Literature Review - Multicultural Perceptions

When we consider multicultural barriers, we must endeavour to see that many of these barriers are due to the perceptions of multicultural practices and even to go so far as to say that these perceptions can themselves be, or at the very least lead to barriers. One such belief is that culture has been overly focused on to the detriment of other needs (Benders, 2010). Benders states in his literature analysis that the issue is that we overstate the need for diversity acceptance in education and are fundamentally under prepared to incorporate the levels of diversity needed in our instructional design. This is in direct contrast to the beliefs of Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot and of Guirdham. 

Yet if we consider the work of Whitfield, Klug and Whitney where there was a lack of willingness to cater to each individual could be because of a lack of preparation towards the needs of the teacher. Benders’ paper indicated that an effort to infuse the system with sensitivity for cultural diversity needs to begin with teacher education. He states that in order to overcome some of the achievement gaps that we must concern ourselves with individuals rather than classes or content. The perception being that the greatest barrier we face in the multicultural scenario is our lack of understanding of it.

The work of Benders is further substantiated by that of Blumenfeld who notes the general lack of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the inclusion of planning towards multicultural planning (Blumenfeld, 2010). That is not to say an individual from and LGBT culture would need special attention, but rather that individuals from a culture without an LGBT culture could possibly introduce an element of heterosexism/homophobia/biphobia/transphobia to the learning environment. The primary argument put forward by multiple papers and discussed in Blumenfeld’s study is does LGBT have a place in the concept of multiculturalism, the tendency would appear to be to think of it as something more exclusive, than have it under the mantle of multiculturalism. Blumenfeld believes that the only way to overcome bigotry and stereotyping is to allow for full inclusion of LGBT issues under the umbrella of multiculturalism. Which brings about a perception that is yet to be considered, what do people not consider to be a culture?