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Multicultural Related Articles Courts asked to consider culture By Richard Willing 1-2 Attitudes shift over 50 years By Janet Kornblum 3-4 Effort to ban head scarves in France sets off culture clash By
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Multicultural Related Articles Courts asked to consider culture By Richard Willing 1-2 Attitudes shift over 50 years By Janet Kornblum 3-4 Effort to ban head scarves in France sets off culture clash By Noelle Knox 4-6 Immigration causes age, race splits By Haya El Nasser and Lorrie Grant 6-7 Keep admissions rule TODAY's debate 7 THE NATION S NEWSPAPER Multiculturalism XX2005-XX Multicultural (or intercultural) education focuses on endeavors which deal with the rich diversity of cultures within the United States. According to the American Council on International Intercultural Education, we tend to approach multicultural education with a set of predispositions. There is an aspect of our nature that keeps diverse peoples from living in harmony. Some attribute this to the limits of our comfort zone, our attraction toward the familiar, our fear of the unknown, family pressures, our lack of knowledge of others and limited opportunities to interact. The intensified desire for peace and international understanding in this post-9/11 world has validated efforts to incorporate multicultural education in academia. Yet multicultural issues can be intensely personal, challenging and, in many ways, threatening to us as individuals and institutions. This topic clearly deserves attention and deliberation. Through this case study, students and educators will look critically at these issues and possible solutions. By Richard Willing USA TODAY Santeria priest Ernesto Pichardo thought it was a good thing when fellow members of the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye began to leave the bodies of sacrificed chickens near the trees and bushes of Hialeah, Fla., the congregation's hometown, during the 1980s. Others did not. The City Council in the city of 240,000 people, 11 miles Cover Story Courts asked to consider culture northwest of Miami, rejected the church's contention that the ritual scatterings were a vital part of the Santeria religion and of the Afro- Cuban culture on which it is based. The city prosecuted the church under a law banning animal sacrifices that stood until 1993, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down as religious discrimination. The sacrifices continue, although Pichardo says church members still are occasionally hassled by authorities. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2004 PAGE 3A I learned one thing, says Pichardo, who as an orite, or special priest, is empowered to conduct the sacrifices. When you bring something forward that is outside the Judeo-Christian tradition, the dominant culture is going to cause you problems. Immigrants with roots in Africa, Asia and other non- Western cultures are winding up in America's courts after being charged with crimes for acts that would not be offenses in their home countries. In recent years, U.S. courts have been asked to decide the fates of defendants involved in animal sacrifices, ritual mutilations and other customs of foreign cultures. Some legal analysts and academics say the phenomenon should lead U.S. courts to allow defendants from non- Western backgrounds to raise a cultural defense when they are charged with certain crimes. Legal traditionalists blanch at the idea, and courts here traditionally have been reluctant to allow such defenses. We say that as a society we welcome diversity, and in fact that we embrace it, says Alison Dundes Renteln, a political science professor at the University of Southern California and author of The Cultural Defense, a book that examines the influence of such cases on U.S. courts. In practice, it's not that easy. Recent cases bear that out: * In Fresno in 1995, Thai Chia Moua, a Hmong shaman originally from Laos, ordered a German shepherd puppy beaten to death on his front porch while he chanted over its body. Moua later explained that he wanted the puppy's soul to hunt down an evil spirit that was tormenting his wife. He pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. He was sentenced to probation and community service. * In San Mateo, Calif., in 2000, Taufui Piutau was arrested for driving under the influence of kava tea, a mild euphoric popular in his native Tonga. A hung jury led to a mistrial. * Chewers of khat, a leaf grown in East Africa and Yemen that produces a caffeine-like stimulant buzz, have been prosecuted in Michigan, New York, Georgia, Connecticut and Minnesota since the mid-1990s. Khat is legal in Great Britain, but the U.S. government classifies it as a controlled substance in the same category as LSD and Ecstasy. * In Sanford, N.C., in 2003, city officials banned the slaughter of goats and other farm animals. Mexican Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. agricultural workers who had settled in the town had begun killing goats for backyard barbecues and nailing their heads to nearby trees. * In Lawrenceville, Ga., in March, Ethiopian immigrant Khalid Adem was charged with child cruelty after his 4- year-old daughter was found to have undergone female circumcision. The practice, in which portions of the female genitals are removed, is condemned by the United Nations and is banned under a 1995 U.S. law, but it is common in some African cultures. Civil lawsuits Culture clashes also are producing civil lawsuits that run in the other direction: Recently arrived immigrants have filed claims against airlines and fast-food restaurants over conduct that was offensive in the immigrants' cultures. In 1988, the parents of Jasbir Singh, a Sikh, won $400,000 in court from Air Illinois after Singh, 26, was killed in a plane crash. An Illinois court ruled that the family was entitled to a larger-than-usual amount because Sikh custom would have required Singh to care for them in their old age. Cultural claims have worked on occasion. In 1999, Mukesh Rai, a Carpenteria, Calif., pharmacist who is a vegetarian, accepted an undisclosed sum from Taco Bell after he mistakenly was served a beef burrito. Rai, a Hindu who had sued for $144,000, claimed that he was offended on cultural and religious grounds. He said the incident led him to consult a psychiatrist and to journey to India for a purifying bath in the Ganges River. Similar lawsuits by nonreligious vegetarians usually fail, legal analysts say. U.S. courts have dealt with similar pressures before. In the early 20th century, Renteln says, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Catholics from Italy brought religious and cultural practices that clashed with U.S. customs. Practices such as contracted or underage marriages, she says, were not protected under U.S. law and largely were eliminated. Renteln wants courts to recognize what she calls America's evolving definition of diversity. She says cultural defenses should be considered when determining guilt. But she does not say that those who commit culturebased crimes should always be found not guilty. Page 2 AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2004 PAGE 3A Courts can judge on a case-by-case basis, Renteln says. For instance, they could rule that it's OK for a Sikh man to wear a kirpan (a ceremonial dagger worn on or under the clothes) without endorsing female genital mutilation. practices. Tea brewed from the root produces a dreamlike state that is essential to their religion, the adherents say. The group won in federal trial court; the U.S. government has appealed. Legal traditionalists reject that notion. Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a conservative group, says that permitting cultural defenses would lead to a legal relativism in which what's a crime for one person isn't for his neighbor.... The system we have is the best we can do to allow cultural differences without beating down basic human rights. Religious aspect important Courts have long been reluctant to accept cultural defenses. Exceptions have come when groups have been able to argue that their religious as well as cultural rights have been violated. In a case now before a U.S. appeals court, Albuquerquebased adherents of Uniao de Vegetal, a Brazilian religion, are claiming that restricting their access to the ayahuasca root violates a 1993 U.S. law that protects exotic religious Occasionally, lawyers have persuaded judges to go easy on defendants from other cultures. In Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1989, Chinese-born Dong Lu Chen received probation for beating his wife to death with a claw hammer after she confessed to adultery. Chen's attorney, Stewart Orden, argued that the shame Chen felt was the result of his Chinese upbringing, and that it fed his frenzy. It was as much of a cultural explanation as cultural defense, says Orden, who says he has not used the strategy since the Chen case. Culture may not excuse (a crime), but it can certainly shed light on things we may have difficulty understanding. Why shouldn't a court listen? AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, TUESDAY APRIL 6, 2004 PAGE 7D Attitudes shift over 50 years Integration makes gains, but perceptions slower to change By Janet Kornblum USA TODAY The vast majority of blacks, whites and Hispanics want to live in racially integrated neighborhoods and feel fine about their children and grandchildren marrying outside their races, according to a study to be published Thursday. But the Gallup poll co-commissioned by the AARP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights also shows a vast gulf remains between the way whites and blacks perceive the way minorities are treated. The survey, done to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court case that led to school integration, Brown vs. Board of Education, reveals that a lot has changed since that landmark ruling. In 1958, a Gallup Poll showed that 94% of whites disapproved of marriages between whites and blacks. And 44% of whites said they would definitely move or might move if blacks came to live next door. The latest study shows that on one hand Americans have a very positive overall perception of race, but on the other a lot of bias and discrimination still exists, says Steve Slon, editor of AARP The Magazine, which is publishing the study's results. A mixed scorecard on race Do you believe black Americans are treated fairly or somewhat fairly? Answered yes: 76% White respondents Black respondents Do you believe black Americans have equal job opportunities? Answered yes: White respondents Black respondents Source: AARP/Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Civil Rights and Race Relations Gallup poll, to be published in AARP The Magazine Thursday By Julie Snider, USA TODAY Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Page 3 38% 61% 12% AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, TUESDAY APRIL 6, 2004 PAGE 7D Three-quarters of white Americans say blacks are treated fairly, but only 38% of blacks agree with that assessment (53% of Hispanics say blacks are treated fairly). And although a majority - 56% - of whites say that all or most of the goals of Martin Luther King Jr. have been achieved, only 21% of blacks and 38% of Hispanics feel the same way. Americans very much want to see themselves as (respecting) the rights of all people, says Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. That is something that is deeply ingrained in the American national character. But, he adds, it's not surprising that African-Americans would see the world differently. After all, that community has taken the brunt of discrimination on a day-to-day basis. The results of the study are based on telephone surveys of 2,002 adults from Nov. 11 to Dec. 14 and are consistent with similar studies that show attitudes have dramatically shifted in the past 50 years, but America still remains divided by race. relations between blacks and whites are very good. Only 5% of blacks say the same. Still, that every group says it wants to live in a more integrated world is good news, says Julian Bond, longtime civil rights activist and chairman of the NAACP. Saying they prefer to live in mostly mixed neighborhoods were 78% of blacks, 61% of Hispanics and 57% of whites. The results show that people at least hope for the best. The poll also shows that 86% of blacks, 79% of Hispanics and 66% of whites say they approve of a child or grandchild marrying someone of a different race. However, Bond says, whites tend to not want to admit to politically incorrect ideas. People don't like to admit that they harbor racist feelings. so their ideals about integration may be overstated. The bad news is that whites and blacks see the world differently. People seem to want to deny reality or are ignorant about reality, Bond says. No one - whites, Hispanics or blacks - says relationships between different races are particularly good. But whites were more optimistic overall. For instance, 12% say race AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2004 PAGE 7A Effort to ban head scarves in France set off culture clash By Noelle Knox USATODAY PARIS - The small number of Muslim girls in France who wear religious scarves have uncovered deep tensions across the country. The French government introduced a bill Tuesday in the National Assembly that would ban religious symbols in public schools. The bill, backed by President Jacques Chirac, would also forbid large crosses, skullcaps and Sikh turbans. But the measure is aimed mainly at head scarves worn by some Muslim girls. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin opened four days of debate on the bill by laying out the reason for the ban. Certain religious signs, among them the Islamic veil, are multiplying in our schools. They are taking on a political meaning, he said. Some want to know how far they can go. We are giving them a response today. On the surface, the new law is aimed at protecting France's secular culture and the strict division between church and state. But the public debate has spread to much broader issues including immigration, women's rights, education and concerns about Islamic fundamentalism. This issue over the veil has become a flash point for so many tensions, said Sharon Gracen, head of the Office of the Congregation at the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris. The bill is expected to pass the 577-seat assembly in a vote next Tuesday. The Senate will debate the proposal in March. If passed, it would become law before school begins Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Page 4 AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2004 PAGE 7A in September. I would hope they wouldn't rush the legislation through, Gracen said. She said there could be unintended consequences. The secular tradition Of France's 250,000 Muslim pupils, 1,256 schoolgirls have insisted on wearing head scarves. Four have been expelled for disobedience, according to The Tablet, a London-based Catholic weekly newspaper. The French protect their secular tradition so fiercely because their ancestors suffered through religious conflicts, mainly between Protestants and Catholics. French revolutionaries separated church and state in the 18th century. The constitution signed in 1946 declared France an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. The French also have battled to maintain their cultural uniqueness. The Italians were the first to come to France en masse at the end of the 19th century. Eastern European Jews arrived after World War I. Each wave was accompanied by a backlash, said Jeremy Popkin, a French history professor at the University of Kentucky. There were fears that the French culture would be diluted or the country would lose its identity. The migration of Muslims from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal that began in the 1950s is larger than any other influx France has experienced. The new immigrants are young and have a higher birth rate than the French. The Muslim population in France could grow from 8% - 5 million of France's 60 million people - to a majority in 25 years, according to demographic experts. The debate over religious symbols in public schools isn't confined to France, which hosts the largest population of Muslims in Western Europe. Belgium has introduced a bill that not only would ban students from wearing religious symbols in public schools, but also would include government employees. Some German states are considering similar laws. There also is a growing controversy within the 15- member European Union over whether God should be mentioned in a new constitution. In December, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to reconsider a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools in nine states was unconstitutional because the words under God were a government endorsement of religion. A matter of faith or force? The head scarf, or hijab, is part of the Koran's teachings. The scarf was designed to ensure women would not inflame the passions of any men except their husbands. Today, some women say it is a mark of oppression. Others say it is a matter of choice. Polls show more than 70% of French people support the ban on religious symbols in schools. But the debate has opened rifts in the Arab community and among educators, families and friends. Many first-generation Muslim women stopped wearing the head scarf as they adapted to French culture and freedoms. But some of their daughters started donning veils because their brothers or fathers made them, or because the girls wanted to make a political statement or reclaim their ethnic identity. The girls are trapped in the middle. The father says they have to wear it, and the school says they can't. The girls pay the price, said Vida, 20, an Iranian who didn't want to give her last name. She said she recently began wearing a head scarf as a political statement of her Muslim identity. Sikhs also would be affected. Sikh boys wouldn't be able to wear turbans in school to cover their long hair, required by the 500-year-old Indian religion. A few hundred protested the proposed law on Saturday. This is our culture. We are very proud of it, said Inderjit Dhandon, who traveled from Cologne, Germany, for the rally. We won't give up. Two weeks earlier, thousands of Muslims held rallies throughout France and in other countries to protest the proposed ban on head scarves. Chirac's Cabinet passed a draft of the legislation last week, saying the law would help protect France's secular culture. The decision to ban conspicuous signs (of religion) in school is a decision that respects our history, our customs and our values, a Chirac spokesman said last Wednesday. To do nothing would be irresponsible. It would be wrong. Others say the law itself is wrong. It's very bad to make a law, said Caroline Fontaine, a journalist for the magazine Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Page 5 AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2004 PAGE 7A Paris Match. Although she disapproves of head scarves, she said, The Muslim population in France is young, and we are a little afraid of them. And instead of trying to understand their culture and their needs and about the fact they are not very accepted in France, we make a law against them. Fontaine's mother, Laurence, a university professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris, says eliminating religious symbols in schools will help immigrants integrate into society. It's a diverse country, but we are all very much French, she said. This is one of the reasons we have to merge. Debate among Muslims There also are disagreements within France's Muslim community. the Triumph of Women's Rights, the first women's rights movement in Algeria, is adamantly in favor of the law. Lesbet fled to Paris after receiving death threats in her home country for her political and religious stands. Now she sells cars. The veil is fascist because it is used by men to dominate women, she said. But a friend of Lesbet's, who asked that her
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