Been meaning to get around to this, as it’s been on my list of essay subjects, quite correctly in the category of “Things that make me nuts.”
Having harrumphed thus far into the topic, let me admit that it’s really two topics irrationally and inescapably entwined, both of which escaped my attention until I saw an article about Dianne Ravitch’s book (The Language Police) discussed at CNN.com. Amazing the things that transpire when you duck out of the country for ten or twelve years. Who’d a thunk that school book publishers would have dumbed down textbooks in the misguided quest for political correctness, quietly removing “polo” and “yacht” as elitist, “blind” as offensive and even “boyish figure” as sexist. The list goes on and I can’t wait to see it, though my copy is enroute from Amazon.
Multiculturalism is claimed as the origin of such foolishness, a modern egalitarian theory that gives equal value to all cultures, backgrounds and human conditions and insists upon that equality to the degree that we enter a Wonderland that Alice would hardly recognize. Huckleberry Finn has long been gone in most schools, vanished in absolute terror of the “n” word, no matter that it was (and is) a seminal American novel and did perhaps as much to deconstruct racism as the 60’s Civil Rights Movement. Twain wrote it for that purpose.
Multiculturalism decries the fact that America considers itself a white, Eurocentric culture, without recognizing that it was fifty-six white Europeans that signed the Declaration of Independence and thereby put their lives at risk. This country has had huge, irreplaceable contributions since that time by blacks, Hispanics, Asians, indigenous Indians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and whatever motley crews of misguided, misdirected and just plain accidental peoples of the world that found their way to these shores, but it was half a hundred white Europeans that made it possible.
Those half a hundred made it politically possible for the multicultural movement to virtually take over and make more crappy our already crappy elementary school systems, to celebrate as a cause the destruction of viable language and to further dumb-down generations of already staggeringly undereducated graduating classes. We have many freedoms in our country, certainly more than exist politically anywhere else on the planet and our freedom to be manifestly ignorant is among them.
Makes me want to signal my waitperson for another drink.