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I'm impressed that you read the article to your ninth graders. You must
have excellent rapport with them. I think you are brave for doing that,
and I think it counts towards responsible multicultural education.
However, I can't find anything to celebrate or respect in this cultural
practice, and I don't think there is a right of rape. Thank you for
>Dear Terry, Interesting that you should mention that article, which I
>found personally horrifying. I read it to my 9th grade world history
>class and asked the students what they thought. My intention was a
>discussion on gender roles, community sin, Shirley Jackson's "The
>Lottery," that sort of thing. My students, however, assumed I was asking
>if the US should interfere in this practice. Almost to a man, and woman,
>they felt that although they might personally abhor the practice, we
>should respect the right of other cultures to make their own decisions.
>Seems to me that the "celebrating pluralism" message is certainly taking
>hold, and that's a good thing.
>--Carla in LA
>Who was it who said, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend
>to the death your right to say it"? (I know - I should know this, but I
>just can't remember. Probably "sometimer's disease," as a friend of mine
>On Tue, 11 Feb 1997, Terry Barrett wrote:
>> Dear Graeme,
>> I've been loosely following your interesting and valuable dialogue about
>> multiculturalism, and the general theme I'm raising here with one example
>> you may have already dealt with. If so, I apologize.
>> I was troubled to read in yesterday's newspaper an AP story entitled
>> Gahanaian Priests Still Taking Girls Into Slavery. According to the
>> newspaper account, slavery has long been and still is a part of Ghanaian
>> culture. The Ewe word trokosi refers to wife of the gods and the still
>> extant practice of appeasing war gods for misdeeds of ancestors by
>> sacrificing vestal virgins from every new generation. Daughters as young
>> as ten are handed over to temples where they are servants until they begin
>> to menstruate and then become the concubines of priests. When they reach
>> middle age, the women are released, to be replaced by yet another virgin
>> from the same family. The practice dates back to the 17th century and is
>> also practiced in neighboring Togo, Benin, and Nigeria where it is believed
>> to have originated.
>> As I read the article, I couldn't escape ironic associations with the
>> current discussion about celebrating pluralism. How are we art educators
>> to deal with cultural differences such as this one?
>> Terry Barrett
>> Professor, Art Education
>> 340 Hopkins Hall
>> Ohio State University
>> Columbus, OH 43210
Nancy Walkup, Project Coordinator
North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
PO Box 5098, University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203
817/565-3986 FAX 817/565-4867