I remember an article by historian Eric Foner posted at HNN after 9/11. Foner hoped we could re-think how we teach American history and that he worried about the “self-absorbed, super-celebratory history promoted in the aftermath of September 11 – a history lacking in nuance and complexity — will not enable students to make sense of our increasingly interconnected world.”
For Foner, and many other historians, “scholars [need] to deprovincialize the study of American history.” However, this “Internationalizing” of our history did not mean to abandon or “homogenizing the particular experience of the United States.” Foner wanted scholars and educators to avoid projecting the so-called American Exceptionalism on the world and to avoid the divisive nature of labels such as “the West.” It was a well written and stimulating article with much validity.
The movement for more multiculturalism has been very popular in certain intellectual and educational circles in America and abroad. It is very prevalent in Social Justice education/teaching, though warped as it is. Do I have a problem with multiculturalism? No, not the idea of it, but with the implementation of it, at times, I do. It can drive teaching that not just emphasizes the problematic aspects of American history, but creates an educational environment where the “nuance and complexity” that is sought becomes indoctrination and ideological. Things like America as a “melting pot” and the idea of “Americanization” become examples of American hypocrisy and depredation.
So with this in mind the following proclamation by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy (note the label of “right-wing”):
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Thursday that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it.
“My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure,” he said in a television interview when asked about the policy which advocates that host societies welcome and foster distinct cultural and religious immigrant groups.
“Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want… a society where communities coexist side by side.
“If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France,” the right-wing president said.