Noam Chomsky’s Critical Intervention- Foreword by Peter McLaren- Afterword by Pepi Leistyna
4 Democracy and Language Rights of Minority Groups
Democracy and Language Rights of Minority Groups F o u r is democracy possible in a country where minority languages and cultures have been pushed to the margins, where citizens are merely spectators of educational, socioeconomic, and political decision-making processes affecting their lives, and where workers have been grossly exploited? This chapter aims to explore these questions . To this end, I begin by briefly reviewing major tenets of democracy as related to schooling . To further examine these tenets, I use excerpts of a dialogue in which I engaged Noam Chomsky about democracy and schooling . This dia- logue is situated within the contemporary U .S . educational and neoliberal con- text, including the No Child Left Behind legislation . I go on to explore linguistic discrimination of minority students, including bilingual students, and how these students have faced barriers in schools and in society at large . I conclude this chapter by making an appeal for linguistic and cultural pluralism as a sine qua non for living in a participatory form of democracy . Democracy: Whose Definition and Whose Interests Does It Serve? It is important to note upfront that concepts such as economic democracy, eco- logical democracy, and democracy in the social realm, which are important aspects of direct democracy, are beyond the scope of this chapter . Broadly conceived, the concept of democracy has been at the center of many political debates and can be traced back as far as the time of Plato . This concept occupied a central role in Orelus.indd 53 11/12/13...
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