ABSTRACT

If I am right, then it is imperative that defenders of radical pedagogy distinguish their embrace of particular moral/political theses from untenable, allegedly related, epistemological ones. They must reject the latter for two reasons: first, the epistemological theses are false or unjustified; second, failure to reject them undermines any argumentative effort to defend the former. In particular, the relativistic thesis that epistemologies are culturally specific-and the related view that respecting members of marginalized cultures requires accepting, or regarding as a legitimate alternative to one's own, their culturally specific alternative epistemologies-must be rejected. The theses that alternative epistemologies are equally legitimate; that respecting marginalized cultures requires regarding their culturally specific epistemologies as equally legitimate to our own; and that a particular one-Western, Modernist, Enlightenment epistemology-is itself implicated in real cases of hegemony, marginalization, and cultural imperialism, and therefore must be rejected as a philosophically inadequate epistemology-are theses which are profoundly mistaken. Much of what follows will be concerned to highlight their defi-

THE MORAL CASE AGAINST MARGINALIZATION

Our multiculturalist initiatives in education should be principally concerned with exposing and criticizing images and terms that stunt possibilities for self-definition, particularly for members of cultures that already suffer from a history of discrimination. These initiatives should strive to replace such images and terms with more promising ones that can evoke the potential for growth and achievement in all. Such an education could thus help prevent the seeds of monocultural domination from taking root in our diverse youth. (Arcilla [1995], p. 165)5

EPISTEMIC "MONOCULTURAL DOMINATION"?