It’s time to restore the “civic mission” of schools, writes Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio. Reclaiming the “melting pot” metaphor is a first step, he argues. To truly “welcome and celebrate diversity,” we’ll need to focus children “on what makes us one country and one people.”
He cites social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s analysis of the clash between “nationalists” and “globalists.”
“Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue,” Haidt writes. “They think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving.” Globalists see all that as “mere racism.”
He cites Karen Stenner, an Australian political scientist who sees intolerance as a response to “the perception that ‘we’ are coming apart.” Celebrating “our sameness” the best way to build tolerance of differences, she argues.
“Ultimately, nothing inspires greater tolerance from the intolerant than an abundance of common and unifying beliefs, practices, rituals, institutions, and processes. And regrettably, nothing is more certain to provoke increased expression of their latent predispositions (for authoritarianism) than the likes of ‘multicultural education,’ bilingual policies, and non-assimilation.”
That brings Pondiscio to the schools, which used to tell American children about the melting pot, E pluribus unum and “Bring me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
“Gradually, the term fell into disrepute, giving way to metaphors of quilts, mosaics, and kaleidoscopes,” he writes. (“Melting pot” is now considered a microaggression on some campuses.)
Pondiscio dreams of a “civic education renaissance” that would “cultivate in our children a sense of attachment to the nation and its civic ideals.”
Via The Impotents.