What studies Intergroup Relations?

Of course the committee cannot come to any decisive conclusions. In a vibrant marketplace of ideas, its difficult to reach any.

Maybe we are looking for a larger consensus. But as I see it, in a democracy, any consensus is usually not reflective of the genius, rather indicative of a timely compromise.

On the brighter sides, with Ratnesh, Craig, and Gloria, the evenings are extremely memorable.

For the day, it was not without its own news (remember the maxim: no news is good news). Well the current debate is surrounding the curriculum. I am part of this eight-member committee here discussing what should stay, what should go and what should be added. Well, I don’t know what the results will be, but here was one compelling suggestion: if we are doing a diversity course, then why are we not including the conservative voices in the texts. Are folks not already criticizing us for the liberal bias?

I vehemently objected, of course to this thoughtful suggestion. While I respect the members’ wisdom, my argument is this: have we not always studied conservative readings anyway? How else did we know that George Washington was the most truthful human ever produced—I studied it even in India and here in US, I heard about the book on all the lies the history teacher told.

Moreover, is the idea about diversity studies not itself a political one? The notion that instead of “teaching”, one got to “facilitate”; the idea that students, and not faculty decide the flow of the theme; the picture around dialogic discourse than imposing instruction: are these not all progressively political?

Well, to be frank, even I do not know. I am sure these are political issues. But I am unsure of the flow as of now. What happens when folks include conservative literature to “balance” and with the predominant conservative population in the campuses, the texts then become “theirs” (remember the way “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, Vivekananda and Bhagat Singh were converted into rightist propaganda materials in India)?

I wont be surprised. If multiculturalism is not meant to pacify and if pacification is not one way of spiritual forgiveness, then what it is. And I am not scared of the peace, for the records. I am scared of the murder of the peace. Because for a war-mongering capitalism to survive, the peace needs to become the covert casualty. But like democratic illusory manner, it needs to be swiftly dealt with. Unless the informed people think that the “dictatorship” is here and demanding their proletariat participation!

Historically, its been “we give and show, you take and see” approach. Freedom is not inherent in four-fifth of the world. It has been historically granted.

The salad bowl is now on the offing. And the Melting pot was too hot. The future looks interesting. And disturbing.

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

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