Cultural diversity, or multiculturalism, is based on the idea that cultural identities should not be discarded or ignored, but rather maintained and valued. The foundation of this belief is that every culture and race has made a substantial contribution to American history.
However, many people remain opposed to the idea of multiculturalism, or cultural diversity awareness, while others often support it and yet have no clear idea of how it should be taught.
Oftentimes we leave the difficult task of teaching cultural diversity up to our local schools and teachers, under the catch-all phrase of "multicultural education." We assume that during February our children will learn about "Black History" and in March about "Women's History." A particular month or week is dedicated to a certain ethnic group or belief, as if this somehow acknowledges their full contribution to American history.
This can often be as divisive as it is informative. If U.S. history is taught year round, but February is "Black History Month," then the logical assumption is that African American history and achievements are often overlooked during the normal school year. Or, that other cultures are somehow ignored during February.
The diversity of the United States is truly astounding, as many different ethnic and racial groups have contributed to the social, economic and cultural values of our society. This has certainly been true throughout our history, even though many of our school books have not always taught that fact. In fact, the very idea that cultural diversity should be taught has only been promoted in the last few years.
The bottom line is that when we fully recognize that America is great because of the contributions of the many, then we as a people will be even more united in our common goals, and even more proud to be American citizens.
African American Center
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