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David Saliby

Conceptual Question #1

Multicultural Education is a widespread and effective process of teaching

students all races, sexual orientations, and socio-economics status’. It is a basic form of

education that addresses and combats the growing amount of racial divide in the

classroom. It covers all areas of the educational arena while being a proponent of

achieving social justice (Nieto and Bode).

The issue of the racial divide in schools has been a problem since the beginning

of the American school system. The United States had a well-known period of outwardly

being racist towards people of color. Students in schools today are still affected by the

underlying racism that exists in the public and private school systems despite the

forwardness of American racism during the early-mid 1900’s. Predominantly black or

hispanic school systems consistently receive less funding than schools that are mostly

white. This is attributed to the un-spoken American ideology where it is believed that

white people make more money than people of color. As mentioned in the video, “Race:

The Power of an Illusion”, during the rise of modern suburban cities, whites would move

out of neighborhoods where black people wanted to live because it brought the value of

their houses down. I think this type of thinking exists in schools as well where parents

take their white children out of underfunded schools, sending them to better funded, and

more racially homogeneous schools .

Because of this, multicultural education is needed now, more than ever, to push

back against this blatant form of racism. A multicultural education will provide white

students a education that will foster appreciation for diversity and foreign cultures to
their own. It will also give students of color more safe and optimal learning environment

where they will be challenged to the same degree as any other person, while being able

to feel pride in their cultures and ethnicities.

Multicultural education, in its purest form will integrate into every aspect of school

life (Nieto and Bode). Because multicultural education is not just a school pedagogy, but

a way of life, it requires a systematic approach in making it apart of every day lesson

plans, and outside the classroom. Examples of this, as mentioned in Chapter Two of

“Affirming Diversity”, by Nieto and Bode, include offering meals common of the various

cultures represented by the students during lunch time. This would not be done to

alienate certain groups, but would be initiated regularly. Another example revolves

around letting a child speak their native language without fear of being punished, as well

as letters sent home, being in the students native language. This would encourage a

safe learning environment for the kids in these scenarios. Doing these things could help

address the power struggle within classrooms as students of color will feel empowered

to participate and feel like they are being valued. If a family of a different culture see’s

that their child is being valued in class, they will be more willing to support the school

and their own child’s learning. This, in turn, will improve the whole system entirely.

I've found these readings and videos to be eye opening, especially to the

subtleness in which racism permeates our current educational system. I am now seeing

memories of my K-12 education in a different light. And while watching the videos, I

realized that I have racist tendancies that are subtle but noticeable. Im sure I am not

alone in some of these thoughts, but I know they are beliefs that have come as a result

of the culture I live in, rather than being based in truth. In general, I have learned that
Multicultural Education is the real deal in trying to close the gap in the racial divide. I

look forward to being able to make my future classroom, one in which all kids can feel

valued, represented and care-for.