Pezone (2010). Multiculturalism is Not Enough.

Pezone, M. (2010). Multiculturalism is Not Enough. Race, Gender & Class, 17(1/2), 23–30.

“In _Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom_, however, Delpit does not even mention them. Instead, she presents an analysis of power that is abstracted from any consideration of socioeconomic reality.” (p 27)

“This ignores, of course, the ways in which socioeconomic differences are reproduced within schools and the ways in which educational systems function to reproduce the fundamental inequalities of society.” (p 28)

“Explanations of unequal achievement solely in terms of cultural differences are music to the ears of conservatives. By focusing on the purportedly unique learning styles of children of color, Delpit’s approach leads to attempts to solve the problem of differential educational outcomes through multicultural initiatives alone. When such limited solutions fail, as they must in the absence of concomitant institutional and social change, some will conclude [page break] that everything that could be done was done and that continuing failure is the fault of those who fail. Indeed, this reinforces the arguments of those who traditionally place the blame for failure on purported characteristics possessed by failing children, be they innate or cultural characteristics. Common to such approaches is failure to place blame where it really belongs, on grossly unequal socioeconomic conditions.” (p 28-29)

“While it is important that we recognize the contributions of those like Delpit who alert us to school politics of culture and language, it is vital that we engage in analysis and action to address the structural relationships of power and domination in our society, including social, economic, _and_ cultural aspects, and how they impact educational systems.” (p 29)

Selected References

  • Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. NY: Norton and Co., Inc.
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