It is Necessary to Disseminate Multicultural Standards in Higher Education
Multiculturalism, particularly in higher education, can come with substantial payoffs for the students. So, is it necessary to spread this concept, or to forcefully integrate multicultural standards? Is it happening on its own?
Correcting Concepts of Inferiority in Education Environments
One of the many problems that occur when disseminating multicultural standards is that many individuals may believe that their culture is superior to others. Often this stems from a sense of ancestral or cultural pride. Attempting to dampen that pride hardly ever has a positive outcome.
How can higher education leaders ensure that they are correcting concepts of superior and inferior cultures? When working with students in a higher learning environment, you’re often interacting with young adults who are capable of analysis and critical thinking.
Relying on those two skills, it is possible and reasonable to expect adults from various cultures to develop cultural relativism. The underlying idea is that cultural relativism will lead adults to understand that cultures are different, but not better or worse than any other culture.
The university environment is the perfect platform for these discussions. It is in a multicultural environment focused on learning, where people can assess the cultural norms they grew up with and learn from others who had different experiences.
The Case for Blending Cultures
Thought leaders Sleeter and Flores who have published research on the topic of multicultural teaching, both note that social interactions within multicultural education environments have fewer instances of prejudice. It is possible that multiculturalism, with its ability to blend cultures and define similarities between outwardly opposite cultures, leads to less social stereotyping.
There are many benefits of blending cultures. Among the many cultures worldwide, there are underlying themes of self-esteem, actualizing self, identifying personal potential, rights, responsibility, and a community. However, not every culture is as individualistic and focused on the themes mentioned here.
That doesn’t mean that in a community-based culture the self is without mention. For example, in a culture that places family above self, the individual’s self-confidence may be lesser in exchange for strategic interdependence within the family unit.
When blending cultures, the result often leads young adults to take the best of both worlds. Those raised in individualistic cultures may find great joy in community-based atmospheres, whereas those who contributed to a community-based culture may find strength in working on themselves.
Taking Conscious and Purposeful Action
University leaders, staff members, teachers, and administrators must all take note of the spread of a multicultural presence within their institution. Although many are happy to see the emergence of young adults coming into their own, there is the possibility of adverse effects.
Bring staff together to determine conscious and purposeful ways to impact the multicultural environment within your school. Are multicultural codes in place to ensure ethical conduct from students and staff? Do students and staff have the tools to make decisions regarding a student’s intrinsic value of their self and community?