Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bias Anti Bias
I’ve been in this field for a long time.

I’ve seen educational fads come and go.
Terms change.
I've been around long enough to see labels be re-labeled..and syndromes pulled out of a hat, only to be stuffed back in and pulled back out later called something completely different.

LD was evolved into Global Developmental Delay, and now that label is changing as well.

“Crippled” went from “handicapped”, to “disabled”, to “people with exceptionalities”, to “special needs”, to “differently abled”.

My point is that things are always changing according to the perceptions and the linguistics of people who have the power to change things.
Sometimes I feel as though the Grand Poobahs of Social Service are constantly struggling to find new "initiatives" to justify thier jobs and create new ones so that they can appoint steering committees while they fly by the seats of their pants straight to the public trough.
I know it sounds cynical, but where there are new and well intended intiatives, there are those all too ready to find a way to take advantage (and not in a good way).
Often, those who stand to benefit most from these programs don't qualify.

In my previous post when I said that we had human rights'ed and politically corrected ourselves into a corner, one of the things I was referring to was that often human rights are, in peoples minds confused with individual preferences.
For example, while I have no right to present Christianity to students, I have free reign to present other religions or alternative lifestyles to them.
That's hypocrisy.
I know some of you are saying "well, there are Catholic schools.."..well, not all Christians are Catholic... I advocate equal time for all faiths in the public school system.
Not the exclusion of one simply because Catholics are representn' in a big way.

I once went to an Anti-Bias Workshop that focused so much on the differences between people of other cultures and traditions that it served to separate and compartmentalize rather than bring people together.
More focus was put on semantics than on the greater problems that separate people.
Spending hours concentrating on minute things like the importance of multicultural paint in the classroom, and the difference between referring to traditional clothing as "dress" instead of "costume", seemed silly and trite to me.

When The Misters family and mine met, it was a grand effort in finding the similarities in our cultures that brought them together, not the seeking out of the differences.
Is the stress on differences bringing us together?
Or is it separating us?

I'm a firm believer in multiculturalism.
But, can we look at positive similarities to bring us together instead of simply focusing on language and overpriced educational products labelled "multicultural", pushed by intellectuals who have in many cases never been front line workers during their entire careers?