Multiethnic and Multicultural Literature. Providing a Broader World-View for Secondary Level Students. First things first: What is Multiethnic Literature?.
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When students reading about diverse cultures discover similarities with their own, they begin to look beyond the differences and take a step toward appreciating the cultural connectedness of all humanity
Heightens respect for individuals
Helps students realize that society has developed a value system that validates some differences and minimizes others. This system is based on ignorance and its existence promotes inequality
It encourages students to detect prejudice and to work toward its elimination
1. The accurate portrayal of the culture or cultures depicted in the book includes not only physical characteristics such as clothing and food, but relationships among people within the culture and with people of different cultures.
2. There is diversity within the culture; characters are unique individuals, not stereo- typical representative
3. Dialogue is culturally authentic with characters using speech that accurately represents their oral traditions. Non-English words are spelled and used correctly.
4. Realistic social issues and problems are de- picted frankly and accurately without oversimplification.
5. Minority characters are shown as leaders within their community able to solve their own problems. Cultural minorities do not play a supporting or subservient role while whites are seen as possessing all the power.
Cultural Authenticity, that is, the accuracy of the lan-guage, customs, values, and history of the culture - can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine if one is not familiar with the culture depicted.
A good resource for finding culturally authentic literature are specific cultural awards
Although presenting students with a wide range of minority leaders and heroes, Stotsky (1994) argues that students will gain an even broader world view if their literature shows that all groups have people who can be both admired or criticized
Also that different authors in a country’s mainstream literary tradition have held different points of view about members of particular religious or ethnic minority groups
An overdose of “white guilt” literature in the curriculum may cause students to develop a negative reason either to white America or to the authors and the groups featured in them depending on the social group in which they may see themselves as a member