Several stories related to racial discrimination and abuse have dominated the news headlines in the United States from time immemorial though cultural and racial diversity is seen to be the real force behind the success story of the United States of America (U.S.).incidences of discrimination at the workplace, schools, health care systems and within the domains of other public institutions along the racial lines have been commonplace. In the ordinary sense, the white Americans tend to look down upon the minority races of the colored people such as Ukrainians, Latinos and Mexicans on the basis that they are not Native Americans. While many people hold firm and popular belief that the whole issue of racism emanates from the natural instinct alongside other historical social and political baggage beyond the control of the present times generation, racism in America is inadvertently instilled in children by their seniors either in school through emphasis on their differences, back at home or in other public places through active learning and gross aping.
In the story, the author and a good story teller, Susan Brady Konig, makes a stunning revelation on how her daughter Sarah was mistakenly made aware of racism by the teacher during the Cultural Diversity Month at her preschool. However, what the teacher, Miss Laura, thinks of cultural diversity clearly propagates the extent of racism in the real sense. Younger children below the age of six who have not even developed full command of communication language are forced to understand that their hair, skin and eye colors are different because of their varying nationality and racial backgrounds. Definitely this is a wrong approach teachers like Miss Laura take to sensitize the children on the concept of cultural diversity. Even though Miss Laura’s intention was to bring out cultural and other physical differences as visible attributes of cultural diversity in her students, the extent to which she associated them with their divergent historic origins and past cultural practices divides children along the racial lines. This heightens the strong feelings of Americans versus hyphenated America among the children. In reality, there are no hyphenated Americans such as hyphenated Kuwaitis since all children are Americans by citizenship.
As explained Konig, the preschool children are quite tender in age and have not attained cognitive maturity to understand the basic concepts of color as well as nationality. The simple act of telling children that they come from different cultural backgrounds and that they come from different nationalities is a viable breeding ground for negative racism in its own rights. When these children grow up, they are already aware that they are intrinsically different and that the superficial bonds of the American patriotism cannot bind the American citizens together notwithstanding their common political course.
Borrowing a leaf from the preschool scenario, the notion of cultural diversity is mistaken in the American civil society. According to Professor Gary Nash, faculty dean at the Department of Human and Population Studies, University of Hamburg, “cultural diversity serves to bring people of different backgrounds together” (p. 172). In this context, cultural diversity will promote national integration and cohesion among members of different races regardless of their nationality, color, religious affiliation, sex and ancestry and that anything short of this should be denounced for the common of a great nation. The Cultural Diversity Month therefore provides a platform within the school system upon which the key elements of racism is instilled in children by teacher Laura at an early age.
Most imperatively, Konig’s main concern is the imminent infiltration of racism into the elementary institutions of learning. The school administration authorities are very fundamental in documenting critical information such as ancestry, nationality and skin color which have proven to be the essentials of racism. It is imperative to note that malpractices of such kinds do violate the spirit of one nation that U.S. is to the letter because it tears the newly founded nation down the middle along the racial lines. What then could the civil society do to avert the declaration of racism in schools in the future times? The answer to this crucial question is not only found in the educational institutions but the entire civic society at large. It is therefore the duty of teachers, parents, and other members of the society to stop racism from taking root in schools, homes and communities at large failure to which the future generations will continue to suffer from its discriminative effects.
The school management must come to the realization that the present and future times of the United States is long way ahead of racism. It is high time that the educational curriculum and teaching activities to be undertaken by the American children needed to be deeply rooted on the principle of patriotism. Rather than put much emphasis on the divisive aspects of cultural diversity, the children should be taught to understand that they all belong to one great Nation: United States of America. To the liking of the author, the only important thing that teachers, the caliber of Miss Laura, ought to instill in children right from their preschool times is that they are all Americans and they are destined for a common future cause. To this effect, I strongly agree with Konig that cultural diversity should be taught in the right context and that teachers should concentrate on common similarities rather than differences in their teachings.
Even though the author is categorical that American children learn the tenets of racism from the formal institutions of learning right from the tender age, there is more to it that could meet the eye. Given that school is a perfect representation of the civil society, racism takes form in the wider spheres surrounding the school environment in my own judgment. Teachers, parents and children are direct products of nature hence they are just but a blank slate on which the nature writes. Members and all stakeholders of the civil society are under an obligation to stand out and prove to the younger generations that their relationships and social interactions transcend far above their respective races and color to the liberalities of their greater nation. They’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught is a perfect choice of title for the story by Konig because it discloses how cultural diversity should constructively be taught to children in the total absence of unnecessary cultural and religious prejudices. The title literally means that children must be carefully taught cultural diversity without any prejudice and misapprehension.