One of the problems of the 21st Century will be the problem of
Questions like, Who am I?, and Where did I come from?, will be more difficult to answer with the progression of the issues of ethnicity and diversity. Ethnicity reveals itself in the customs, rituals, values, attitudes, and personality types of individuals (McAdoo, 1993). An individual’s family ethnicity clearly establishes the core of his being. Because of my membership of a benign and truly pluralistic society, my research was necessary for racial and cultural identity. Being of mixed heritage, as many African American families are, I wanted to learn more about my rich heritage and it had to start with me.
Many can not give a name to their mixed heritage. Students are faced with the dilemma of describing their background by the origin of their last name, or depending on their more prominent features. Just recently, Tiger Woods age 21, who was described as the first Black Masters Champion in golf, said it bothers him when people call him an African-American. He stated, while he was growing up, he came up with this ethnic group, “Cablinasian”. Woods found this was the best word that describes his background of one-fourth black, one fourth Thai, one fourth Chinese, one eighth white, and one-eighth American Indian. However, when he was in school he checked off African-American and Asian, because of the way he looks. By racial is meant an anatomical designation based on biological criteria. More precisely, a race is a category of persons who are related by a common heredity or ancestry and who are perceived and responded to in terms of external features or traits. (McAdoo, 1993)
I teach in a placement where the population consists of approximately 20% White, 40% Black, 30% Hispanic, and 10% other. McAdoo disagrees with metaphors of “unmeltable ethnics” which does not go far enough to show the effects of cultural contact and exchange. Metaphors like the “Melting Pot” where the pot is expected to melt away all of our differences, and we would all become North Americans, without respect to our ethnicity, or the “Salad Bowl” which has been used in Canada are not as appropriate as “Stew and Stir Fry”, when blend together or comes in contact with each other, they are better than all original ingredients alone. Based on the “Stew and Stir Fry” metaphor,
the main goal
is that each group will become richer and more resourceful, and yet each maintain the integrity of the original group.
“Education must not simply teach work—it must reach life.” WEB Dubois. Students should look in the past to learn lessons on how to avoid repeating mistakes that other generations have made. This genealogical curriculum unit allows each individual to research their origin and explore cross-cultural roots of students experiencing difficulty with the colorline and identity. The individual is encouraged to see their family larger than just membership in a group that share’s place of origin or race, or social class or religion. The concept of ethnicity is when one is a member of a group that shares’ place of origin, or race, or social class, or religion (McAdoo, 1993).
The Northeast Consortium for Multicultural Education (NECME) in 1993, defined Multicultural Education as “a dynamic and lifelong process of teaching and learning that fosters critical thinking (knowledge), cultural awareness (awareness), language proficiency (skills), cooperation, self-esteem, community concern and transformative social (action). This curriculum is divided into the four components; knowledge, awareness, skills and action.
At the Juvenile Detention Center, I teach in an environment where young people are forced together for periods of time. I am involved with a difficult student population who are in less than an optimum educational setting. They come and go frequently so that while the number of students remains fairly constant, the rate of turnover is not conducive to receiving a good education. This curriculum will be integrated throughout the courses and enable students to see the relevance of the curriculum and apply it to their own lives. It is a perfect opportunity to explore diversity and genealogies.
1) To build an awareness of one’s own cultural heritage, and understand that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.
2) To acquire those skills in analysis and communication that help one function effectively in a diversed community.
3) To understand that in some degree all people, especially Americans, have experienced a variety of cultural influences and the educational aspect is to learn the realities of the American experience.
4) To understand the Multicultural Education as a process which empowers teachers and students to become positive change agents with the knowledge, skill, sensitivity, understanding and empathy to influence the world around them.
5) To design a Genealogy Book that focus on cultural awareness and sensitivity, understanding, tolerance, and support networks and collaborations with other students. Including culturally (self-discovery, identity, diversity) games and activities which deal with the impact of different cultural histories, values, and expectations.
6) To create a resource room for education that is multicultural which would contain texts, videos and audio tapes.
The primary focus is on cultural awareness and self-discovery. The students will develop a strong sense of who they are and where they are from by sharing their individual experiences and diversed backgrounds. The cultural activities and games enable the students to promote cultural diversity in the classroom and in their daily lives.
The Family Tree Journey Project is a supplement to the cultural awareness and self-discovery process. Students who desire to take on the task of searching for their family ancestry and are aware of their basic family information, will welcome the genealogical assistance from this curriculum.
The Family Tree Journey is quick and easy to follow. You enter basic family information just if you were filling out a form. From the information you enter, you can track an individual’s medical history or write several pages of stories. If you have a CD-rom drive, you can use the Family Finder view to read Family Archives and the Family Finder Index. Then you can research your family history right from your classroom. Family Archives are CD’s containing information from a variety of records, such as census records, marriage records, social security, death benefits records, and linked pedigrees.