The Perception Of Multicultural Education Essay

The Perception Of Multicultural Education Essay

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The perception of multicultural education in the United States has certainly evolved over the preceding decades. As a corollary of the social activism and desegregation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the emergence of ethnic studies within public education systems came about as a sincere recognition that all students should – and must – learn to participate in a diverse world (Trent, 2012). While all governments expect and sometimes require a minimal level of civil responsibility and participation from their citizens, it is impossible to overstate the importance of freedom of association, religion, speech, and political organization for protecting group difference. However, parallel to various sociopolitical disturbances that have increasingly called into question the very nature of national identity, the framework of the multicultural education has been altered – or rather, been appropriated – from appreciating and integrating cultural and racial diversity to profoundly criticizing long-standing economic, social, and political injustices that affect students’ learning and prospects and the quality of their schools (Trent, 2012).
As such, modern society is increasingly confronted not only with minority groups demanding recognition of their own identify and accommodation of their cultural differences, but also reactionary elements that seek to suppress and/or neutralize discussions pertaining to difference and dissent (Trent, 2012). Although this struggle is often conceptualized by interested political entities as the central deficiency of multiculturalism, it actually involves different aspects of cultural pluralism, each of which raises its own challenges. From a historical perspective, minorities have been incorporated into m...

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...e the relationship between identity and representation, for within language and images all differences, in a sense, are conceived. In acknowledging the extent to which stereotypical portrayals are indeed fictions of lived circumstances and experiences, contemporary society has become more conscious of the conditions through which these representations have been made and, by extension, in whose interests they have functioned. Moreover, it has started to recognize the contested character of such representations, the need for new representations, and the multiple and fragmentary character of representations once thought to be singular. After all, subject positions and political discourse evolve from the form of such communications. This is where multicultural pedagogy is of the utmost importance in helping dismantle impractical and debilitating notions of identity.

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