ERIC Number: ED342442
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-13
E Pluribus Unum: The Possible Dream.
Jaros, Bonita Nahoum
The United States has, since its inception, epitomized the themes of peace, freedom, and the pursuit of dignity in concept. Founded as a multicultural nation, the United States adopted the motto "E Pluribus Unum" (out of many, one) to affirm its inclusivity. Throughout its history, the United States has been a haven for peoples fleeing war, poverty, or oppression. With a population representing so many cultures, there is a great chance for misunderstanding, but also, a greater potential for intellectual and creative contribution than is possible for most nations. At Rancho Santiago College, a concerted effort has been made to celebrate multiculturalism. Culture is that which binds people together--a collective memory that may be used as a contextual clue for present or future interpretation, evaluation, behavior, and beliefs. In the United States, a problem arises because of the dominance of the original immigrant group of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. But even those who adopt this dominant culture also keep their roots based in the community from which they came. This results in the tendency to hyphenate nationalities, e.g., Vietnamese-American. Schools and colleges need to appreciate the tension that students caught between two cultures must face in trying to meet expectations for cultural assimilation in an American context, while meeting the expectations of cultural and language maintenance at home. Just as educators should work to include the learning styles of others into their programs, all students must take responsibility for becoming literate in the"currency" of America. Thus, cultural literacy must mean polycultural literacy. (DJD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rancho Santiago Community Coll., Santa Ana, CA.
Note: Rancho Santiago College Fifth Distinguished Faculty Award.