The Place of History in Multicultural Education, pp. 8 of 15

A May 1994 The New York Times report (Anonymous, 1994) of a response to a state mandate programme on including diversity in the curriculum is a grim reminder:

This instruction shall also include and instill in our students an appreciation of our American heritage and culture such as: our republican form of government, capitalism, a free-enterprise system, patriotism, strong family values, freedom of religion and other basic values that are superior to other foreign or historic cultures."

This has a continuing life in February 2015 with attempts to “go[ing] after history classes that don’t teach “American Exceptionalism”: a form of expunging “bad” History or “what is bad about America” (Thrasher, 2015). This is a US example of a global phenomenon of resistance to questioning hegemonic narratives. Other examples include the claims against promoting self-flagellating “black armband” version of history (Salusinszky, Carr Tops List of for History Summit, 2006); the efforts to remove “partisan bias” against Western history in national curriculum (Hurst, 2014); for the banning of certain types of “ethnic” History (Bigelow, 2012); the exhortations to (blinkered) triumphalism in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War (Milne, 2014); the official proposal to abandon a multicultural History for “real” History proclaimed in such headlines as “The Return of History” (Editor, 2006) and the reluctance to assess major milestones critically (Han, 2015) in favour of “bread-and-circuses” approach.  The preference seems to be a “selective, narrow view of the world; a shorthand version of history” (Miller, 1998, p. 77) or a History that reflects a dominant group’s agenda (Allan, January 2015). Specifically, as Al-Haj noted (Al-Haj, Spring 2005, p. 47):

…the introduction of a multicultural ideology seems to be an impossible task when a specific national ethos stands at the center of the school curriculum. This is especially true in states that are experiencing an “intractable conflict” in which the past is used to justify the present.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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