Mapping Multicultural Education
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Multicultural education is a conceptual mess. It stands in for people’s political aspirations, but has no independent meaning or value — despite its advocates’ pretences (and beliefs) to the contrary. This is not to say that the various meanings and values attached to multicultural education by its various proponents are themselves worthless; to the contrary, they are often both plausible and compelling. But these meanings and values neither derive from nor are clarified by the concept of “multicultural education” itself. Furthermore, “multicultural education” is saddled with so many different conceptions that it is inevitably self-contradictory both in theory and in practice; even in its most well -intentioned, assiduous, and effective implementation, it cannot simultaneously achieve all of the goals it is called upon to serve. Thus, I shall argue in this chapter, “multicultural education” has no independent identity or value beyond the various goals, practices, or content to which others attach it, and to know that an education is called “multicultural” is to know little if anything about its form, content, or aims.