We Are All Multiculturalists Now: ,

Nathan Glazer, Author
Nathan Glazer, Author Harvard University Press $20.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-674-94851-8
Paperback - 186 pages - 978-0-674-94836-5
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This book's title--an echo of statements such as ""We are all Keynesians now""--indicates an acceptance of the unavoidable, even by neoconservative types like eminent sociologist Glazer (The Limits of Social Policy, etc.). Despite his earlier hopes that minorities would be included and assimilated into a greater American ideal, Glazer acknowledges that African Americans remain uniquely separated (by residence, intermarriage, dialects) from the larger society. Thus he reluctantly concedes that multiculturalism--at least in public schools, his focus here--has been institutionalized, as a way of compensating for that historical lack of assimilation. While Glazer acknowledges that multiculturalism responds to other societal forces--immigration, feminism, the gay movement--he argues that blacks' unaddressed grievances are the engine driving this proliferation. Glazer has written an accessible if limited narrative about multicultural conflicts that fit this theory. He describes debates about a new social-studies curriculum in New York State and new textbooks in California, and sketches a brief history of attempts by the educational system first to ignore and then to acknowledge the contributions of different ethnic groups. Then he examines the failures of assimilation for African Americans. His conclusion that the ""culture wars"" stem from this lingering injustice is powerful if not exactly complete. For example, consideration of the vigorous multiculturalism in Canada and Australia and its different historical causes there would have been helpful. (Mar.)
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