Schlesinger on Multiculturalism: Complex Question, Simplistic Response

Nancy L. Maeker

Article Type: Face to Face

Publication Date: 4/1/1993

Paired Article (Face to Face): Schlesinger on Multiculturalism: Right Issue, Wrong Book

Issue: Literature (Vol. 13, No 2, Spring, 1993)

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society raises a legitimate concern for all who care about this nation: how to balance both diversity and unity without sacrificing either. He argues that the common Anglo-Saxon American identity is being threatened by the “cult of ethnicity” (119). My question is simply: Has there ever been an American culture? My answer: Yes, there has been a dominant culture, in which Schlesinger participates and therefore grieves in the face of possible change; but, no, the United States has never had one unifying culture.

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