"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Tuesday, August 13, 2002 In Support of the Melting-Pot
A thoughtful correspondent comments below that the recent give-and-take in these precincts on multiculturalism has been marked by a Cool Hand Luke-esque failure to communicate.
He may well have a point. So here's what I'm trying say:
In my opinion, the individual is more than his skin-color, or his ethnic affiliation, or his membership in a particular census group. I'm for the old-fashioned idea of the American "melting pot," out of which many have been assimilated into one, not the "multicultural" view of a county of many ethnic cultures separate from one another. And in my view, the emphasis on "diversity" as measured by skin color or sex or sexual orientation, under the assumption that all of a particular group share the same culture and beliefs, has led to an enforced conformity of opinion among the supposed thinking-classes in colleges and the media.
There is a terrible sense of sadness that I feel about what diversity has become in America, because the original goals of the civil rights movement were so clear, so moral, so accessible to everyone: namely, that people would not be judged on the basis of color, but rather on the content of their character. It's sad that this has been so turned on its head.
What happens on college campuses, and in all too many areas of American life, is that those who call themselves advocates of diversity actually want the reverse. They want people who are dark-skinned to think one way, and they want people who are Indian to think another, and they want people who are Asian to be only interested in Asian things. They want everybody who is of a certain ethnic background to stand for only that. And, it is such a narrow and limiting thing to do to people. It's great if you celebrate your own heritage, but it's also great if you view the inheritance of human civilization as your inheritance because you're human. That is what universities do when they're at their best.
Linda Chavez writes of the intellectual ghettoes that have been created in the name of diversity, and the fruits of a multiculturalism that teaches ethnic group allegiance takes precedence over allegiance to the United States.