Monday, October 4, 2010

Topic: America--Melting Pot or Mosaic

10-second review: A reminder that our American democracy is no longer a “melting pot.” It has become a “mosaic.”

Title: “Diversity Brings Vitality: Lessons from International Literacy.” JD Wilhelm. Voices from the Middle (September 2010), 35-38.

Quote: “I hear often from my Canadian colleagues about ‘the great mosaic of Canada.’ It’s an attractive metaphor: the various cultural groups in Canada are encouraged to maintain their identity in ways that are complementary and contribute to the beauty and healthy functioning of the whole. How different our own cultural metaphor is: the melting pot, which implies losing what is unique so you can fit into the pre-established order.”

Quote: “I have to vote with the Canadians on this one. Neil Postman, in his insightful book The End of Education (1996), argues that one of the eight great themes of education should be that ‘diversity brings vitality’ to any and all systems, from the ecological to the human. I’m compelled by this argument and by Dewey’s (1916), in Democracy and Education that democracy is not everybody doing the same thing, but everyone contributing their unique perspectives, interests, strengths, and capacities to a common project. Democracy, Dewey explains, is the complementarity of diversity.”

Comment: I featured these quotes because I guess I have, without thinking, accepted the “melting pot” description of American culture. America is, now, a mosaic of cultures. And that has a load of implications about which I need to think. Sorry I’m so slow to “get it.” RayS.

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