By Ellen Bigler
Bigler examines one city's heated dispute that arose over bringing multiculturalism and bilingual schooling into their lives and their colleges' curricula, illuminating the character of racial politics within the usa and the way each side within the debate over multicultural schooling fight to discover universal language. within the PUERTO RICAN experiences sequence.
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Additional resources for American conversations: Puerto Ricans, white ethnics, and multicultural education
That some of us weren't able to join until recently" (1995:7). In that vein, I propose the phrase "talking 'Amer- Page 6 ican'" to characterize this ongoing negotiation of what it is to be "American" and what characterizes the "American" experience. In Arnhem the most important arena for this discourse was the contentious debate about the meaning, content, and implications of public education. In the following pages I tracked the roots of these discourses as shaped by differing class locations, racial and ethnic experiences, and historical trajectories in an effort to better understand them.
For Sonia Cruz, Debra's student, "true life" is a world understood through the rhythms of both Spanish and English, as it is for the Nuyorican characters in Nicholasa Mohr's (1979) book, Felita. For Sonia, Felita seems real precisely because it refutes the artificially maintained monolingualism and monoculturalism that dominate the classrooms of Amhem and similar upstate New York communities. " Page 3 I came to know Debra, Sonia, Carmen, and other Arnhem residents in the process of examining the struggle in their school and community over the need for bilingual and multicultural education, one that ultimately brought in a state education department investigative team.
This fact is not lost on Americans from historically oppressed groups. While Euro-Americans may be convinced that the so-called "American dream" now includes all Americans, African Americans, for instance, have become increasingly skeptical about whether it applies to them at all (Hochschild 1995). Blocked upward mobility and continuing inequitable educational outcomes for students of colorat a time when the nation itself is becoming more racially diversehave in turn fueled demands for multicultural reform in the nation's public schools.