- Historic Sites
What Should We Teach Our Children About American History?
The fiercest struggle going on in education is about who owns the past. Militant multi-culturalists say that traditional history teaching has brushed out minority ethnic identities. Their opponents say that radical multiculturalism leads toward national fragmentation.
February/March 1992 | Volume 43, Issue 1
I think they will fail. For most Americans ethnicity is not the defining experience. Most of us are of mixed ethnicity anyway, and it seems to me that if the community, the church, and the family can’t preserve a sense of ethnic identity, reliance on the schools is quixotic. But if I am mistaken—if the radical multiculturalists do not fail—they may well do great harm. Given the unifying effect of a shared historical consciousness, and the grim failures of multiethnic states that have not produced one, this is a matter of some gravity. With the world falling to pieces around us, it is all the more essential that the United States continue as an example of how a highly differentiated society holds itself together.