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The Forum > Article Comments > Perils of multicultural education > Comments

Perils of multicultural education : Comments

By Kevin Donnelly, published 6/1/2006

Kevin Donnelly argues the PC approach to teaching multiculturalism in schools contributed to the recent violence.

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Mr Donnelly's analysis is so typical of lazy pseudo-Conservatives who oppose something just because that nebulous group known as the "liberal-left" support it. So if the liberal-left support the truth of calculus in mathematics, Mr Donnelly will be arguing against it.

This sort of shallow analysis is an embarrassment to conservatives everywhere. Conservatism is about supporting and maintaining the status quo. We are a liberal, democratic and multicultural nation. We are not a monocultural banana republic. A few riots on a beach is hardly reason enough to overturn decades of political consensus.

Sorry, but I do not wish Australia to be part of Mr Donnelly's monocultural social experiment.

Finally, if Mr Donnelly thinks Judeo-Christian is the same as Anglo-Celtic, he should remember which part of the world Jesus Christ came from. He might wish to invest $20 and buy himself a copy of William Dalrymple's "From the Holy Mountain" and discover just how Middle Eastern Christianity really is.

On that note, Merry Orthodox Christmas!
Posted by Irfan, Friday, 6 January 2006 9:58:12 AM
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I'm a non white teacher and the last time I looked my class comprised 2 out of 5 students who did not come from an Anglo background. I've got no problems with teaching good values and citizenship but these can't be tied to one ethnic group.(anglo's)

And hey, Does White mean never having to say you're ethnic?

Kev Donelly is so out of touch with the real world of teaching its not funny.

Cos it might mean you’ll have explain your cultural and linguistic uniqueness and strewth, who’s the expert on this huh? Barry Humphreys? Kath and Kim? Russell Coyte?

And as far as Australian history goes, do you want me to teach using a balanced or a biased approach? I usually tell students what I think Australian history was about and then let them decide how to interpret it. I don't shove culture down their throats, they already walk in the gate every morning with their own understandings about culture and cultural difference and this is what we work with.

I'll post some more of my opinions on this no doubt - but for now let me say this. I do teach students about racism. Not as a precursor to blaming but as an important part of their life skills and social education. In a rapidly globalising world it would be stupid not to. But it seems Donnelly considers this to be PC.

Go figure
Posted by Rainier, Friday, 6 January 2006 10:43:07 AM
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Irf... I'm not sure what you are trying to say here, but suggesting that Kevin's analysis is 'shallow' is not really doing justice to the obvious research he has done.

He has examined the curriculum policy of a number of left wing education unions and demonstrated that they are basically working against the interests of the dominant culture.

The important questions are:

1/ Why ?
2/ With what goal ?

Well, going back into my reading of Marxist 'theology' and method, I find a lot to take issue with in their attitude, but one main method of achieving the socialist revolution is to undermine all representations of nationalistic and cultural solidarity.

The approach to Multiculturalism does just that.

Your criticized and wrote off Danny Nalia's piece in about 2 lines, suggesting he didn't 'define' Multiculturalism. Well, I'd say he has a rather good definition in his own experience in being sued by the Islamic Council of Victoria over remarks which have since proven to be basically true, though a bit generalized.

1. It accepts and respects the right of all Australians to express and share their individual cultural heritage within an overriding commitment to Australia and the basic structures and values of Australian democracy.

2.It also refers specifically to the strategies, policies and programs that are designed to:

3. make our administrative, social and economic infrastructure more responsive to the rights, obligations and needs of our culturally-diverse population;
4. promote social harmony among the different cultural groups in our society; and
optimise the benefits of our cultural diversity for all Australians.

Now..taking just point 3 alone. Ask yourself this. IF... being more "responsive" to the 'rights and obligations' of say Muslims is in conflict with existing Law or CULTURE.. then what should happen ?

Simple. The dominant culture and law has to win. If not, there will be racial tension. So, this would be one reason why 'you' cannot have more than one wife, but under Islam you can have 4.

I see no reason to accomodate every variation of ‘other’ religions and cultures by our emergency services.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Sunday, 8 January 2006 7:33:45 AM
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Dear Ranier
you never need to present a biased view of early Australian History, you should present it warts and all, and never gloss over the failings or cruelty of many of our forebears.
BUT.. you should point out also, the good will, the defense of indigenous peoples interests by some of the Churches, you can also show the abuse. You should also include in your overview the ills of the indigenous societies, and their wars and cruelty to each other.

It might help also to outline some of the cruelties experienced by those same 'whites' in the old country, that they were sent here as a punishment, and a range of other historical facts which will give the correct 'balance'.

In fact, you should include for example, the Treaty of Waitangi where the different wording in the english version and the Maori versions meant the Chiefs did not know they were ceding 'absolute sovereignty' to the british crown, but then.. you should also mention that the Ngapuhi obtained muskets from the whites and proceede to slaughter their Maori enemy tribes.

So, a 'balanced' and unbiased approach to history is one which will clearly demonstrate that there was nothing 'worse' about the White settlement than any other clash of cultures or tribes, then, students can clearly see that while we are not without moral blemish, we still do have a predominant culture and it is Anglo. It matters not that the percentage of your students are only 5 white to 2 non white. What matters is the overall cultural heritage of the country, which you should teach as a loyal Aussie.

If we used your logic "There are 2 non white students and 5 white" to justify not teaching the white culture, u are just saying "If we can get a few more non whites here, they will determine the culture" and I think there might be some resistance to that :)
Posted by BOAZ_David, Sunday, 8 January 2006 7:45:45 AM
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The problem, Irfan and Ranier, is that rantings by 'the Donnelleys' of the tribe are published and dopes like us are drawn in.

Further, he may be 'out of touch' but his narrowness represents much public opinion and public opinion is swayed by his semblance of logic
I can just see leading educators rushing to revise their precious syllabi because of Cronulla! And surely, Australia's multi-cultural seeds were planted after World War II at the very latest. Further, I sense that most cultures are 'riddled with racism, inequality and social injustice' and I believe that education can be one of the tools to counter those things (as the writer appears to concede in his opening paragraph). And oh no, not the AEU again? Dr Donnelly must be one of the few people associated with education that knows of this organisation or cares one bit about its policies. It is such an influential organisation I am sure every staff meeting will commence in 2006 with readings from their august papers. Sorry AEU!

The logic line ends with a summary that seems to refute much of what the article proclaimed because I agree so strongly with it and none of what preceded it! He wrote, 'separatism ... nourishes prejudice, magnifies differences and stirs antagonisms'. That is why I will forever proclaim that if the society needs schools, and we do in some form (but not what we have), that the only way to ameliorate differences is through a single system (preferably conducted by the federal government and preferably with the attendance age lowered to recognise the new world of work and educational opportunity).

So Ranier, do your good work in the knowledge that our society is so much richer for multiculturalism; and Irfan and Ranier, maintain your watch on the writings of Dr Donnelly... and keep letting him know when you do not agree with him because others stroke his ego. Unfortunately, his joys come, like the appalling shock-jocks, through posts like mine that are probably equally as biased as his ... but at least I know it!
Posted by aka-Ian, Sunday, 8 January 2006 8:13:22 AM
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"Whereas past generations felt part of a wider community and believed that hard work would be rewarded, recent generations see only inequality and their right to be supported"

Is there actually any real evidence whatsoever to support this claim ? Things like number of hours worked have been on the increase for years, which really go against the idea that people don't want to work hard. Is there also any evidence that larger numbers of people from previous generations felt part of a wider community than today ?

In addition, even if people are getting lazier in some aspect, I don't see how multiculturalism education is playing any significant part in that.
Posted by rc, Sunday, 8 January 2006 8:26:44 AM
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