Monoculturalism vs. Multiculturalism
In life, we are taught to be individuals and express ourselves. This is a great philosophy, but how are we suppose to do this when schools only teach about one culture, monoculturalism? Multiculturalism is the study of many different cultures. Barbara Ehrenreich the author of “Teach Diversity-with a Smile” expresses her feelings about multiculturalism in her essay. . Looking at the past and present will help see how monoculture America is. Schools should teach multiculturalism to help people know about their backgrounds.
In the 1950’s America had problems with races. It believed that whites and colored people should be separated. Whites had their own restaurants, schools and even water fountains. In the text, Ehrenreich tells us how the teens thought, “… most of us ‘50s teenagers carried around a social map that was about as useful as the chart that guided Columbus to the “Indies”. There were “Negroes”, “whites” and “Orientals,” the later meaning Chinese and “Japs”” (pg 135) Even though students of different colors were separated they were still learning about the same culture. The one culture they were learning about was the white culture. Ehrenreich states, “If there had been high technology in ancient China, kingdoms in black Africa or women anywhere, at any time, doing anything worth noticing, we did not know it, nor did anyone tell us.” (pg 135) This sentence is evidence that students back then were not learning about other cultures or things going on around the world. The problems that were happening back then could have been prevented if America would have accepted every race. Since “colored” people were not being treated the same they had to fight for their rights. When America did finally acknowledge the different ethnicities, it took a while for people to actually accept it.
Even though America started treating all people with the same respect they were still teaching about that one culture with a small...