Stoecker never studied diversity issues, at least not directly, in high school. And that’s something at least one Milwaukee-area school district is trying to change: Starting this fall, Muskego High School will offer a cultural diversity class to 11th- and 12th-graders. The elective course will address issues such as white privilege in a community that is at least 97% Caucasian, Associate Principal John LaFleur said.
Meanwhile, area higher education institutions have spent the last several years ramping up multiculturalism course offerings and activities, in some cases requiring that students take diversity courses as part of their general education. More often than not, professors say, students arrive from high school largely ignorant about the four traditionally defined minority groups – African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and American Indians.
“I think part of why this is attracting attention is that all the metaphors we used to use – melting pot, mosaic – just aren’t working anymore, because they let us skirt the ideas of injustice and equal distribution of goods,” said Christine Krueger, an associate professor of English at Marquette University and the director of core curriculum.