Language Practice 3
28. November 2006
The Need for a Multicultural View on History
In his essay Ronald Takaki explains how many misconceptions we have according to our view of history and minority groups. He challenges some ideas that are present in most people’s mind and are thought to be democratic or tolerant, even some made by Asian Americans. I am going to examine how right Takaki is when he calls for a more inclusive, multicultural view of history that would allow us to understand each other.
Ronald Takaki starts his essay with an example that shows a clear view of the lack of multiculturalism or inclusiveness in most people’s way of thinking. The story with the taxi driver shows that Asian people are not regarded as real American citizens. When Takaki tells the taxi driver that he is as American as every white citizen, the man still makes a strange statement. He says he was wondering about Takaki “because his English is excellent”. The strange thing in it is that the driver says it after that he learned that his passenger is living in the United States since his birth and his parents and great parents were also Americans, as if it would be a great achievement for an Asian American to learn the language of white people. This clearly shows that his conception about the Asian minority is based on misconceptions, so he expects them to be different.
This shows that although a huge number of Asian Americans are living in the United States many people do not accept them as fellow American citizens whose families may have been living in the country longer than some of the whites’. Of course in most of the cases it is not a conscious exclusion, but a sub-conscious misconception about the image of an average American citizen. Takaki argues that it is the most important task of education to get rid of such sub-conscious “racism”. The word “racism” might sound too harsh, but these misunderstandings come from the tendency...