“Thus in the United States, the drive to educate all students about a set of ‘facts’ in the name of literacy education can be seen by minorities as a thinly veiled guise for the imposition of a particular type of cultural identity” Bernado Ferdman “Literacy and Cultural Identity”
To be certain, no reasonable educator is insensitive to the perils of teaching and cultural identity. We all know about the transitory nature of “fact” and the dangers of “pushing one way of knowledge” as Ferdman says. We live and teach in a world of grey tones, where reality is subject to the interpretation of those interacting within it. We should be wary of absolutes, they tend to get easily disproven and cause more trouble than they are worth.
But the denial of absolutes is a value in and of itself and one that I would argue does get pushed at students. It is also a value sharply in contrast with much of the religious ideology in which students are raised. Subjectivism fundamentally undercuts the basic tenants of any theistic religion- that there is a moral absolute established by an outside force. If we as teachers, reject absolutism (and I actually do) are we not denying religion as many/most of our students understand it?
What about Global Warming deniers? Or Homophobes? How about strict Muslims who believe women shouldn’t drive? If protecting cultural identity is of the utmost importance, then we are not allowed to challenge these antiquated notions, lest we violate someone’s identity. It is easy to embrace the principles of Ferdman’s article when we identify with/sympathize with/ agree with the oppressed view-points. And within the context of “the classroom” the commonly accepted “minority” view-points are often championed by those in power (even if not wholly understood) so it can be hard to argue that they exist in an oppressive space at the academy. Compare a teachers reaction to a student arguing that the bombing of Hiroshima was racist vs. a student arguing the Bible bans homosexuality. Which is the true “minority” opinion in that circumstance?
I think, at some point, teachers need to begin reconciling themselves to the fact that ALL education is, to an extent, the imposition of your world-view on a student.