Does Multiculturalism Harm Or Debase Education?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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It can be argued that multiculturalism is harmful in education because it defines a student by his or her ethnicity, color, and language. Opponents of multicultural education claim that multiculturalism is a threat to the United States and is a politically correct guise for racism (The New Racism 1998). The argument against multiculturalism is the assumption that people do not want to be recognized by their heritage, but by their own individual achievements and merits.

The dictionary definition of multiculturalism is : "the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society." ( Since this country is a mix of many cultural backgrounds and prides itself as "the melting pot", isn't multiculturalism supposed to be ingrained in our social structure? Isn't the world multicultural and don't we recognize that everyday when we watch the news? If this is true, than multiculturalism can only enhance education, not harm it.

A culture is defined by it's language and by it's religion. Since religion is not allowed in public schools, language has been the focus of debate concerning multicultural education. Should classes be taught in Spanish in an area where Spanish is the primary language of the students, or should they be forced to learn and speak English? Is it necessary to impose these decisions by passing absurd "English only" laws? Many argue that U.S. immigrants in the past were made to embrace and speak English so they still should be. What about the people who were here first, why isn't their language the one we should all be forced to speak? Ethnic and cultural diversity should be embraced, but not shoved down our throats or dictated by congress. Each person has their own sense of pride (or lack of pride) in their cultural heritage and each person has their own...