E pluribus needs unum
Amy Kass, a University of Chicago lecturer, writes eloquently on the need for teachers who can put the unum back in pluribus. For multiculturalists, “American,” describes whites of European descent.
All other racial and ethnic groups are not and cannot be part of American culture. Indeed, any attempt to transcend race and ethnicity in the name of human individuality, or common humanity, never mind the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is regarded as foolhardy.
Not too long ago, an incoming university student drove this home most vividly: In response to a colleague’s description of his regular freshman seminar offering, which included the study of Sophocles’ Antigone, Homer’s Iliad, and Plato’s Apology of Socrates, she quipped, “Oh, I see, you must be Greek.”
. . . if culture and race are really regarded as all-powerful determinants, and if human beings are not only marked but also decisively separated by ethnicity and race, how will we, American citizens, be able to sustain our common civic life and national polity? How can we even begin to think about our common good?
In times of crisis, Americans — at least, those outside academia — do seem to realize that we’re all Greek. So to speak.