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Cultural Bias and Education

Recent trends in multiculturalism notwithstanding, education in the United States remains culturally biased, which leads to bias in curriculum and in school testing. Most approaches to multiculturalism merely involve adding on discussions of marginalized racial and ethnic groups to the chiefly Eurocentric point of view. Even well-meaning educators fail to eliminate cultural bias in the classroom, which often results in negative educational outcomes for African-American youth.

Culture plays a role in the ability of students to understand curriculum materials and therefore score well on tests. Information may be unknowingly presented in the classroom that is so culturally biased minority students unconsciously or consciously reject it. Rose Mary Scott gives an example of a book about Native Americans (written by a non-Native American) assigned to a class of preservice teachers to read. The class believed that the book was well-written and accurate, until the instructor made them aware of a critique of the text which pointed out gross inaccuracies. This experience illustrates a daily occurrence in African-American classrooms throughout the country: "Minority students, among other things, are asked to relate to material that is not produced in their community or culture, is not presented from their perspective, and tends to ignore their existence" (Scott 115). When minority students are tested on material that they consciously or unconsciously reject as false, it is not surprising that they fail to achieve as high scores as students from mainstream cultures who perceive the same culturally biased material as accurate.

Most curriculum materials marginalize the impact of systematic racial discrimination on society. A mainstream viewpoint prevails, which characterizes different groups as "haves" or "have-nots," with the haves exhibiting subtle traits of cultural superiority that justify their dominance: "White people in gen...

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Cultural Bias and Education. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 13:39, September 18, 2014, from