Multiculturalism vs. Mass Individualism
The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article entitled “The days of multiculturalism are gone; welcome to the world of mass individualism” that discussed the less-than-successful efforts of multiculturalists that later turned into the thinking that America was moving beyond a state of having many different cultures. They called it “postcultural education”, and it represented the state of America after the death of cultural diversity.
It stated that, whereas, in the past African Americans and ethnicities such as Jewish people, Italians, or Mexicans would be associated with a certain culture and lifestyle, now that did not predict anything, and that diffences had to do more with age and income.
Immigration has been increasing for decades, and interracial and ethnically-mixed marriages have brought about mixed-ethnicity children.
The article claims that traditional multiculturalism hangs onto the false idea of real cultures which becomes more and more obsolete as cultural gaps lessen. Views of multiculturalism claim to espouse unity and diversity, but their efforts are becoming obsolete. They say that Postcultural Americans strive for freedom and nostalgia, and that older views of the way of life are outdated and that perhaps in the near future separate races could become extinct.
The article’s conclusion asks teachers to educate children not about multiculturalism, but instead about mass individualism where only fragments of past distinct cultures survive.
Questions I had while reading:
Why kill culture and the community that can come from it- why lose cultural traditions and ignore something festive and unique students can share? Are they just trying to point out that people consider now the time of “the death of cultures” to show that the slogan “multiculturalism” might have some outdated or misleading connotations to it?
Cultural differences will still exist. Should teachers touch on traditions in different cultures? Should students be allowed to share their personal cultures?
What was specifically so wrong with the aspects of a multicultural curriculum besides the idea of separate cultures being an issue?
(Anyone with exact citation information please contact me, thanks!)