THE IMPORTANCE OF MULTICULTURAL AND INCLUSIVE TEACHING IN THE ERA OF OBAMA AND THE DISCOURSE ON POST-RACIAL POLITICS
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:With the election of Barack Obama as the first Black President of the United States came the vexing yet perhaps expected conclusion that issues of race and ethnicity were no longer grave concerns; they were null and void because our leader is black. Somehow Obama’s presence suggests that he/we have transcended race. While a salute to the progress made in terms of race relations can be attested to through Obama’s election, it remains pre-mature to believe that we are now a “color-blind,” “post-race” society. This paper explores how media discussions and ongoing conversations about a post-race society influences student perceptions of race and how it directly affects the teaching instruction of professors, like myself, who are invested in multicultural and inclusive pedagogy. My earlier struggles as an instructor to assist students in understanding the importance of acknowledging and recognizing cultural and other differences have resurfaced as students who buy into the rhetoric of a “post-race” nation no longer think it necessary to examine closely racially charged inequities. Rather than adhere to the problematic ideology of Obama as the embodiment of a “post-race” nation, I propose an exploration of his identity and politics as those that encourage fluidity and cultural plurality. From this perspective, there is still a need to wrestle with the politics of race as a viable site of exploration and inclusion within classroom discourse. Furthermore, from this standpoint, instructors and students alike can glean the relevance and potential of inclusive learning. In the end such learning environments produce well rounded students and help them become global citizens.
Keywords: Multiculturalism and Inclusive Teaching, Obama and Post-Race Discourse, Cultural Plurality, Diversity.