Multicultural Educator vs. Anti-Racism Facilitator


Current Issues

What is the difference between a multicultural educator and an anti-racism facilitator?

Although a multicultural educator may teach from an anti-racism perspective, they often teach about cultural diversity in the context of surface culture (Click here to learn about the Cultural Iceberg Model—diagram on p. 3). Surface culture includes cultural holidays, celebrations, dance, food, and dress; indeed, these things often bring us together. This is what Bolgatz refers to as the "heroes and holidays approach" (2005).

Inherent Problems

  1. Although multicultural programs and education expose students to difference, they are superficial differences.

  2. The multicultural approach promotes stereotypes and isolates racialized students because their racial group is not part of the everyday curriculum, but rather portrayed in a specific, isolated way (Bolgatz, 2005).

  3. Within the multicultural approach, white culture is typically not viewed as being "different," therefore, white students are encouraged to perceive themselves as the norm.

  4. The multicultural approach does not take into account the implications of race and culture on students' lived experiences. This leaves students unable to articulate a sense of something being wrong, and/or not feeling safe to talk about their experiences on a deeper level.

See our Facilitators' Stories section for the following related anecdotes: Multicultural Educator vs. Anti-Racism Facilitator and ConflictMulticultural Educator vs. Anti-Racism Facilitator (1) and Multicultural Educator vs. Anti-Racism Facilitator (2).  

See our section What is an Anti-Racism Facilitator?