RE: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] questions


Joe Jackson (shoeless@erols.com)
Tue, 18 Apr 2000 03:54:36 -0400


Hi - Joe from Fairhaven School in Maryland

I would probably had gotten defensive if I were asked the question "Is the
student body multicultural?" because that is an inherently attacking
question. Attacks compel people to defend. I believe whether Scott
appeared evasive or defensive is largely immaterial as the questioner made
no attempt to disguise the attacking nature of the question.

That particular question is completely predicated on an item of conventional
wisdom that there is a hierarchy of multiculturalism that is based not on
the actual differences between individuals, but between the alleged
generalized differences between individuals based on their color, religion
and presumed ancestry. An arcane and increasingly obsolete manner in which
to generalize traits between people! - color is increasingly not related to
the nationality (-ies) and family culture; religion is increasingly not
related to any generalized cultural traits whatsoever, and the entire
arrangement only serves to reinforce prejudices.

The true multiculturalism is a group of people who, for example, have widely
disparate opinions of the definition of the word "multiculturalism".
Getting a bunch of people of different colors who all think multiculturalism
means having a bunch of people of different colors is homogeneity in the
most non-superficial sense. Differences in the actual content of people's
character cut across all supposed categories of race and creed, silhouetting
the degree of true diversity.

In any case, the various opinions of what constitutes multiculturalism
should take a back seat at our schools to the obvious sole criterion of who
should be on the rolls - the folks that want to be there the most.

Removing obstacles, financial and otherwise, is an entirely different and
unrelated subject. They should be though of in two distinct steps: 1) You
market the school loudly, getting the word out to as many people as
possible, using the best judgment you can as humans to decide where and how
to market, then 2)you do what Alan said, which is sit back and wait for the
ones who really want it to come.

Back to the question - it's a trap: only someone who advocates that mere
visible and religious diversity define multiculturalism would ask it, so to
answer yes or no based on the questioner's interpretation is to tacitly
endorse that view. To answer yes or no based on a literal definition of
multiculturalism (as I think Scott did) looks like one is evading the
question. Any question one cannot answer without either capitulating or
appearing esoteric is a manipulation and therefore an attack.

-Joe
(probably Irish, but who the heck knows there, lad)



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