Rethinking Multicultural Education: Case Studies in Cultural Transition

Rethinking Multicultural Education: Case Studies in Cultural Transition

Rethinking Multicultural Education: Case Studies in Cultural Transition

Rethinking Multicultural Education: Case Studies in Cultural Transition

Synopsis

Korn and Bursztyn and their contributors examine the cultural transitions that children make as they move between home and school. Case studies present instances of how diversity engages us in renegotiating the personal and social. In illuminating the complicated nature of cultural transitions, they highlight how multiculturalism can play a transformative role in the lives of children and schools.

Excerpt

Foreword: Exploring a Transformative Multiculturalism— Justice in a Zeitgeist of Despair

Joe Kincheloe

Rethinking Multicultural Education: Case Studies in Cultural Transition can best be understood as a work that takes shape in a particular social, cultural, political, and educational context. Over the last thirty years we have witnessed a well-planned, persistent, and successful effort to reeducate Americans around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and their relation to social justice (Apple, 1996; McLaren, 2000). Education as an institution has been dramatically affected by this reactionary project. Reacting to perceived social, political, cultural, and educational changes of the 1960s, protectors of dominant power relations sensed an opportunity to advocate a return to “traditional values,” neoclassical economic policy, long-standing racial and gender relations, and a fragmented and fact-based accountability-friendly school curriculum.

In this context the guardians of tradition promoted a new cultural narrative that played well to white male audiences frustrated with the changes they saw taking place in the world. Via the power of the new narrative, the guardians of tradition engaged these white men and their allies in what might be labeled the recovery of white supremacy and patriarchy perceived to have been lost in the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. The reeducation process was directly connected to this notion of recovery of what had been lost. Throughout Rethinking Multicultural Education, especially in the particular case studies of student and teacher interactions in the everyday life of the classroom, we see reflections of this larger sociocultural dynamic.

In the multicultural domain of race Aaron Gresson (1995, 2001) argues that this new white story of the need for recovery inverts a traditional black narrative. Because of the dominant culture’s portrayal of the eco-

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