Economic Marxism became cultural Marxism. The valid criticism of a reductionist Marxism passed into a complete surrendering of its materialist core. Today Marxism trades in spirits, texts, images and echoes and flourishes only in departments of literature and English.
Derrida's book on Marx, aptly titled Specters of Marx, deals with ghosts and reflections. Nineteenth-century Marxism was materialistic and determinist; latetwentieth-century Marxism is idealist and incoherent. Culture is sexy, economics pedestrian. Strife about wages and work seems boring.
Conflicts involving gays, lesbians or women, notes Stanley Aronowitz, provoke attention and discussion. To the degree that culture subsumes everything, politics loses meaning. Of course, adherents of cultural pluralism often write of its politics. They reiterate endlessly the proposition that all of society and its constructs are political: texts, contexts, readings, authors, books, curriculums. Yet when everything is political, nothing is—or nothing is more political than anything else. Evidently multiculturalism is political, but how exactly?
In the main, as advanced by The Myth of Multiculturalism 4T radicals and academics, politics becomes simply a series of slogans about marginalization, power, discourse and representation. These terms address real problems, but they fail to specify any particular politics. Marginal groups want power or representation, but how or why does this reflect cultural differences or an alternative vision? The onset of Nazism in the s and the cold war in the s affected the fate of the idea of pluralism; these events brought a notion of pluralism to the surface as an antipode to a new term, perhaps a new reality: totalitarianism.
The word totalitarianism, referring to Italian fascism, first appeared in the s. After , some critics extended it to Nazism. With its program of " Gleichschaltung" total coordination of society and the "total state," Nazism could properly be dubbed totalitarian. Yet the label really entered popular and scholarly discourse once Soviet communism fell under its rubric.
Initially the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany seemed fundamentally different, and few sought to include them under one conceptual framework. Indeed, for much of the s the two countries were sworn enemies. Of course, this changed dramatically in August with the signing of the nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. After this date, many liberal thinkers looked at Nazism and Soviet communism as related systems, adopting the term totalitarianism as the preferred label for both.
At the symposium a speaker listed "anti-pluralism" as a principle of the totalitarian and the "monistic" states. Its impact was probably aided by the fact that its leading exponents were refugees from European Nazism and communism, scholars of considerable intellect and prestige such as Hannah Arendt, Karl Popper, F.
Hayek, Jacob Talmon, and Isaiah Berlin. Marxism possessed an intellectual credibility and heft, absent in Nazism, a mishmash of nationalist and anti-Semitic notions.
The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy
For scholars analyzing the sources of totalitarianism, Marxism offered something to bite into. The intellectual substance of Nazism was nil. Moreover, communism preceded and outlasted Nazism; after and the onset of the cold war, totalitarianism signified the Soviet Union. Nazism had disappeared. The study of totalitarianism by the Polish-Israeli historian Jacob Talmon, who identified himself as someone who "has lived through the traumatic experiences of Nazism and Communism," says virtually nothing about the former.
This reading of history surprised even some of Talmon's students and followers; Nazism and genocide disappeared. Yehoshua Arieli, chairman of the Talmon Memorial Foundation, cited these same The Myth of Multiculturalism 43 opening sentences and commented, "The phenomenon of the Holocaust as key to the understanding of the modern human condition is in a curious way overlooked.
However, insofar as Marxism, not fascism, was the object of study, a shift in emphasis, and perhaps logic, took place. Pluralism was celebrated against the left; and the denunciation of the total system imperceptibly became the denunciation of Utopia, as if they were obviously linked. Are they? In fact, totalitarianism and utopianism are not necessarily related; at least without distending the concept of utopianism into obscurity, it would be difficult to find a utopianism within Nazism.
Yet the liberal consensus successfully established a rough equivalence of utopianism and totalitarianism, setting both against liberal pluralism. Damning totalitarianism meant damning utopianism. Hayek, an Austrian economist and philosopher who had settled in England. For Hayek, communism and fascism were "merely variants of the same totalitarianism," which he argued in a chapter titled "The Great Utopia.
He called his book a "warning to the socialist intelligentsia. As with Talmon and Hayek, the argument unfolded mainly against the left. It closed with a ringing defense of "our Western civilization" as "essentially pluralistic. He decried the total and ideological approach, "the single all-embracing, all-clarifying, all-satisfying plan"; he feared the totally planned society that might eventually cast aside "the infinite variety of persons.
Berlin proposed that historically two varieties of freedom existed, negative and positive. The former constitutes the domain of noninterference, where the individual is free from external control; the latter relies on an image of freedom and inexorably leads in the direction of control, regulating how people will live. Since not all individuals will support the same plan or vision, "positive" freedom requires coercion; for Berlin "positive" freedom constituted "the heart of many of the nationalist, communist, authoritarian and totalitarian creeds of our day.
In the s and s the prevailing wisdom held that diversity and pluralism were the defining features of American society in particular and the wider tradition of Anglo-American liberalism in general. Totalitarian societies, on the hand, resting on "ideology" and "utopia," were inherently dictatorial. The cold war infused the idea of pluralism. Berlin is again illustrative. Though his critique of totalitarianism remained abstract, his concrete examples frequently came from Marxism; indeed, his entire argument about "positive" liberty necessitating total control hardly makes sense for Nazi, racist or na- The Myth of Multiculturalism 45 tionalist ideologies.
These doctrines did not presuppose a "positive" liberty they sought to enforce; they assumed no idea of liberty. Berlin's work addresses communism and Marxism, not Nazism and fascism; it was tilted against the left, not the right. In other words, Berlin's ideas partook of the cold war. He was "rather proud," according to one account, to be a "ColdWar Liberal. During the war in Vietnam, Berlin did not want to criticize the Americans. How is one to guarantee that. In the typical interpretation, against totalitarianism a series of contending and diverse groups constituted the genius of American society—its remarkable pluralism.
This often repeated proposition explains why s critics and scholars turned against pluralism with a vengeance. Pluralism became identified with the establishment. With the onset of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war, younger critics objected to a picture of a benign America defending the world from totalitarianism. What was so pluralistic about segregation? Or bombing Hanoi without voting a declaration of war?
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The notion of pluralism and its opposite, totalitarianism, seemed less a theory than a conformist defense of American society—exactly when racial and antiwar protests challenged American righteousness. Meyer, a Soviet specialist, "American scholars were also celebrating Americanism and at the same time succumbing to cold-war hysteria. The term free world, so often used as an antonym to totalitarian, seemed increasingly hollow. A collection of "dissenting" pieces on power and community targeted the "myth" that American society is "pluralistic.
Kariel's book The Decline of American Pluralism argued that the state and corporations undercut pluralism. The historian John Higham in a comprehensive survey noted that "those radicals who pay heed to the theory of pluralism denounce it. For several decades the idea of pluralism exuded political conformity and cold-war anticommunism. A new generation of scholars and critics coming of age in the s denounced it.
No longer. The interpretation of totalitarianism that damned utopianism alongside Nazism and communism proved dominant; the battle cry of pluralism easily overran all stations. No prisoners were taken, but no soldiers were found. Critics of pluralism spawned by the s vanished almost without a trace.
No single reason explains the renewed popularity of pluralism. The rapid demise of socialism knocked the intellectual breath out of leftists; The Myth of Muiticulturalism 47 lacking confidence or belief in a complete social restructuring, they retreated to partial beliefs in partial cultures—pluralism. Liberals needed little encouragement; they were always attracted to pluralistic ideas, and freed from sharp criticism from a left, they redoubled their commitment.
Pluralism, the ideology of the market and the individual, becomes the bedrock principle for liberals and leftists. Pluralism returns as radicalism ebbs.hostmaster.vclean.life/high-performance-textiles-and-their-applications-woodhead.php
THE END OF UTOPIA by Russell Jacoby | Kirkus Reviews
Nor is this wholly objectionable. Not every age spawns bold ideas about society. In its various forms, perhaps pluralism is the best our era has to offer. Yet the retreat is presented as an astounding advance.
A familiar if not banal idea, pluralism, is dubbed cutting edge. Painted with "culture" or christened muiticulturalism, it becomes a mythology of our time. It is surely fair that various histories, long slighted, should get a hearing in curriculums; it is desirable that people of all kinds populate the stories children read and the books they study. We want students to know that there were black scientists, Jewish gangsters and women artists.
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We want curriculums to reflect the complexity of history and society. These projects remain urgent and legitimate. Yet they constitute only a fraction of a multicultural argument that goes far beyond revising curriculums to address vast tracts of life and letters. Outside of the curriculum debates and sometimes within them , muiticulturalism easily loses its bearings. Driven by abstract "culture" and a formalist "pluralism," muiticulturalism gives rise to programs and notions that lag far behind social and economic developments.
The End Of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy
Hundreds of essays on "cultural identity" fling out references to Derrida and Foucault with little purchase on their topic. Endless discussions of muiticulturalism proceed from the unsubstantiated assumption that numerous distinct "cultures" constitute American society. Serious reflections about cultural pluralism must at least consider the relentless forces of cultural homogenization and ask the questions, "How can pluralism exist within uniformity? The call for cultural identity may arise as a response to its demise. No group is able, and few are willing, to stand up to the potent homogenizing forces of advanced industrial society.
All Americans, from African Americans to Greek Americans, buy the same goods, look at the same movies and television, pursue the same activities and have—more or less—the same desires for success. From the angle of marketing, these groups may show up as distinct consumers of music or sports, but this hardly constitutes fundamental identities. All differences between groups have not disappeared; this is obvious.
Yet they may progressively decline. Exactly for this reason, they assume increasing importance for individuals. It is the rootless, not the rooted, who fetishize their roots. The revival of ethnic identity amid its real decline may be news to the dogmatic exponents of multiculturalism, but not to historians of immigration and assimilation. One highly regarded historian of immigration, Marcus Lee Hansen, formulated a generational "law" that speaks to this very issue. He called the law "the principle of third-generation interest," which can be summed up in the maxim, "What the son wishes to forget the grandson wishes to remember.
Their sons and daughters, taunted by native-born Americans, wanted to escape from the foreign language, religion and family customs; and they adopted a "policy of forgetting. Since its formulation in , Hansen's "law" has provoked much attention and criticism. Yet it captures a feature of immigration that remains pertinent: the renaissance of cultural identity in the context of its real decline. The sons and daughters who want to remember and honor their past are third-generation Americans; they arc American born and educated; they no longer "feel any inferiority.
They carry with pride their national or ethnic identity, but what does it mean? They are also assimilated and lack the language, customs and practices of their grandparents. Polish Americans do not speak Polish. African Americans know little of Africa. This is a truth that current multiculturalists do not know or want to know. To put it sharply: Multiculturalism is not the opposite of assimilation, but its product. Many multiculturalists decorate their pronouncements with rote dismissals of the "melting pot" and assimilation, but a closer look and a more precise use of terms render their arguments questionable.
In fact Glazer and Moynihan are clear; they do not mean "distinctive language, customs and culture" persist or proliferate in American society; these are "lost" by the third generation. They refer to the reality that New York blacks, Jews and Italians retain identities as interest and pressure groups, concentrating in certain occupations and geographic areas.
By surveying neighborhood associations and political positions on welfare or schooling, Glazer and Moynihan argue that ethnic identity subsists. On the contrary, New York ethnic groups participate in mainstream political life like mayoral elections. The other classic study from the early s, Milton M. Gordon's Assimilation in American Life, using a much wider canvas than New York City, came to a roughly similar conclusion.
Ethnic identity remains surprisingly "hardy," yet Gordon also means sociologically, not culturally. Apart from "minor modifications in cuisine, recreational patterns, place names, speech, residential architecture, sources of artistic inspiration, and perhaps a few other areas," he states, "over the generations. For Gordon this means that each ethnic, religious and national group has its "own network of cliques, clubs, organizations, and institutions.
The term structural may mislead, implying a density to pluralism that Gordon does not mean. He found that groups separate along the lines of friendship patterns and associations, but not culturally. Black people hang out with black people and worship in black churches; Jews hang out with Jews and worship in synagogues. This does not mean these groups represent different cultures. Or as Gordon states, it is possible for separate groups "to continue their existence even while the cultural differences between them become progressively reduced and even in greater part eliminated.
That is to say, the revival did not signify a genuine revitalization of ethnicity, but rather was sympto- The Myth of Multiculturalism 5T matic of the atrophy of ethnic cultures and the decline of ethnic communities. Placed in historical perspective, the revival appears to have been doomed from the outset, inasmuch as it could not possibly reverse trends that have been in the making for several generations.
For Steinberg as for other sober commentators, cultural and ethnic groups cannot sustain themselves against the homogenizing force of American society. Alba, has also documented the ineluctable forces of assimilation. Using indexes of languages spoken, residential neighborhoods and intermarriages, he argues that "the social bases for ethnic distinctiveness are eroding among Americans of European ancestry.
As older, currently more ethnic generations are replaced by their children and grandchildren, who are less ethnic on average, the groups as a whole become less ethnic. Other investigators dismiss the widespread alarm that new immigration threatens the status of English. Whatever 'multiculturalism' may mean to its proponents, it most assuredly does not involve a rejection of English as the national lingua franca.
The United States is not becoming more, but less, multilingual. It is a relentlessly monolingual society—much more than other societies. Kallen's favorite example of a harmonious and diverse society was Switzerland, where hi- and tri-lingualism are common. In the United States, on the other hand, fewer and fewer students study and acquire proficiency in foreign languages. Department of Education, documents the precipitous decline in the serious study of languages. One might imagine that enthusiastic multiculturalists might be alarmed.
After all, language and culture sustain each other. Yet they rarely mention it. The inescapable forces of Americanization do not ensure that all groups participate in society with the same success.
Those excluded because of racial or ethnic injustice, however, do not necessarily constitute a distinct culture. Suffering does not engender a culture. With the best of intentions, in the anthropologist Oscar Lewis introduced the term the culture of poverty to fathom the endemic impoverishment of Mexican families. Lewis himself was a lifelong socialist—with a fear of anti-Semitism that led him to change his name from Lefkowitz.
Valentine trenchantly argued years ago, is much attention given to the relationship of the culture or the subculture to the larger society. What exactly? Without considering the wider frame, what appears distinct is mythologized, as if each group lived in a separate universe. Nightingale found that these kids increasingly have succumbed to consumer society, which preys on their vulnerability. Precisely because they are excluded and humiliated, they become fanatical devotees of name brands, gold chains and pricey cars—insignias of American success. Already at five and six, many kids in the neighborhood," Nightingale reports, "can recite the whole canon of adult luxury—from Gucci, Evan Piccone, and Pierre Cardin, to Mercedes and BMW..
From the age of ten, kids become thoroughly engrossed in Nike's and Reebok's cult of the sneaker. For instance, scholars from Melville Herskovits to Sterling Stuckey have documented the persistence of African tales, songs and language in the American black experience. Little suggests that any group except the most marginal and inflexible can maintain, or even wants to maintain, a distinct culture within American society.
Such groups do exist, but typically play little role in multiculturalism, because they want to be left out rather than let in. For instance, the Amish rarely figure in discussions of multiculturalism—not simply because they are a small group, but because they are too far outside the mainstream. Their absence, however, highlights the unspoken conformity of multiculturalism, in which the multiple cultures want, more or less, the same things. Unlike other American "cultures," the Amish reject the use of electricity, automobiles and most modern consumer goods; their clothing, mainly sewn by themselves, has changed little over a century.
They are almost preindustrial and communitarian. Many outsiders may find this interesting or endearing, but nothing more. As one scholar of the Amish has commented, tourists are "enchanted" by the Amish, and academics tout their mental health and ecological soundness. Nor could L One could convert to Catholicism and still be a used-car dealer, an investment banker, or the owner of a beauty salon.
These occupations do not exist within Amish society Being Amish is a faith and a completely encompassing way The Myth of Multiculturalism 55 of life. For better or worse, conversion to the Amish faith would mean leaving the worldly world behind. It was this and something more—or less; it was also a half step in ineluctable cultural accommodation. Kallen, born in Silesia, was brought to the United States by his father, an orthodox rabbi.
As the oldest and, until the eighth child, the only son, Kallen was expected to follow his father into the orthodox rabbinate. Yet the father's implacable religious world repelled the son, who considered him "strict" and "authoritarian. Only when his father was dying did they reconcile, at which time Kallen penned a grudging appreciation.
Today the terms cultural pluralism, multiculturalism and cultural diversity do not designate different lives, but different lifestyles in American society. The "diverse" cultures all dream of, plan for and sometimes enjoy the same American success. Only the ideologues of multiculturalism have not heard the news. The politics that emerges either ratifies familiar and estimable sentiments about respecting all groups or pretends to a subversiveness that has no foundation.
A recent collection exemplifies the anemic concepts and timid politics of liberal multiculturalism. The authors of Multiculturalism assume that cultures fundamentally conflict and ponder how liberalism can reconcile antagonistic demands. The volume pivots about "The Politics of Recognition," an essay by an esteemed liberal philosopher, Charles Taylor.
For Taylor, "recognition" is not simply a courtesy we owe one another, but a "vital human need" based on the fact that life is "dialogical"; we define ourselves through contact with others. Unfortunately "with the modern age" the "need for recognition" often goes unmet. Classic liberalism handed out recognition evenly or at least tried, sometimes successfully, to ignore differences of class or gender or race. Unfortunately, the principle of equality clashes with a new idea or need, what Taylor calls the "politics of difference" grounded in the "age of authenticity," which he dates from Rousseau and Herder.
According to Taylor, authenticity is the notion that "there is a certain way of being human that is my way.
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I am called upon to live my life in this way Being true to myself means being true to my own originality. Taylor happily gnaws on this nut: How can the egalitarianism of classic liberalism be reconciled with a multiculturalism demanding special recognition for specific cultures? Yet to get at the fruit, he glosses over serious issues. For starters, what is authenticity and how is it achieved? For Taylor "authenticity" sustains the differ- The Myth of Multiculturalism 57 ences that constitute multiculturalism, but he mythologizes the concept, a favorite of continental existentialists like Martin Heidegger.
The level-headed Canadian philosopher teams up with murky Heideggerians. Adorno argued in his polemic against the Heideggerians, The Jargon of Authenticity, "authenticity" itself is a suspect concept; it claims a profundity it has not earned. The term evokes inwardness and rootedncss, assuming a mythic, formal and empty cast. Someone is or is not "authentic," based on what? Objectivity is jettisoned, wrote Adorno, while "subjectivity becomes the judge of authenticity.
Authenticity "accords moral importance to a kind of contact with myself, with my own inner nature It greatly increases the importance of this self-contact by introducing the principle of originality, each of our voices has something unique to say. Even Taylor's phrases betray the deceit. Authenticity claims a radical individualism while dragging out the genealogical tables to expel the unauthentic.
It reeks of mysticism and the police. Moreover, Taylor glides from the mythology of authentic individuals to that of authentic cultures, an even more dubious idea. Presumably certain authentic cultures need special recognition. What cultures and what sort of recognition? Apart from regular references to Quebec, a fog descends. Like many commentators, Taylor simply posits that "all societies are becoming increasingly multicultural," as if this were self-evident; and he assumes that the majority culture threatens minority cultures without bothering to tell us what minority cultures he's referring to or what is distinct about them.
It even might be questioned whether Quebec represents a distinct culture. Not really, in the opinion of many historians. Language is "merely one, and not necessarily the primary way of distinguishing between cultural communities," states Eric Hobsbawm. Nor was the Irish movement in Britain. If Quebec becomes an independent nation, would an observer conclude that Montreal and Toronto represent different cultures? In any event, Taylor fails to get very far. The notion that life is "dialogical" and requires mutual recognition cannot be contested, but also hardly needs affirmation.
The belief that "withholding of recognition can be a form of oppression" sounds like psychobabble, the philosophical version of the self-esteem chatter applied to cultures as a whole. What mangles people are bad or no jobs, decaying communities, tattered human relations and defective education rather than "misrecognition," whatever that might mean.
Reality gives Taylor and his philosophical colleagues the creeps, however. Taylor derives the "homogenizing" trends in society from a "conception" of equal rights, not a social reality. His commentators pick up the baton, operating with notions of "culture" that are threatened or threatening, but they skimp on details. Michael Walzer tells us that the dominant culture endangers minority cultures. Taylor and his colleagues address real conflicts. Yet the jargon of recognition, authenticity and cultural self-esteem muddies the waters.
They hardly ponder what constitutes a culture and what is multiculturalism within a single society. In fact, they slip from multiculturalism to cultural differences, "ways of life" and even "ways of viewing the world," as if these were all the same. This allows several contrib- The Myth of Multiculturalism 59 utors to write of women as a "disadvantaged" culture suffering from failed recognition.
What culture do women constitute? Does it vary from society to society? The conceptual slackness of these judicious thinkers enables the arguments to unfold; it is much easier to write of cultural differences in advanced industrial society, which obviously exist, than different cultures, which may not. For instance, it is possible to point to Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa as illustrating cultural differences; it is less possible to discuss them as representing different cultures within American society.
A sober view of these holidays, in fact, might conclude that they register not differences, but similarities. In the Anglo-American world Christmas always entailed popular celebrations, but not till the nineteenth century did it mean shopping and exchanging gifts. Santa Claus himself emerges out of a "motley compound" of images to become a gift giver. Taylor wrestles with the conundrum, concluding, "There must be something midway between the inauthentic and homogenizing demand for recognition of equal worth, on the one hand, and the self-immurement within ethnocentric standards, on the other.
They cannot get enough of it. Taylor's distinguished commentators fall over themselves in their enthusiasm for his essay. They have never read anything quite as stimulating. The collection suggests a liberalism that has lost its bone and muscle. Nevertheless, Taylor and the liberal philosophers are clear and honest thinkers next to those further to the left.
In the multicultural sea, leftists sail ahead by huffing and puffing about power, difference and marginalization; they fill endless essays and books with talk of radical and transformative rnulticulturalism. What is subversive is never quite specified. The relentless repetition of terms like counterhegemonic, disruption and contestation suggests a nagging doubt; the terms must be included in every sentence lest the edifice collapse.
Homi K. Bhabha, a University of Chicago professor, is a master practitioner: Cultural difference must not be understood as the free play of polarities and pluralities The jarring of meanings and values generated in the process of cultural interpretation is an effect of the perplexity of living in the liminal spaces of national society. Cultural difference, as a form of intervention, participates in a logic of supplementary subversion similar to the strategics of minority discourse.
The question of cultural difference faces us with a disposition of knowledges or a distribution of practices that exist beside each other, abseits designating a form of social contradiction or antagonism that has to be negotiated rather than sublated. The difference between disjunctive sites and representations of social life have to be articulated without surmounting the incommensurable meanings and judgements that are produced within the process of transcultural negotiation.
A recent collection, Mapping Multiculturaiism, exemplifies the genre. Its editors want to establish that real rnulticulturalism surpasses liberal assimilation or pluralism; The Myth of Multiculturalism 61 true multiculturalism is more robust and threatening. They offer a three-point guide to pick the real. McCoy from "the crowd of pretenders. Second, real multiculturalism "has strongly endorsed racially based group identities and antiessentialism at the same time. At its best, it represents familiar liberalism parading as something more. If multiculturalism is defined as being "open" to "new perspectives," then few could oppose it.
At its worst, it represents the conservative nightmare come true—mindless relativism. Multiculturalism means embracing whatever comes tearing down the turnpike of history; every truck is dubbed a culture and some even get tagged "nations," as in "Queer Nation. About this the authors say nothing. Critical thought requires conceptual care and precision; nowadays this has been exchanged for cheerleading and academic bombast.
The statement that multiculturalism endorses with equal enthusiasm racial and nonracial groups in the parlance, antiessentialism relies on an old sleight of hand. If you cannot figure it out, say both. The demand for political power and parity is the nub of the matter, however. On the basis of equality it is possible to demand more women in the military, more African Americans in government or more Latino policemen, but what does this have to do with multiculturalism? The multicultural dynamic is assumed, but rarely explained; individuals apparently pop up as carriers of divergent cultures.
Presumably the black policeman, like the black law professor, represents a different culture than the nonblack colleague. The multiculturalists pretend to liquidate false generalizations while trading in them. The main goal is power or empowerment or jobs or resources. The call for power sounds radical and serious, especially coupled to multiculturalism. In fact, power devoid of a vision or program means little; it is a demand that certain people get more authority and clout.
Again, increased representation of women or African Americans in various fields can be defended straightforwardly in the name of equality. As desirable as this goal may be, it suggests little of multiculturalism and nothing of subversion. Do black mayors represent a different culture? Or female Supreme Court judges? And should they? After the rhetoric is stripped away, the call for power and its decayed psychological form, empowerment, suggests a converging politics, monoculturalism. Everyone wants a bigger piece of the same action. Of course, the partisans put up a firestorm of revolutionary rhetoric.
Aside from the reasonable proposals to redraw curriculums and textbooks, the demands have precious little to do with multiculturalism. For instance, two professors want a multiculturalism that goes beyond a benign study of various groups or "simplistic.. What could it mean that multiculturalism cannot "exist within dominance"? Is this a call for revolution? Not exactly. To participate in policymaking constitutes revolutionary multiculturalism.
To challenge the "organization of knowledge" may be desirable, but what does that mean and what does cultural pluralism have to do with it? Like other exponents of radical multiculturalism, Gordon and Lubiano refer vaguely to minority and non-Western knowledge as if they inherently subverted domination and hierarchy. Does Chinese culture undermine hierarchy? Does I Iinduism? To improve relations with staff workers and increase minority possibilities may also be highly desirable, but what have they to do with multiculturalism?
Do various staff workers represent different cultures? With Lubiano and other enthusiasts, multiculturalism becomes a shorthand for anything desirable. In cruder terms, radical multiculturalists want more of their own people in the organization. This is fully understandable, but it is not radical, and it is barely political. It suggests patronage, not revolution. The discussions of "marginalization" often evidence rank bad faith. One could say the Amish or Hasidic Jews are marginalized; yet they themselves do not proclaim their marginality, either because they do not see it or because it does not trouble them—they have no interest in joining the mainstream.
They specialize in marginalization to up their market value. Again, this is understandable; the poor and excluded want to be wealthy and included, but why is this multicultural or subversive? For instance, an exponent of Native American studies denounces the educational imperialism of Eurocentric education. Native traditions "challenge, at root," the "dominant-subordinate construction" and the "social hegemony" of Euro-American superiority. Annette Jaimes Guerrero, a California professor. What must be done? Head for the hills? More information about this seller Contact this seller.
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