Deculturalization

This essay has a total of 1274 words and 8 pages.

Deculturalization






































Deculturalization refers to the "stripping away of a people's culture and replacing it
with a new culture" (Spring 1). Deculturalization is one of the most inhumane acts one can
partake in. A person's culture is his/her main defining feature. Culture is the medium
through which people communicate their beliefs, values, and morals. Inserting one's own
culture in place of someone's pre-existing culture is the basis of ethnocentrism. People
have repeatedly become victims of deculturalization, especially in the United States, and
by analyzing this ethnocentrism one learns the importance of sustaining different cultures
in society.


There are many methods of deculturalization, such as segregation, isolation, and forced
change of language. When the content of curriculum reflects culture of dominant group, it
is deculturalization. Also, dominated groups are not allowed to express their culture and
religion, which is deculturalization. Use of teachers from the dominant group to teach
those that are dominated is another form of deculturalization (Spring 49).


"The problem was the assumption that U.S. institutions, customs, and beliefs

were the best in the world and they should be imposed" (Spring 42).

Throughout much of the past century, the United States sought to stamp its cultural ideal
upon almost all peoples who existed within its realm of influence. It is only through the
relatively modern ideology of multiculturalism and the celebration of diversity that the
United States has begun to make amends for the injustices it has committed on other
cultures. Today, with multiculturalism entering into the classrooms and other realms,
different cultures are finally getting the attention they deserve.


The American idea of cultural and racial superiority began in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries with the colonization of northeast America by predominantly Anglo
Saxon colonists. Ironically, the colonists came to America to escape persecution for their
religious beliefs. The Anglo Saxon attitude of cultural superiority was a largely
Protestant value that remained prevalent for much of the twentieth century (Spring 2-4).


The educational impact of this elitist attitude was far-reaching. The most immediate
effects were seen in the destruction of Native American culture and peoples. Efforts to
'civilize' the Native Americans through the use of schooling began in 1819 and continued
until the late 1920's. The first schools were the result of Christian missionaries'
efforts to gain converts. English was the only language spoken in these schools, and the
Native American culture was looked upon poorly. Some earlier efforts were made to adapt to
Native American culture, including the development of a written Cherokee language. This
knowledge, however, was used to impart Anglo-Protestant values and religion (Spring
18-21).


Out of almost all of the other cultures, Native Americans are the most exploited. Not only
was their culture subverted and their people forced to move, but also the Native Americans
still today are trying to regain their cultural identity. It was only during the late 20's
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