, learning the cultures of the two groups to which they belong.
the Dominant culture U.S. political and social institutions have evolved from an Anglo-Saxon and Western European tradition. The English language is a polyglot of the languages spoken by the various conquerors and rulers of Great Britain throughout history. The legal system is derived from English
Our cultures are adapted to the environments in which we live and work. While the environment in rural areas is characterized by space and clean air, urban dwellers adapt to smog, crowds, and public transportation. (© MIXA Co., Ltd)
Watch the video “Components of
Non-Verbal Communication” to learn cultural cues that can be misunderstood by members of a culture different than your own.
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common law. The political system of democratic elections comes from France and England. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants ( WASPs) have had a major historical inf luence on the judicial system, schools, social welfare, and businesses that affect many aspects of our lives. Over gen- erations, the U.S. population has adapted traditionally WASP characteristics and values that provide the framework for the common culture that people in other countries would recognize as American.
Although most of our institutions still function under the strong influence of their WASP roots, the common culture has been influenced by the numerous cultural groups that have come to comprise the nation’s population. Think about the different foods we eat, or at least try: Chinese, Indian, Mexican, soul food, Italian, Caribbean, and Japanese. Young people choose clothing that is influenced by hip-hop and African American culture. But more import- ant are the contributions made to society by individuals from different groups in the fields of science, the arts, literature, athletics, engineering, architecture, and politics.
The overpowering value of the dominant culture is individualism, which is characterized by the belief that every individual is his or her own master, is in control of his or her own destiny, and will advance or regress in society based only on his or her own efforts (Bellah et al., 2008). This individualism is grounded in a Western worldview that individuals can control both nature and their destiny. Traits that emphasize this core value include industriousness, ambition, competitiveness, self-reliance, independence, appreciation of the good life, and the perception of humans as separate from, and superior to, nature. The acquisition of the most recently released cell phone and technology gadgets, cars, boats, and homes measures success and achievement.
Another core value is freedom, which is defined by the dominant culture as not having others determine our values, ideas, or behaviors (Bellah et al., 2008). Relations with other peo- ple inside and outside the group are often impersonal. Communications may be very direct or confrontational. The nuclear family is the basic kinship unit, but many members of the domi- nant culture rely more on associations of common interest than on family ties. Values tend to be absolute (e.g., right or wrong, moral or immoral) rather than ranging along a continuum of degrees of right and wrong. Youthfulness is emphasized in advertisements and commercials. Many U.S. citizens, especially if they are middle class, share these traits and values to some degree. They are patterns that are privileged in institutions such as schools.
Although Congress is more diverse than in the past, its members do not yet represent the racial, gender, and religious diversity of the nation’s population. (© Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Newscom)
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8 chapter 1 Foundations of Multicultural Education
cultural identity Groups in the United States are called subsocieties or subcultures by sociologists because they exist within the context of a larger society or culture in which political and social institu- tions are shared (Ryan, 2010). Numerous groups exist in most nations, but the United States is exceptionally rich in the many distinct groups that make up the population. Each of us belongs to multiple subcultures, such as ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, native language, geographic region, and abilities or exceptional condi- tions, as shown in Figure 1.3. Our cultural identity is based on traits and values learned as part of our membership in these groups. Each of the groups to which we belong has distinguishable cultural patterns shared among all who identify themselves as members of that particular group. Although we generally share many characteristics of the dominant culture, we also have learned traditions, discourse patterns, ways of learning, values, and behaviors that are characteristic of the different groups to which we belong.
We may share membership in one of the groups in Figure 1.3 with many people, but they may not be in the other groups of which we are members. For example, all men are members of the male culture, but not all males belong to the same ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic group. On the other hand, an ethnic group includes both males and females and individuals with disabilities who have different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The intersection of the various group memberships within society determines our cultural identity. Membership in one group can greatly influence the characteristics and values of mem- bership in other groups. For instance, some fundamentalist religions have strictly defined expec- tations for women versus men. Thus, membership in the religious group influences, to a great extent, the way a female behaves as a young girl, teenager, bride, and wife, regardless of her ethnic group. One’s economic level greatly affects the quality of life for families, especially the children and elderly in the group. Having a disability can have a great impact on one’s life, some- times leading to involvement in civil rights action to promote the interests of the group. Some students and adults with disabilities, such as those who are deaf, are members of distinct cultural groups with their own language and primary interactions with other members of the group.
Race and ethnicity
FigurE 1.3 Cultural Identity Our cultural identity is based on our membership in multiple groups that are influenced by the dominant culture, discrimination, and power relations among groups in society. Source: Adapted from Johnson, J. A., Musial, D. L., et al. (2005). Introduction to the Foundations of American Education
(13th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Copyright 2005 Pearson Education. Reprinted and electronically reproduced by
permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
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Pluralism in Society 9
One cultural group may have a greater influence on our identity than others. This influence may change over time and may be greatly influenced by our life experiences. We can shed aspects of our culture that no longer have meaning, and we can adopt or adapt aspects of other cul- tures that were not inherent in our upbringing. Identity is not fixed. For example, a 24-year-old, upper-middle-class, Catholic, Polish American woman in Chicago may identify strongly with being Catholic and Polish American when she is married and living in a Polish American com- munity. However, other group memberships may have a greater impact on her identity after she has divorced, moved to an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and become totally responsible for her financial well-being, as portrayed in Figure 1.4. Because she was straight, not disabled, and a native English speaker, her membership in those groups had little to do with how she saw herself. If she later has a disability, membership in that group is likely to take on more importance to her. Think about the group memberships that are most important in your own cultural identity.
Understanding the importance of group memberships to your identity helps answer the question “Who am I?” An understanding of other groups will help answer the question “Who are my students?” Historical and current background on each of these groups and approaches for making a classroom multicultural are explored throughout this book.
Pluralism in society
Although many similarities exist across cultural groups, differences exist in the ways people learn, the values they cherish, their worldviews, their behavior, and their interactions with others. There are many reasonable ways to organize our lives, approach a task, and use our languages and dialects. It is when we begin to see our cultural norms and behaviors not just as one approach but as superior to others that differences become politicized. By developing an understanding of cultural differences, we can begin to change our simplistic binary approaches of us/them, good/bad, and right/wrong. We begin to realize that a plurality of truths is appropriate and reasonable. We seek out others for dialogue and understanding rather than speak about and for them. We begin to move from exercising power over others to sharing power with them.
The theory of cultural pluralism describes a society that allows multiple distinctive groups to function separately and equally without requiring assimilation into the dominant
Religion Age 24 Age 35
Has No Disability
FigurE 1.4 Changing Cultural Identities Some cultural group memberships may take on more importance than others at different periods of life, as shown here for a woman when she was 24 years old and married without children and again when she was 35, divorced, and a single mother.
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culture. Some immigrant groups have assimilation as their goal; others try to preserve their native cultures. Refusing or not being permitted to assimilate, some immigrants and ethnic groups maintain their own ethnic communities and enclaves in areas of the nation’s cities, such as Little Italy, Chinatown, Harlem, Koreatown, East Los Angeles, and Little Saigon. The suburbs also include pockets of families from the same ethnic group. Throughout the country are small towns and surrounding farmlands where the population comes from the same ethnic background, with all the residents being African American, German American, Danish American, Anglo American, or Mexican American. Some American Indian nations in the United States have their own political, economic, and educational systems.
Members of segregated communities may be culturally encapsulated in that most of their pri- mary relationships and many of their secondary relationships are with members of their own ethnic group. Cross-cultural contacts occur primarily at the secondary level in work settings and political and civic institutions. In segregated communities, families may not have the opportunity to interact with members of other ethnic groups, who speak a different language or dialect, eat different foods, or have different values. They may learn to fear or denigrate members of other ethnic groups. Many European Americans live in segregated communities in which they interact only with others who share the same culture. Most people of color are forced out of their ethnic encapsulation to try to achieve social and economic mobility. In these cases, they are likely to develop secondary relationships with members of other ethnic groups at work, school, or shopping centers.
assimilation Assimilation occurs when a group’s distinctive cultural patterns either become part of the dom- inant culture or disappear as the group adopts the dominant culture. Two similar processes interact as we learn how to act in society: enculturation and socialization. Enculturation is the process of acquiring the characteristics of a given culture and becoming competent in its language and ways of behaving and knowing. Socialization is the general process of learning the social norms of the culture. Through these processes, we internalize social and cultural rules. We learn what is expected in social roles, such as mother, husband, student, and child, and in occupational roles, such as teacher, banker, plumber, custodian, and politician. Encul- turation and socialization are processes initiated at birth by parents, siblings, nurses, physicians, teachers, and neighbors. These people demonstrate and reward children and adults for accept- able behaviors. We learn the patterns of our culture and how to behave by observing and participating in the culture in which we are raised.
Structural assimilation occurs when the predominant cultural group (e.g., WASP) shares primary relationships with a second group, including membership in social clubs, intermar- riage, and equal benefits in society. Although it may require several generations after immigra- tion, assimilation has historically worked for most voluntary immigrants, particularly if they are white, but has not applied to involuntary immigrants, who were forced to emigrate as slaves. Many families have been in the country for centuries and yet have not been allowed to assimilate at the structural level because of long-term discrimination.
White European immigrants usually become structurally assimilated within a few gen- erations after arriving in this country. Marriage across groups is fairly common across white ethnic groups and Judeo-Christian groups. Interracial marriage is now growing across ethnic groups and races. More than two in three Asian Americans and half of Latinos marry outside their ethnic groups. However, only 7% of whites and 17% of African Americans were marry- ing outside their groups in 2008 ( Lee & Bean, 2010). Young people who are biracial are more likely to acknowledge their mixed heritage today than in the past. According to self-reported census data, 2% of the population identifies as biracial, with 3% of K–12 students so identified ( National Center for Education Statistics, 2014a; U.S. Census Bureau, 2014b).
Many groups that immigrated have become acculturated or have adopted the dominant culture as their own. Although some groups have tried to maintain the cultures of their native countries, it is often in vain, as children go to school and participate in the larger society. Continuous and firsthand contacts with the dominant culture result in subsequent changes in the cultural patterns of either or both groups. The rapidity and success of the acculturation
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process depend on a number of factors, including location and discrimination. If a group is spatially isolated and segregated (whether voluntarily or not) in a rural area, as is the case with many American Indians on reservations, the acculturation process is very slow. Discrimination against members of oppressed groups can also make it difficult for them to acculturate even when they choose to do so.
The degree of acculturation is determined, in part, by individuals or families as they decide how much they want to dress, speak, and behave like members of the dominant culture. In the past, members of many groups had little choice if they wanted to share the American dream of success. Many people have had to give up their native languages and behaviors or hide them at home. However, acculturation does not guarantee acceptance by the dominant group. Most members of oppressed groups, especially those of color, have not been permitted to assimilate fully into society even though they have adopted the values and behaviors of the dominant culture.
Schools historically have promoted assimilation by teaching English and U.S. culture to new immigrants. Before the civil rights movement, students of color would have rarely seen themselves in textbooks or learned the history and culture of their group in the classroom. Even today, the curriculum is contested in some communities when families do not see their cultures and values represented. When the first set of national history standards were being developed in the early 1990s, the historians involved proposed a multicultural curriculum that celebrated the similarities and differences of the ethnic groups that comprise the United States. Some very influential and powerful individuals and groups accused the project of pro- moting differences that would undermine national unity and patriotism. When the standards were presented to Congress, they were condemned by a vote of 99 to 1 (Symcox, 2002).
Identifying the degree of students’ assimilation into the dominant culture may be helpful in determining appropriate instructional strategies and providing authentic learning activities that relate to the lived experiences of students. The only way to know the importance of cul- tural groups in the lives of students is to listen to them. Familiarity and participation with the community from which students come also help educators know students and their families.
Ethnocentrism Because culture helps determine the way we think, feel, and act, it becomes the lens through which we judge the world. As such, it can become an unconscious blinder to other ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. Our own culture is automatically treated as innate and the natural and right way to function in the world. Even common sense in our own culture is translated to common sense for the world. We compare other cultures with ours and evaluate them by our cultural standards. It can become difficult to view another culture as separate from our own.
This inability to view other cultures as equally viable alternatives for organizing reality is known as ethnocentrism. Although it is appropriate to cherish one’s culture, members sometimes become closed to the possibilities of difference. These feelings of superiority over other cultures can become problematic in interacting and working effectively and equitably with students and families of different groups. Our inability to view another culture through its own cultural lens prevents an understanding of the second culture. This inability can make it difficult to function effectively in a second culture. By overcoming one’s ethnocentric view of the world, one can begin to respect other cultures and even learn to function comfortably in more than one cultural group.
cultural relativism “Never judge another man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.” This North Amer- ican Indian proverb suggests the importance of understanding the cultural backgrounds and experiences of others rather than judging them by our own cultural standards. The principle of cultural relativism is to see a culture as if we are a member of the culture. It is an acknowl- edgment that another person’s way of behaving and thinking is valid. This ability becomes essential in the world today as countries and cultures become more interdependent. In an effort to maintain positive relationships with people in our community as well as around the world, we cannot afford to relegate cultures other than our own to an inferior status.
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Intercultural misunderstandings between groups occur even when no language barrier exists and when large components of the dominant culture are shared by the people involved. The members of one group are largely ignorant about the culture of another group, giving it little credibility or respect. Our lack of knowledge about others leads to misunderstandings that are accentuated by differential status based on race, gender, class, language, religion, and ability.
Cultural relativism suggests that we need to be knowledgeable about our own culture. That must be followed by study about and interaction with other cultural groups. This inter- cultural process helps one know what it is like to be a member of the second culture and to view the world from another perspective. To function effectively and comfortably within a second culture, that culture must be learned.
Multiculturalism Individuals who have competencies in and can operate successfully in two or more different cultures are bicultural or multicultural and often bilingual or multilingual as well. Having proficiencies in multiple cultures allows us to draw on a broad range of abilities and make choices as determined by the particular situation.
Because we participate in more than one cultural group, we have already become pro- ficient in multiple systems for perceiving, evaluating, believing, and acting according to the patterns of the various groups to which we belong. We often act and speak differently when we are in the community in which we were raised than when we are in a professional setting. We behave differently on a night out with members of our own gender than we do at home with the family. People with competencies in several cultures develop a fuller appreciation of the range of cultural competencies available to all people.
Many members of oppressed groups are forced to become bicultural, operating (1) in the dominant culture at work or school and (2) in their family’s culture at home and in the community. Different behaviors are expected in the two settings. Because most schools reflect the dominant culture, students are forced to adjust to or act like middle-class white students if they are to be academically successful. In contrast, most middle-class white students find almost total congruence between the cultures of their family, school, and work. Most remain monocultural throughout their lives. They do not envision the value and possibilities inherent in becoming competent in a different culture.
Multiculturalism values the cultural identities of diverse groups as members participate in and interact with the dominant culture. A society that supports multiculturalism promotes diverse ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, language, religious, and other group identities. Diver- sity in the workplace, school, university, or community is valued and affirmatively sought. It allows individuals to choose membership in the cultural and social groups that best fit their iden- tities, without fear of ostracism or isolation from either their original group or their new group.
Educators establish cultural borders in the classroom when all activity is grounded in the teacher’s culture. In our expanding, diverse nation, it is critical that educators be able to participate effectively in more than one culture. As we learn to function comfortably in different cultures, we should be able to move away from a single perspective linked to cultural domination. We should be able to cross cultural borders and integrate our students’ cultures into the classroom. Under- standing the cultural cues of different groups improves our ability to work with all students and makes us more sensitive to the importance of cultural differences in teaching effectively.
Equality and social Justice in a Democracy
The United States is a democracy, in which people participate in their government by exercis- ing their power directly or indirectly through elected representatives. Egalitarianism—the belief in social, political, and economic rights and privileges for all people—is espoused as a key principle on which democracy is based. Thus, the Constitution was fashioned with a coherent
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set of “checks and balances” to limit the systematic abuse of power. Power should be shared among groups, and no one group should continuously dominate the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the country. Society and government, though not perfect, are promoted as allowing mass participation and steady advancement toward a more prosperous and egalitarian society.
One strength of a democracy is that citizens bring many per- spectives, based on their own histories and experiences, to bear on policy questions and practices. Thus, to disagree is acceptable as long as we are able to communicate with each other openly and without fear of reprisal. Further, we expect that no single right way will be forced on us. For the most part, we would rather struggle with multiple perspectives and determine what is best for us as individuals within this democratic society than have one perspec- tive forced on us.
At the same time, a democracy expects its citizens to be con- cerned about more than just their own individual freedoms. In the classic Democracy and Education, philosopher and educator John Dewey (1966) suggested that the emphasis should be on what binds us together in cooperative pursuits and results, regardless of the nation or our group alliance and membership. He raised concern about our possible stratification into separate classes and called for “intellectual opportunities [to be] accessible to all on equitable and easy terms” (p. 88). The Internet may help us achieve this goal.
Both individualism and equality have long been central themes of political discourse in a democratic society. The mean- ing of equality in our society varies according to one’s assumptions about humankind and human existence. At least two sets of beliefs govern the ideologies of equality and inequality. The first accepts inequality as inevitable and believes that an individual’s achievements are due totally to his or her own personal merits. The second set of beliefs supports a much greater degree of equality across groups in society that could be accomplished by not limiting accessibility to quality education, quality teachers, higher-paying jobs, health care, and other benefits of society to affluent groups with power.
Meritocracy Proponents of meritocracy accept the theories of sociobiology or functionalism or both, in which inequalities are viewed as natural outcomes of individual differences. They believe that all people have the opportunity to be successful if they just work hard enough (Grinberg, Price, & Naiditch, 2009). They give little credit to conditions such as being born into a wealthy family as a head start to success. Members of oppressed groups such as low-income families, persons of color, and persons with disabilities are seen as inferior, and their hardships blamed on their personal characteristics rather than societal constraints or discrimination.