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Going Inward

The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching


Edited By Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez

Going Inward is a pragmatic text for faculty in all disciplines who desire to deepen their reflection on teaching. Through the culturally introspective writings of faculty in a variety of academic disciplines, readers will gain a deeper understanding of faculty cultural influences on college teaching and student learning. This book introduces readers to cultural self-reflection as a powerful tool for insight into how our values and beliefs from our cultural and familial upbringing influence our teaching practice. Cultural self-reflection is a process for generating insights and empathy toward serving students from backgrounds and cultures both similar to and different from one’s own. The integrated design of the book’s three parts – cultural introspection, faculty culture and teaching autobiographies, and developing a culturally introspective practice – makes this book helpful to teaching faculty and academic administrators.
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Chapter Seventeen: Being Multicultural Is Not a Luxury: A Strategy for Teaching and Learning in a Racist Society


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Being Multicultural Is Not A Luxury

A Strategy for Teaching and Learning in a Racist Society


Ethnic Studies Northern Arizona University


The experience of growing up Afro-Latino in the 1960s reminds me that being multicultural is not a luxury—even today, in the “twenty-tens” and the post–Civil Rights era of inclusion, diversity, and equity. In the classroom, as in the larger society, however, the racial and cultural dynamics of exclusion and division remain. Students, faculty, and staff still use simplistic racial dichotomies to instruct and mentor learners; too often, students are urged to ignore their racial and cultural heritages to support a fictive, colorblind environment in which everyone is supposedly equal. However, when I was growing up, I learned the value of celebrating dual heritages of being Black and Latino, as demonstrated in the following dialogue between my mother and me.

I was a 20-something graduate student, visiting my parents in San Diego, California, for Christmas break in the mid-1980s. I was fastening a button featuring the image of Harriet Tubman, outlined by the slogan “Black History Is My History” on my denim jacket, and stepped into the kitchen to cook breakfast. My mother, who was watching television, scanned my jacket and scoffed: “You have another history, from Guatemala, you know?” I began to respond that “Black history is everyone’s history,...

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