Diversity, despite what we say, disturbs us. In the U.S., we debate linguistic rights, the need for an official language, and educational policies for language minority students. On the one hand, we believe in the rights of individuals, including (at least in the academy) the right to one’s own language. On the other hand, we sponsor a single common language, monolingual and standard, for full participation and communication in both the academy and in U.S. society.
In Diverse by Design, Christopher Schroeder reports on an institutional case study conducted at an officially designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. He gives particular attention to a cohort of Latino students in a special admissions program, to document their experience of a program designed to help students surmount the “obstacle” that ethnolinguistic diversity is perceived to be.
Ultimately, Schroeder argues for reframing multilingualism and multiculturalism, not as obstacles, but as intellectual resources to exploit. While diversity might disturb us, we can overcome its challenges by a more expansive sense of social identity. In an increasingly globalized society, literacy ideologies are ever more critical to educational equity, and to human lives.