E pluribus unum, and not the other way around

The Gadfly and Fordham have forever embraced
multiculturalism: All students should learn about the history (and cultures) of
all Americans. Standard U.S. history courses should recount the good and bad
chapters of our nation’s past, helping our young people understand the origin
of our high ideals as well as ways we’ve fallen short of them, our triumphs as
well as our sins, and the stories of all peoples, from whites to blacks to
Latinos to Native Americans and onward. But we cannot condone courses designed
for students from one ethnic group about the history of said group alone.
African American-studies courses just for African Americans? Latino-studies
courses just for Latinos? Count us out. That’s why we were disappointed (if not
surprised) when the New York Times
editorial page condemned a new Arizona law that bans such courses for “inject[ing]
nativist fears directly into the public school classroom.” Currently at issue
are the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American-studies courses,
in which, according to some reports, including one from a former teacher of the
program, the students are taught that “the
United States was and still is a fundamentally racist country in nature
.”
It’s hard to know from afar if these courses do in fact cross the line, but
it’s completely appropriate—and not at all “nativist”—for states to ensure that
their public schools don’t teach hate, divisiveness, or an ideology of
victimization.

Tom
Horne: Tucson Unified School District runs afoul of ethnic studies law
,” by
Mark K. Reinhart, Arizona Republic, January
3, 2011.

Arizona, in the
Classroom
,” by the editorial board, New
York Times
, January 16, 2011.

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