“What difference docs it make where ou came from? You arernan American. Wc are all equal.” True multiculturalism, or “diversity”rnas it is referred to in Academe, would at least recognizernall ethnic groups, not just the four politically correct groups.rnUniversity multiculturalists teach that these four groups arcrnoppressed by the all-powcrfu], the politically dominant majorityrn—as if minorities were denied participation in the Americanrnpolitical process.rnA Native American studentrnat the center was recentlyrnasked on a Denver televisionrnprogram what she thought of thernterm ‘Native American.’ Herrnresponse was that she saw herself asrn’a Native,’ not as an ‘American.’rnWhen asked by Clifford May, associate editor of The RockyrnMountain News, whether “whites constitute a single culture orrnan ethnic group,” Professor Evelyn Hu-Del lart, director of thernCerrter for Studies in Ethnicity and Race in America (CSERA)rnat the University of Colorado at Boulder, answered: “No, whitesrnconstitute one dominant power group, if ou will. It is not justrnabout race. It’s about power.” It would, of course, have beenrnabsurd for her to have claimed that “whites constitute a singlernculture or ethnic group,” but the rest of her statement revealsrnthat her center effectively docs view whites as one group (ignoringrnall the while that most Hispanics are white Europeansrnalso). The center’s primary goal is cleady political power, tornprovide a kind of “academic respectability” or gloss for the university’srnirrational affirmatiye action programs, not to mentionrnthe bilingual education offerings in its school of education.rnI do not deny that all or almost all educational activity can inrnthe broadest sense of the term be “politicized,” but the kind ofrnblatant politicizing of “education” such as wc see at the Universityrnof Colorado’s multicultural center and on campusesrnacross the country is seriously undermining the academic integrityrnof higher education in this country. And by denigratingrnour dominant Euro-American culture, institutionalized multiculturalismrnweakens our national unity.rnAn example of politicization at the University of Colorado atrnBoulder occurred in April 1994, yvhcn for several das a smallrngroup of student protesters went on what they called a “hungerrnstrike.” They demanded, among other things, that the universityrncreate an Ethnic Studies Department with Ph.D.-grantingrnpower (or give departmental status to CSERA, which is arnprogram, not a department). Predictably, the universit’srnpresident, Judith Albino, played the minority political game byrncalling a press conference, capitulating to their demand, andrnpromising to push for the creation of such a department.rnThe inevitably biased comparisons and contrasts of culturesrnthat students get in ethnic studies departments or multiculturalrncenters arc fraudulent at worst, superficial at best. If arnstudent rcalK wants to gain a deep understanding of anotherrnnational culture, he or she needs to learn its language, as well asrnmuch of its history and literature. This is the province ofrnforeign language departments.rnMulticulturalism is right in recognizing that we can allrnlearn from other cultures. We should: that’s what a trulyrnliberal education teaches us. But multiculturalism ignores realityrnin the pursuit of that goal. It generally ignores the fact thatrnthe students’ time is extremely limited; that they, whetherrnminority or not, need to understand their own national culturernbefore they can intelligently compare it or contrast it with otherrncultures; and that learning another culture is a major endeavor.rnIt took mc, for instance, almost a lifetime of earnest effort tornpenetrate Hispanic culture, just one of many major culturalrngroups in the wodd. And I was lucky: I was able to make a livingrndoing it.rnMulticulturalists generally fail to recognize that the UnitedrnStates is among the most diverse nations the wodd has everrnknown, and that Americans are united not only by a commonrnlanguage but b’ a shared common culture (largely derived fromrnthat language), in addition to a political and legal systemrnprimarily Anglo in origin. Our unilingual system has enabledrndiverse elements to assimilate into a common Americanrnculture, thus welding us together as “one nation, under Cod,rnindivisible, w ith liberty and justice for all.”rnPublic schools and universities in this countrv have a solemnrnobligation to educate a constantly changing new generation ofrnchildren in the history and heritage of their country. When Irnlook at my own school, and especially at CSERA, I am appalledrnat its abject failure to fulfill its responsibility to American society.rnA Native American student at the center was recentlyrnasked on a Denver television program what she thought of thernterm “Native ymerican.” I ler response was that she saw herselfrnas “a Native,” not as an “American.”rnIf this “Native American” is not an American, of whatrnnationality is she? One cannot expect multicultural centers tornassume the rcsponsil^ility of Americanizing students, but theyrnshould at least stop dt’-Amcricanizing them. Better still,rnthey should be abolished altogether. Let the ethnologists inrnour andiropology departments teach ethnic cultures as ethnicrncultures, not as a means of achieving a political agenda. Andrnlet history professors teach American history in as truthful,rnunbiased, apolitical, and comprehensive a manner as possible,rnhistory not revised to accommodate current political fads.rnThe danger multiculturalism poses to our national unity isrnalso exacerbated by other powerful forces in our national life,rnsuch as massive immigration, legal and illegal, the highest inrnour history; bilingual education; bilingual ballots; the welfarernstate; and affirmative action (80 percent of our immigrants arernfrom Asia and Eatin America and, therefore, immediately eligiblernfor preferential treatment in employment). These combinedrnforces tend to separate society into competing groups,rnand at a time when our public schools have abandoned theirrnhistorical mission of Americanizing students. This is nothingrnshort of a formula for national suicide.rn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn