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Thursday 18 January 2001

Multiculturalism is a Load of Crap

First off, to ward off accusations of xenophobia or racism: I advocate an open-borders immigration policy for the United States. Anyone who wants to come live here should be able to, and they should all have exactly the same opportunities than anyone else of the same skills, talents, and abilities has. Denying anyone the opportunity to exercise those abilities because of something as silly as their skin color or where they’re from is just plain idiotic, and ultimately it hurts us all equally.

America’s diversity is what has made it great, and it would be lessened by the absence of any of us — black, white, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Russian, Eskimo, etc.

Second: Multiculturalism is a load of crap. I happened across an article in the Washington Post today (I’ve mirrored it here in case the Post does away with the archive) about how Catcher in the Rye is being pulled from school curricula these days. In itself, this isn’t news. What makes it news is that it’s being pulled because it’s not "diverse" enough.

(In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last fifty years, the basic plot of Catcher in the Rye involved our white, upper-middle-class hero, Holden Caulfield, getting thrown out of school, having a nervous breakdown, and being thrown in the loony bin. This nervous breakdown is his coming-of-age.)

The line in the article that inspired me to write this is this:

"Our school is 91 percent minority. We have 52 countries represented," said Keshia Beatty, English supervisor at Bladensburg High.

I just want to see that again: "Our school is 91 percent minority." Ahhhh.

Bladensburg is in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which is about 51% black and 41% white. I don’t think that by "minority" she means white, though. She means that 9% of the students in the school are white, and the others are one big undifferentiated mass of "minority".

And so they shouldn’t be reading Catcher, the multiculturalists say. They should be reading Their Eyes Were Watching God or Things Fall Apart.

Now, while I happen to think that Things Fall Apart (by Chinua Achebe) is a fantastic, worthwhile, and underappreciated novel, I also think that students living in a suburban county of a major U.S. city — a county where the mean annual household income is over $48,000 — can understand a story set in wealthy Manhattan in 1950 than they can a story set in a pre-industrial town in colonial Nigeria.

However, Okonkwo (the hero of Things Fall Apart) is black; Holden Caulfield is white.

Therefore, the (mostly black) students at Bladensburg High have more in common with Okonkwo than with Holden.

And here’s the assumption that seems to be hidden behind this particular brand of "multiculturalism":

Your skin color, more than anything else, defines what you are like, what you can understand, and what you should do.

Perhaps Keshia Beatty (the teacher quoted above) should join the Klan; I understand that they believe roughly the same thing.

We’re all part of the same culture in the United States, whether we like it or not. That culture is made up of all kinds of people, speaking all kinds of languages, and doing all kinds of things. But it’s the same culture. A student in Bladensburg has far, far more in common with a student in Chevy Chase (a nearby, rich, white suburb) than he does with a student in Nigeria.

Our schools — except possibly for a few in the Deep South — no longer attempt to teach anyone to hate other people. But it’s a shame that now, over 30 years since Dr. King was killed, the schools are advocating a curriculum focused on people’s differences, rather than their similarities. That once again, your skin color determines what it is you should study in school.

Posted by tino at 14:00 18.01.01
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