Decades ago, multiculturalism sounded like a good idea. Its premise was that the arts, literature, history, culture and education in general were too Euro-centric and white and should be broadened to include other races, peoples and cultures.
This good idea has morphed into the exceedingly bad and divisive practice of pointing out all of the injustices committed by white Europeans and their American descendants while ignoring the equal or worse injustices committed by other peoples. At the same time, the accomplishments of the other peoples have been highlighted while those of whites have been downplayed.
Take Native Americans. It’s undeniable that they have suffered from imperialism and genocide at the hands of whites. Only a closeminded ignoramus would not want this history included in a history of the USA.
But it’s also undeniable that many if not most Indian tribes, in a manifestation of their warrior culture, took slaves and engaged in some of the worst atrocities imaginable. Only an ideologue with a political agenda would want to hide that history.
Perhaps it’s understandable that Native Americans living in poverty on reservations and getting their healthcare from the incompetent Indian Health Services would feel that the telling of the dark side of their history would be like blaming the victims; and as such, they would want to stop the telling of that history in academia and elsewhere, claiming that it is hurtful and racist.
But that argument could also be made by whites who have been victims in history and had nothing to do with the evils of slavery, Jim Crow, colonialism, imperialism, Nazism, and Communism – and who are so poor, disadvantaged and powerless that it is absurd to claim that they are privileged and have somehow benefited from the subjugation of others.
It’s equally absurd to lay the entire blame for the horrible socioeconomic conditions in various countries on colonialism and imperialism, or again, to portray the citizens of those countries as being free of any responsibility for their own racism and injustices.
Take India, the maternal home of vice president candidate Kamala Harris, whose mother came from an upper caste known for its embrace of education, traditional families, industriousness and personal discipline. In other words, Kamala’s mother was from privilege, and by extension, so was Kamala.
Other privileged Indian castes with the same embrace of education, traditional families, education, industriousness and personal discipline have been the primary source of Indian immigrants to the USA, which probably explains why they rank the highest in household income. They’ve left behind one of the poorest, most polluted, and most racist and class-conscious nations in the world – a culture that existed before the arrival of English colonists.
Some Indians bring the class-consciousnesses with them to the USA, just as all immigrants bring negatives and positives of their culture with them. Case in point: One time, a CEO asked me to coach an Indian divisional president about his aloofness and air of superiority with his staff. I saw the behavior firsthand when we went to dinner at an Indian restaurant, where he treated the Indian staff like servants, snapping his fingers and not saying please or thank you.
This isn’t to suggest that he was representative of most Indians, but it is to state the obvious, or what would be obvious if multiculturalism curricula taught the good and bad of all races and ethnic groups – or more importantly, taught that all humans are imperfect by nature and are molded by upbringing, culture and class, in good and bad ways.
In my case, I share about 98% of my genes with apes and about 8% of those with extinct Neanderthals. And being of Italian ancestry, there’s no telling what races mixed their chromosomes in producing my ancestors, in view of the fact that horny Greeks, Persians, Africans, Jews, Germans and others tromped through the Italian peninsula for millennia.
If the multiculturalists insist on typecasting me, I wish they’d be accurate and describe me as an ape with a smattering of Neanderthal genes and mix of chromosomes from various races.