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Re: CELEBRATING PLURALISM

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Terry Barrett (barrett.8)
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 10:16:49 -0500

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>Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 10:15:40 -0500
>To:carla harwitt <charwitt.us>
>From:barrett.8 (Terry Barrett)
>Subject:Re: CELEBRATING PLURALISM
>
>Carla,
>Thanks for your clarification and for responding!
>You really do sound like a very fine teacher.
>I think I know what you are getting at about Amnesty International, but
>I'm not quite sure. Is it that you believe that someone, somewhere,
>somehow, ought to intervene to stop horrid human abuse?
>Terry
>
>>Terry,
>>I agree that the practice in the article is horrible. What I was trying
>>to communicate in my previous message (but not very effectively) was my
>>surprise that my students automatically *heard* the article through a kind
>>of "this is another culture so tread carefully" kind of filter. Once I
>>pointed out to them that I had asked only what they thought of the
>>practice and not whether they thought the U.S. in particular should do
>>anything about it, they all voiced a collective "Oh...!" and uniformly
>>condemned the practice. Phew! They had had me worried! Frankly, I'm
>>still concerned whether a "sensitivity to multiculturalism" can be carried
>>to extremes to denigrate the work of groups like Amnesty International,
>>but that's for another discussion...
>>--Carla in LA
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>On Wed, 12 Feb 1997, Terry Barrett wrote:
>>
>>> Carla,
>>> 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
>>> responding.
>>> Terry
>>>
>>> >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
>>> >puts it.)
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >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?
>>> >>
>>> >> Sincerely,
>>> >>
>>> >> Terry Barrett
>>> >> Professor, Art Education
>>> >> 340 Hopkins Hall
>>> >> Ohio State University
>>> >> Columbus, OH 43210
>>> >> 614.292.4741
>>> >> barrett.8
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>

Terry Barrett
Professor, Art Education
340 Hopkins Hall
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
614.292.4741
barrett.8


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