A Particular Perceptual Reality: Ways to Maximize Knowledge of Culture through Cultural Knowledge

By Sheets, Rosa Hernandez | Multicultural Education, Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

A Particular Perceptual Reality: Ways to Maximize Knowledge of Culture through Cultural Knowledge


Sheets, Rosa Hernandez, Multicultural Education


"The lion's story will never be told as long as the hunter is telling the story." -African Proverb

Voice is a basic entitlement with implied rights and authoritative boundaries. No one can give another voice any more than one can take voice away. Even in silence and perceived absence, voice is present. As people, we have the right to speak and represent our selves in all aspects of an event-disclosure, identification, description, causality, interpretation, and resolution. The voices of the scholars in this review of multicultural resources provide readers with a differential cultural knowledgegrounded in personal and professional experiential and cultural perceptions.

I've Got a Story to Tell: Identity and Place in the Academy [Peter Lang, 1800-770-5264, ISBN 0-8204-38626, pbk, 168 pgs; $29.95; Sandra Jackson & Jose Solis Jordan (Eds.), 1999].

Scholars of color document how institutions sustain conditions of inequality where insiders, by cultural design, remain outsiders. However, the contributors-Sandra Jackson, Jose Solis Jordan, Marisa Alicea, K.E. Supriya, Gladys M. Jimemez-Munoz, Xing Lucy Lu, Stephan Nathan Haymes, Maria R. Vidal, Aminah B. McCloud, Clare Oberon Garcia, Fassil Demissie, Alicia Chavira-Prado, and Luis Ortiz-Franco-add a pedagogical component to this discourse of identity and cultural positioning. They explore ways to negotiate spaces and places, describe successful teaching strategies to deal with problematic students, peers, and administrators, and illustrate through story displays of social and academic competence while maintaining ethnic integrity. This text can help professors who prepare scholars of color who will eventually teach in universities how to move beyond survival. To be in control without being out of control prepares and helps those who follow to negotiate, live, and challenge the status quo.

Grass Roots and Glass Ceilings:African American Administrators in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities [State University of New York Press, 518-472-5000, info@sunypress.edu, http://www.sunypress.edu; ISBN 07914-4164-4; pbk., 169 pgs; $17.95; William B. Harvey (Ed.), 1999].

By paying homage to past scholars, acknowledging mentors, and voicing hope for future leaders, top administrators expose offensive behaviors from peers and subordinates that were racist and irrational in nature and unexpected in spaces where one holds a higher position. Two significant patterns, indicating the importance of racial identity and solidarity of these individuals, emerge from this volume: (1) all the contributors' K-12 school experiences were in homogeneous settings, and all but two are alumni of historically Black colleges and universities; and, (2) the honest presentation of the indignities and racial prejudice experienced, while not dismissed, do not discourage these scholars from encouraging others to join the struggle.

William Harvey, in the concluding chapter, summarizes key issues presented in this volume. He urges us to "realize that there are compelling economic, political, social, and moral reason for making the society less fixated with skin color and more focused on capabilities and possibilities" (p. 156-157). He also encourages unity between Black and Latino(a) academic professionals, lest these two groups find themselves "unwittingly pitted against each other" (p. 153). Descriptive childhood profiles of authentic experiences in academic settings and reflective responses to a prevailing climate of codependent racism in higher education both compel readers to embrace a "lift and carry" philosophy to buffer the violent impact of institutional racism. The authors-Reatha Clark King, Charlie Nelms, Vera Farris, Marie McDemmond, Horace Judson, Althia deGraft-Johnson, Wesley Harris, Barbara Soloman, and William B. Harvey-all contribute significantly!

Prejudice: The Target's Perspective [Academic Press, 916-231-6616, apbcs@ harcourtbrace. …

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