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Re: Pepsi Cola and multiculturalism

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Terry Barrett (barrett.8)
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 13:03:30 -0500

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Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 13:01:30 -0500
To:Teresa Tipton <>
From:barrett.8 (Terry Barrett)
Subject:Re: Pepsi Cola and multiculturalism


Your reply is very eloquent, poignant, thoughtful, and thought provoking.
Thank you.

I never meant to imply that we should not teach about another culture
because of disagreements over values. I want to learn about and teach
about Ghana and other cultures, including those of the Serbs and Moslems.
I think we should teach about the Coliseum as a piece of architecture and
also teach that it was used as an entertainment arena for murdering social
and political undesirables. If we teach about the art of most of the
artists I mentioned in a previous response in this recent discussion, we
will certainly be teaching about artists' passionate artifacts about
violence in America directed at women and people of color. I think we
should teach about those artists and these issues.

What I don't want to do is to teach students that all art is nice art and
that all people are good people and that all cultural differences are good
differences. I do want to promote ethical neutrality or ethical relativism
or an ethical skepticism that leaves us accepting rape of children as a
morally justifiable action. What the Serbs did to the Moslem woman is
wrong. As an educator, I am not going to impose my beliefs on my students,
(or the world), but I am going to encourage my students to have beliefs of
their own, and to examine them. Art is one of the most value laden
subjects in the curriculum and we need to address the values of the
artifacts we teach about, otherwise we've rendered them mute and

Thank you for sharing your disagreements, and for doing it so politely.


>>I can remember driving down the road and hearing the NPR interview with a
>>Moslem woman who had been raped over 600 times by a Serbian soldier, who
>>had once been her neighbor, the act done in front of her husband and sons
>>as a way to destroy the family. I had to pull over because I was
>>physically ill from the information and thought I was going to pass out.
>>However I feel about rape is really beside the point. You can share your
>>opinions with me and I can discuss them but to somehow link our own moral
>>belief systems to viewing and discussing art (ifacts). You make the
>>mistake of projecting your morality onto me as an absolute which is either
>>right or wrong.It really doesn't matter what I believe about rape.
>>I believe such dicotomies are inherently contentious and
>>do not facilitate understanding or empathy with other people's
>>differences. Regardless of how I feel about rape as a cultural phenomenon
>>from a segment of Ghanian culture, I can still present Ghanian artifacts
>>and create art from their concepts.
>>American culture is the most violent on earth. Our rape and murder
>>statistics fly off the chart compared with other countries. Do we stop
>>discussing Any Warhol because he was an American? The Romans
>>institutionalized domination and were violent, repressive, and male
>>dominated. Do we stop talking about the Coliseum as a piece of
>>architecture because it was used as an entertainment arena for murdering
>>social and political undesirables?
>>You can share your concerns with us but they cross the line when your are
>>trying to draw some conclusions about cultural practices as a barrier to
>>teaching about art from many cultures.
>> On Fri, 14 Feb 1997,
>>Terry Barrett wrote:
>>> Teresa,
>>> Do you really want to support anyone's right to rape children?
>>> Terry
>>> >Who has the right to tell us what is good and bad in the world? By whose
>>> >standards? If we are truely engaged in "inquiry-based" learning, these
>>> >conclusions should not be dicated by others as universals. Discuss your
>>> >personal opinions, but please do not pretend that you have the "answer" as
>>> >if there were only one.
>>> >
>>> >Teresa Tipton
>>> >
>>> >On Thu, 13 Feb 1997, Terry Barrett wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> Jann,
>>> >>
>>> >> I think the questions you raise we as teachers, teacher educators, and
>>> >> community leaders need to address. This is a good forum to address them.
>>> >> Thanks for writing clear and important questions. I rather have us
>>> >> them than pretend that they don't exist and ignore them.
>>> >>
>>> >> These are some tentative answers of mine to some of your questions...
>>> >>
>>> >> Children might be taught that there are good and bad things in the world,
>>> >> and to have a social conscience, and to seek ways to safely and
>>> >> make things better.
>>> >>
>>> >> Children might be taught what abuse consists of, and to know if they are
>>> >> being abused, and what they might do to try to safely stop it.
>>> >>
>>> >> Older children might be taught how to protect younger children.
>>> >>
>>> >> More advantaged children might be taught to care about and help less
>>> >> advantaged children.
>>> >>
>>> >> Children might be taught to make art about social issues that anger them.
>>> >>
>>> >> There is some powerful art made by artists who are outraged at social and
>>> >> cultural injustices, and this art might be used to teach students, at
>>> >> appropriate grade levels, about social issues: Edward Kienholtz, Barbara
>>> >> Kruger, Edgar Heap of Birds, Sue Coe, Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, Lorna
>>> >> Simpson, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Eugene Richards, Carrie Mae Weems,
>>> >> Haring, ACT-UP, Group Material, Gran Fury, Adrian Piper, David Hammons,
>>> >> Luis Jimenez, Alfredo Jaar, Tim Rollins and KOS, Mel Chin, James Luna,
>>> >> Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Robert Colescott, Mary Ellen Mark, Laurie Anderson,
>>> >> Papo Colo, Duane Michals, Beverly Pepper, Survival Research Laboratories,
>>> >> Pat Ward Williams, Fred Wilson, David Wojnarowicz.
>>> >>
>>> >> Thanks for your concerns.
>>> >>
>>> >> Terry
>>> >>
>>> >> >Terry,
>>> >> >
>>> >> >Is that what you think I am promoting...Pepsi Cola Multiculturalism?
>>> >> >
>>> >> >As a public school educator, am I responsible for filling the minds of
>>> >> >children with the horrors of the world? How will that information
>>> >> >them? Will it set them free?
>>> >> >
>>> >> >At what age would you have me discuss human abuse with children?
>>> >> >
>>> >> >When would it be suitable to expose young minds to the story you shared?
>>> >> >
>>> >> >Where is the balance between facing the reality of all types of
>>>human abuse
>>> >> >and going on in the faith in the goodness of humankind?
>>> >> >
>>> >> >Jann Gallagher
>>> >> >
>>> >> >---------------------
>>> >> >Jann M Gallagher
>>> >> >Euclid City Schools
>>> >> >
>>> >>
>>> >> 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

Terry Barrett
Professor, Art Education
340 Hopkins Hall
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

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