[email] The Mantra of Multiculturalism, two years later

Adelante! and cultural org leaders,

two and half years ago, leaders at orgs of students of color congregated and drafted The Mantra of Multiculturalism, a 13-point document delineating strategies to advocate for multiculturalism in the face of a hostile Macalester administration. Of course, this is my interpretation. Take a look at the document yourself:


I was just getting involved with Adelante!, so that meeting was quite confusing. Anyway, I received a copy of this thing, and have kept it in our folders since then. Back then this was supposed to be kept more or less secret. There have been more talks formally and informally around the campus on the subject, but since I’m not quite “in” all the subversiveness surrouding multiculturalism at Mac, I was left out and lost track of the ensuing conversation. I know part of the deal was getting Simone King in office and advancing various items in our agenda, which among other things resulted in the massive “harvest of students of color” (I’m quoting Dan Hornbach) for the 2004-05 year.

I’m about to graduate now, and I thought we should make this document public before I left, as this document by itself is undated, it’s quite contextless, and people won’t have a clue. So I ask around to see what people think of disclosing this, and no one remembers/knows about this. How the fuck does it turn out that a middle-class international (aka nonresident alien) student is the only person on campus recalling this?

i was going to email andré carrington’03, tawanda starkes’04, erik morales’04 and jessie buendia ’04/05 on this first, and met andre this weekend. He says, it should be ok disclosing it. So, there you go. I’m bcc’ing this email to all four of you – if you want to get into the conversation, you would need to do a reply-to-all, as other people don’t know your address and I’m not sure how busy you are.

Some objectives were reached, I think. More AMS courses, more SoC, in short, more money. At the same time, the condescending attitudes of administration surrouding multiculturalism has not changed much. Not so far ago as in November, an MCSG member argued that if PIPE is so small as to not meet minimum standards of an organization (10-15 members), it should be disbanded and maybe merged with other organizations (he suggested merging into Adelante!, referencing some recent collaborative activities between the two orgs), because it was not “efficient”. I tried to explain that cultural orgs are not CLUBS, but rather exist to spearhead identities otherwise repressed in a white campus, but obviously my fairminded friend did not get the point. I’m sure he’s not the only one. And it’s possibly not the only issue going on these days.

So, I want to suggest for an Adelante! meeting to evaluate the objectives pointed out in the Mantra, discuss future uses of this document, etc, from Adelante!’s perspective. What about using our February 27th meeting to do this, after the 20th’s Honduras presentation?

Or, we could also organize a multi-org meeting, but those things are tough to pull together, so I’m refraining from doing so. Anyone else who might feel the initiative, go ahead.

I’ve been a bit picky on the recipients of this email. I am sending this to those whom I personally consider strategic allies in the issue, and excluded Afrika!, CSA and MASECA out of, er, some unfounded concerns. I’m sending this to Sheenah Paul at MIO in the interest of some recent discussions on domestic/international multiculturalism. But you should forward this freely to anyone, as my worries are just mine.

These are interesting times. yongho kim



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