Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez
by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Multiculturalism is not meant or just necessary for one particular ethnic group. It is necessary for all ethnic groups, genders and social classes. It is important because we live in a global economy and also for the improvement of our social conscious.

Many people are aware that there is a variety of ethnic groups but we need to be able to see beyond that and stop over generalizing. We need to in essence see the individual on the basis of who they are and not their gender, physical appearance, culture, language, political, and religious beliefs. In doing so, we are less likely to marginalize and dehumanize a person. Achieving a change in thinking takes time and sometimes several generations.

Students have an opportunity to be exposed to other cultures within the school setting. There is a tendency for ethnic groups to stay within their homogenous group. They stay within their comfort zone. If we are to help decrease prejudice and discrimination, we need to implement multicultural education in schools. The students can gain a better understanding of other cultures. The tendency to hate and fear what you do not know or understand exists in North America and through education or in essence knowledge, the students can develop a social conscious.

Dr. Banks lists five dimensions to multicultural education: "content integration, knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, equity pedagogy, and empowering school culture and social structure." (4)

In content integration, teachers supplement their lesson plans with materials and examples from different cultures to explain concepts and academic information such as the contributions by different cultures to the North American society, comparison and contrasting between languages, there are variations of the English language itself through out North America in not only pronunciation but also spelling.

In knowledge of construction of process, the teacher needs to help the student understand "how knowledge is created and influenced by racial, ethnic, and social-class positions of individuals and groups." (9) Students need to develop their critical thinking skills to determine where the source of the information is from rather than accepting something at face value. They need to understand that the author or researcher's socialized life structure will influence their way of thinking and may be as objective as they believe themselves to be. They also need to understand that depending on the time period, the way of thinking of said period will also influence the information.

Multiculturalism education can do so much in reducing prejudice. It is such a great opportunity to help the students understand what is prejudice and discrimination, by not only defining it but also providing them examples of it. Many students begin the school year with negative attitudes toward certain ethnic groups that they learned through family, friends and the media. They are not aware that some of the words they use to describe ethnic groups is a racial slur. Teachers have the opportunity to help the students gain a more positive view of ethnic groups and genders.

Equity in pedagogy is another important dimension of multiculturalism in which the teacher can draw from the students rich and diverse "racial, cultural, ethnic, language, and gender groups". (15) In doing so the teacher provides for a higher level of achievement motivation and a decrease level of fear of success in the students. By doing so the teacher can do away with the past chilly classroom and nulling environments. The students can develop a high self concept in which they believe that they do matter and that they can make a difference in this world. They in effect become empowered and their voices are not silenced.

Finally but not at all the least of all dimensions is an empowering school and culture and social structure. In order for multicultural education to be as successful as it can be, there needs to be a serious analysis of the school district, schools, principals, teachers and other school staff and programs of said school district. There needs to be an examination of equity for all ethnic groups, genders, social classes and cultures to ensure there is no prejudice or discrimination being done to hinder any "educational equity". (16)



Banks, James A. Cultural Diversity and Education Foundations, Curriculum and Teaching. Fifth Ed. Pearson Education, Inc. 2006.

Wink, Joan. Critical Pedagogy Notes from the Real World. Third Ed. Pearson Education, Inc. 2005.


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Mehdi jaleb.......

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I just read your comment to David ET on his blog "Ebadi's mirage"  You took the same approach. hmmm



Easier said than done

by Mehdi on

Unfortunately, ethnicity, cultural background, race, etc, act as an exclusive club membership. You are a member and you have certain benefits that other clubs don't. So being fair is not that easy because you have to give up some of your exclusive advantages. So in practice, how would one resolve this issue? When one's own or one's own group's interests are, or appear to be in conflict with the interests of others or other groups, "solutions" turn out to be a rip-off of one side by the other. How many Iranians are totally wiling to share their oil or better conditions with Afghanis or Pakistanis, or even Westerners? Easier said than done ;)

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Previous articles :o)

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

The following links are for two articles written before September of 2007:

 Inside and out

Single and loving it!

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Previous comments and discussions

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

Brava Nadia. How do Kurds, the true brothers of Persians fit in?

by Iconoclast on Tue Mar 18, 2008 08:21 PM CDTKurds are the true, original brothers of Persians- by related race, language, culture and mixed marriages/mixed blood, probably since before Cyrus, being immediate neighbors. Were not Pre-Islamic Zorostrian religion and its prophet born in the mountains of Kurdistan? As is the much revered Norouz or Newroz, NewSun, NewDay, NewYear. A significant part of Iran's rich spiritual and dancing music have roots in Kurdistan. Persia's greatest romantic poet Nezami said proudly his mother was Kurdish, therefore he re-set Layla & Majnoon translation from its original arid Arab deserts to the colorful Kurdish mountains. Today, Rumi's greatest interperter is Kurdish, Shahram Nazri. Recently in French le Monde, Nazri said it was the poetry and the spiritualism of folkores of Kurdish mountains that inspired him to devote his life to Rumi's similar sensebilities for eternal joy and love.  And Iran's great Kamacha player, Kayhan Kalhor, frequently uses Kurdish tunes in his repertoire because his father is Kurdish. Kayhan Kalhor's music and that of Iranian Kurd Ali Akbar Moradi (Iran's Tanbur master player) both feature in the movie David & Layla  about Kurdish Layla. There are some 40 millions Kurds in the contigeous country of ancient Kurdistan (Google Kurdistan and Persia and several books appear by Western travelers) a country most of which has ended, due to cruel history, to be divided and dominated by Turkey and the Arab goverments of Iraq and Syria. (Nothing against Arabs or Turks, but imagine if through a quirk of bad luck/history, Persians ended up being ruled by Turks or Arabs. Or, imagine if Arabs were dominated against their Will by Kurds or Turks!) Fortunately, about ten millions Kurds stayed under Iran. Forgetting evil and ignorant governments (Khomenai demonized Kurds as 'Children of Devil) at least, there is not (and should not be) racial or language prejudice between true brothers (and sisters) the majority of Persian and Kurdish people Any thoughts?  Jazne Newroz Piroz! (Note, no Arabic words of Ed Mubarak.) Justice, Love & Peace for All.  ********************************************       


Thank you dear Mona

by Nadias on Tue Mar 18, 2008 07:11 PM CDTfor your continued encouragement. :o) Looking forward to your next blog too. Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros) Nadia  *************************************************                         


Jamshid.......very interesting

by Nadias on Wed Mar 26, 2008 02:11 AM CDTpoint. Yes, I have heard of reverse discrimination not only for jobs but also for students looking to get into a university. Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros) Nadia PS: I forgot to thank you for the "nice article" compliment. Sepaas! It is never too late to say thanks. :o)


Nice article

by jamshid on Tue Mar 18, 2008 04:49 PM CDTI sometimes think there is a reverse prejudice in the US. That should be addressed too. I have seen many white people not get a job because "they are white", and the "quota" won't be met. That's wrong too. 




Segragation disguised as Multicultural...

by Kamangir on Tue Mar 18, 2008 08:37 AM CDTDuring long decades, speacially during the Pahlevi years, Iran enjoyed of a very unique and interesting multiculturism where different religious and minority groups all had their share in the society and all were simply 'Iranian' first while keeping their own identities. Although this was much more noticeable in Tehran, obviously.  Therefore, our country, Iran has experienced a healthy multiculturalism. When I compare that to what I see here in Canada (among other similar countries) now, I do find the so called 'multiculturalism' here very superficial and fake. When you pay attention to the composition of the political stablishment, law and the judiciary as well as major economic entities, private or not, you do see that there's a policy of bringing foreigners here, giving them 'citizenship' very quickly and literally asking them to fill the gaps the native 'white' population doesn't want to fill.  In a society where in year 2008, the society is segragated and nicely and kindly divided in 'white' and 'non-white', in such society there cannot be 'real' multiculturalism. Look at Germany, France and other nations for instance, where not even the third generation of 'new comers' is really pasrt of the political fabric. The way it is, specially here in the Western part of this country, an Eastern European redneck is much better accepted whithin the 'white' stablishment, than anyone else much more educated and skilled. Many will insist in calling a segragated society a multicultural one, whereas, the reality is segregation and consequently racism.  Months ago the well respected Canadian newspaper 'Globe & Mail' published an article about the exclusion of the non-white population in many aspects of the socio-political life wheh at the same time warning that if these issues are not addressed, in some two decades this county could find itself in the same exact spot where France is, with all the related racial tensions.... Many or most new comers to these lands do not care much about these things as anything new is very interesting and they 'have' to see this place as the best place on earth or something close to it, to be able to live here, after all they have left behind either hunger or socio-political oppresion (such as in the Iranian case) although sometimes their lives are limited to the weekend Iranian concerts and shootoole malang bazi...   Kamangir  ****************************************               

The things...

by Mona 19 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 08:11 AM CDT... that we share in Our World are far more Valuable than those which divide us. Dear Nadia, Thank You P.S.Thanks for the books,I do appreciate it, and looking forward to read your next Blog :) Respectfully,Mona *******************************



by programmer craig on Tue Mar 18, 2008 05:18 AM CDTMany people are aware that there is a variety of ethnic groups but we
need to be able to see beyond that and stop over generalizing. We need
to in essence see the individual on the basis of who they are and not
their gender, physical appearance, culture, language, political, and
religious beliefs.
But, Nadias, that (in bold) is exactly what "multiculturailsm" calls on people to do. To categorize people based on all of those things, and to formally show "respect" (at a government level) for people's differences. That's the European way, and it has been an abject failure. It is tantamount to institutionalizng racism, when the intent was just the opposite. People will never be considered "equal" when they are at the same time treated differently. Sperate but equal. That's what people used to say about racial segregation in the United States, before the civil rights movement in the 1960s. If people (in the US) want to preach multiculturalism, that's up to them but it is not what we do here. We do assimilation, which some people treat as a dirty word but it is a hell of a lot more fair to immigrants - as can easily be seen by the resounding success of so many immigrants who come to the United States.  **************************************** 



I was thinking about it.

by Nadias on Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:32 PM CDTI actually have an outline/notes from my university days that I saved. Good thing too. I will need it to help me create a good blog. :o)   Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros) Nadia




Dear Nadia

by Shaer on Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:13 PM CDTI Have Never Of Robert N. Bellah.  I Think That It would Be A "Wonderful" Idea If You Were To write  A Blog On His Ideas .. Best .. :)  ****************************************  


Thank you!

by Nadias on Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:56 PM CDTJoseph Campbell sounds like a fascinating thinker/writer. I will look into your recommendations. Thank you for providing the web link.  Shae'r have you ever heard of a sociologist by the name of Robert N. Bellah. He was one of the authors of  "A Good Society". We briefly covered his ideas at the university. I would be interested to read your opinion on him. Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros) Nadia ************************************ 

Dear Nadia

by Shaer on Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:09 PM CDTAfter Reading Your Blog today, I Thought Of sharing with You one Other thing that I Experienced Back in the 1980's That May Be Useful .. Again, As With "Bradshaw" Last Night, this Was "Also" On PBS .. In The Late 1980's, Bill Moyers, The famous Journalist, did A Series Of Programs with The Famous Mythologist "Joseph Campbell" .. Joseph campbell Was The Professor Of Comparative Religions At Sarah Lawrence College In New York For Over 30 Years .. George Lucas, The Producer Of "Star Wars", Considered Joseph Campbell A Mentor, and Used His Knowledge In The Mythology And Storyline That You See In Star Wars .. I saw he Entire Program That Bill Moyers Did with Joseph Campbell .. There were A Total Of Six (6) One-Hour Programs ..  I Was So Fascinated By The Programs That I Bought The Tapes, and Perhaps Have Seen Them Over A Dozen times or More In The Past several Years .. Joseph Campbell Had A "Fantastic" Ability To Teach The "Commonalities" Between Different Cultures and Religions .. On how Various Myths Developed Through different Cultures, And why These Myths Are So Similar .. He Essentially Taught People How "similar" Human Beings Are .. I found That The Teachings Of Joseph Campbell Tied In Very Nicely With What John Bradshaw Had Taught Several Years Earlier .. With John Bradshaw, A Person's Mind And Spirit Got Cleaned Up, and wioth Joseph Campbell, His Spirit Got Broadened .. I Searched For The Tapes, and They Are Still avalable: // I am Sure You Can Check Them Out At Most Public Or University Libraries .. Over the years, I Have Watched Several other Videos by Him, and Read a Number of His Books .. The One book That I Found Most Useful and Intersting Was His Book Called "Myths To Live by": // This book is based upon a series of Lectures That He Gave Over The Years at  Cooper's Union In New York City.  It Covers Various Subjects Such As Myths, Cultures and Religions Throughout The World (ie. Oriental and Occidental) in addition To The Subject Of "Human Psyche". It Is Very Easy To Read and Understand .. Enjoy Them .. :)