ERIC Number: ED366699
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Language and Race: Barriers to Communicating a Vision.
Olson, Ruth Anne
This paper discusses the problems faced by Minnesota's Supporting Diversity in Schools organization in communicating their goal of making schools responsive to students of differing ethnic backgrounds. It was found that using terms such as "multicultural curriculum" and "isolation of schools and communities of color from one another," brought out different meanings. While some saw it as equal education with less ethnic bias, others saw it as the creation of special units of study, displays of artifacts, multicultural fairs, and shaded faces in textbooks. Also, people's points of view regarding how they see reality created problems in the sense that, while people of color saw a need for greater multicultural efforts in the schools, whites mostly did not. This disagreement caused a continual barrier to communication and sound problem solving. The dominance of whites in the community power structure limited decision making on issues relevant to racial equity and fostered continued isolation of white people from the issues and realities shared by people of color. To solve the communication dilemma, words that describe were substituted for words that label. Gaps in reality perceptions were narrowed through use of cultural artistic events and the use of incentives to encourage attendance. Finally, competent and informed people of color were used to head meetings and to act as liaisons in district staff discussions which helped to enrich the content and perspectives of these gatherings as well as to lessen the dominating influence of the white majority. (GLR)
Descriptors: Communication Problems, Cultural Differences, Cultural Pluralism, Economically Disadvantaged, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Education, Ethnic Groups, Human Relations, Intercultural Communication, Minority Groups, Racial Integration, School Community Programs, School Community Relationship
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Parents; Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Saint Paul Foundation, St. Paul, MN.
Identifiers: Diversity (Groups); Diversity (Student); Minnesota; Saint Paul Public Schools MN; Supporting Diversity in Schools MN
Note: For related documents, see UD 029 722-724. A publication of the Supporting Diversity in Schools Program.