cultural groups and very little evidence of homogenization.nIndeed, the American immigrant experience actually seemednto sharpen ethnic loyalties. Denying any “public” purpose toneducation, Kallen argued that “the actualities of human life arenfirst and last human individuals.” Referring to public education,nhe concluded: “Ifindoctrination is inescapable.. .it had best benan indoctrination in the relativity and contingency of allndoctrines, in their dependence on choice and experience.”nYet the celebration of American pluralism was interruptednduring the late 1940’s and through the 50’s, as the Americannpeople seemed to be forging their own distinct identity. Thencrucibles of this American style were the burgeoning postwarnsuburbs: new kinds of communities beyond the immigrantnexperience. Under the influence of suburban life, ethnicndifferences waned while adherence to middle-class normsnspread. Hyphenated-Americans of many—but not all—stripesnpoured into the developing communities, voluntarilynsuppressed their distinctions, and sought fulfillment in theirnimmediate families, their growing churches, and in their newnneighborhoods. The process represented more than mindlessnconformity.nBy the mid-1950’s, intellectuals acknowledged the change.nConservative sociologist Carle Zimmerman, for example,nnoted with pleasure that, “in answer to the ‘challenge’ of worldnleadership,” American culture was “homogenizing” andn”creating a new and much stronger family system.” Liberalneconomist and historian Walt Rostow cast Americans as “ansuburbanizing nation” with “an increased social and politicalnhomogeneity.”ni^ublic education also recovered its confidence duringnthis period. Referring to the mission of the schools. Universitynof Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins wrote: “Thencommunity rests on the social nature of man. It requiresncommunication among its members And their philosophyn… must supply them with a common purpose and a commonnconcept of man and society adequate to hold the communityntogether.” On a more prosaic level, the “suburban, middlenclass” America of the 1950’s found its moral equivalent of thenMcGuffey Readers in the “Dick and Jane” series, books thatntaught “the American way of life” now seen as rooted in thensuburban environment.nThen came the time of troubles. Critics; well-meaning andnotherwise, charged that the suburban vision of America wasnincomplete, that it was merely the product of the uniquendemographics of the post-World War II era, a systemnundergirded by transient fashions, one without sustainingnroots. While I beUeve that this vision of America was more thannan illusion and that it exhibited both moral purpose and anninternal logic, it is true that it fell with surprising rapidity.nUndoubtedly, the modern civil rights movement was onensource of disequilibrium. What began as an overdue andn.OUR PLURALISM.ncorrect effort to claim a place for black Americans in this newnsuburban dream became an assault on that vision and resultednin new claims for racial separateness. Malcolm X’s declarationn”I don’t even consider myseff an American” helped to shatternthe vision. Similarly, Nathan Glazer’s and Daniel Moynihan’sn1963 Beyond the Melting Pot represented a second “rediscovery”nof ethnicity in America and implied the tentativeness ofnthe American identity. In 1965, Congress fundamentallynaltered the immigration law so that growing numbers of Asiansnand Latin Americans found their way to this land.nAmerica was again changing, but this time there were nonsignificant voices arguing for “Americanization”—^few evenn(continued on page 27)nnnAugust 1984n