Showing Respect to Real Diversity: A Response to Cultural Acceptance
March 3, 2013
Recently, there was a school that caused uproar by saying “one nation under Allah” in the Pledge of Allegiance. The school also said the pledge in French and in Spanish other weeks as part of an attempt to be multicultural. There was an article in The Picket recently that felt that this practice was a good thing, and I would like to offer a rebuttal.
While the main outcry was about using Allah instead of God, I also disagree with saying the pledge in French and Spanish.
It is not respectful either to our own heritage or to the cultures that were supposedly being represented. If you were going to try to spread diversity and multiculturalism, having a class on it or something similar would be more effective. It could be informative and show students other cultures, rather than taking something from another culture that students are unfamiliar with and having them put it in something that is a part of our heritage. The whole idea is confusing.
The pledge is part of our heritage, and I think that people in France would be offended if we went there and sang their national anthem in English or German in order to celebrate diversity. Muslims would be incredibly offended if we referred to Allah as Yahweh.
It’s not patriotic nor is it multicultural because it doesn’t really represent any of those cultures, including our own. It’s basically bastardizing their heritage and making it something it is not which I find incredibly disrespectful.
A friend of mine, Norman Guice, the son of a U.S. diplomat, said, “Multiculturalism is a misnomer. Singing an American song in another language is not showing respect; instead, it is deeming their songs (which also have tradition and a beautiful history) as less important than co-opting their language to sing American songs. If you’re going to appreciate a culture, appreciate them on their own terms. ”
If we’re going to really be multicultural, we should have things from those other cultures, not assimilate them to something in our own and call it multicultural. It’s not multicultural when all we did was mix the two together, creating a new culture which represents neither their culture nor ours.
We already have our own heritage, and when someone comes here, they expect to assimilate to our culture. That is because that is what everyone does whenever they move to another country. It is disrespectful not to.
Very few people come here with the expectation to assimilate us to their culture. In fact, many of the people who push for this are Americans who don’t have that much multicultural experience.
We really do a disservice to the world when we try to recreate their cultures when they are here for ours and not their own.