Faux Multicultarism

Faux multiculturalism harkens me back to television shows and their ‘token’ characters. Using Star Trek as an example, and its supposed futuristic society, but it’s still just ‘one of everything with a white man in charge,’ though, to be fair, there’s television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where the captain, Sisko, is a black man. Still, for the majority of media, television and film, white characters dominate. It seems to be getting better (though I can’t back this up with evidence) that television shows frequent nonwhite characters and other gender and sexual identities. Though I digress, it’s something valid to look at because our future students will be exposed to these characters and relationships (whether power, partner or otherwise) from an early age, they will bring it in to the classroom.

It’s not just media, because as teachers, we can control (to an extent) what we can teach. The histories of each student’s culture must be as important as the curriculum’s western viewpoint. If the students’ can connect to their history, what’s in their blood, they can bring a level of engagement which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

I went to school in an affluent neighborhood. While my classroom wasn’t very diverse, I still believe we received a decent multicultural education despite the demographics. I think that’s also really important. Not always will classrooms be as diverse as some schools, but there should still be an opportunity to introduce new cultures into classroom even if there aren’t students from that culture.

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One thought on “Faux Multicultarism

  1. lotsirb says:

    I understand what you are saying in regard to lack of diversity in pop culture/tv/media, but I do think there are improvements being made. I remember when it was a huge scandal when Roseanne kissed a woman on her sitcom, and when Ellen came out on hers she was cancelled! Now, Ellen has (probably) the most popular daytime talk show, and prime time has many depictions of happy homosexual couples (Grey’s Anatomy is one example). I think the pendulum is swinging toward more acceptance with homosexuality. Race…I’m not as sure about. My friends and I have always rolled our eyes at the South Park character, “Token.” Naturally, he was the only black character. I think we still have room for improvement in that category.

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