3-C Models: Teaching Tools to Promote Social Justice

By Marbley, Aretha Faye; Rouson, Leon et al. | Multicultural Education, Winter 2017 | Go to article overview

3-C Models: Teaching Tools to Promote Social Justice


Marbley, Aretha Faye, Rouson, Leon, Burley, Hansel, Ross, Wendy, Bonner, Fred A., II, Lértora, Ian, Huang, Shih-Han, Multicultural Education


Introduction

Nearly a hallf a century has passed since multiculturalism made a forceful entrance into the academy, specifically in the fields of mental health and education. The term diversity followed multicultur-alism closely, gathering other oppressed identities (aging, socioeconomics, gender, religion, sexuality, and disabilities) under its umbrella. In addition other academic disciplines (medicine, law, humanities, so-cial sciences, and natural sciences) joined the multicultural movement as they began to understand the importance of inclusivity, the need for cultural competency and multicultural ethical guidelines, culturally responsive practice, and the critical role diversity plays in the survival of their individual fields of study.

Although there remains some friendly debate within academe in the United States on the origin of multiculturalism-for example, as to whether the field of counseling or the field of education is the forerunner of the multicultural movement-there is little doubt that social justice as a movement predates the multiculturalism movement. In some form or another, both diversity and social justice are global phenomena and have been around forever.

In its more contemporary form, the multiculturalism movement, hand in hand with social justice, can be traced to the Black, Civil Rights, and feminist movements and other social justice initiatives of 1960s in the U.S. Social justice efforts are ingrained in historical milestones that have brought equity and equality to many marginalized citizens in the U.S., such as the advent of schools for Black children and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as those initiatives outside of our country such as movements of European migrants into western English-speaking countries.

For African Americans, most of these elements of social justice and radical and revolutionary movements emerged out of the indigenous systems, the powerful spiritual entities within the African American community, such as HBCUs, Historically Black Greek Letter Organizations (HBGLOs), and the Black Church.

Nevertheless, since the debut of the multicultural movement in counseling and education (Pedersen, 1999), predominantly White institutions (PWIs) have attempted to be more inclusive and increase awareness of multicultural issues by adding more cultural diversity programs and courses. They have also, without much success, beefed up initiatives to recruit more international students and students of color (antonio, 2003; Banks, 2004; Jackson, 2006; Merryfield, 2000; Smith, 2004).

More recent literature examining the effects of academic climate on the success of diversity groups calls for more to be done than just adding diversity courses and hiring more women and people of color; rather, it is imperative to create welcoming, growth-oriented, and supportive campus environments conducive to academic success (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 2007; Cleveland, 2004, Cureton, 2003; Herndon & Moore, 2002; Neville, Heppner, Ji, & Thye, 2004; Turner & Myers, 2000; Wallace, 2000).

Nevertheless, equiping future professionals and educators with critical global multicultural competences and skills to work with people from diverse backgrounds is a challenge for both PWIs and HBCUs. In important ways, the teaching of diversity and multiculturalism is so closely intertwined with issues of oppression and privilege that it becomes inseparable from the need to teach social justice (Goodman, 2011; Kumagai & Lypson,, 2009). In this article, social justice is defined and contextualized in different ways depending on each authors' academic discipline and institutional type.

For us, as African Americans and international citizens, multiculturalism and social justice naturally go together. In that manner, introducing social justice to all students (regardless of grade level) is important. We also use our knowledge of teaching diversity as a logical stepping stone to teaching social justice to graduate and professional-level students. …

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