As the first man found his way to the trunk, he stroked the beast, calming and reassuring it that they meant no harm. The others eventually found the animal, and they spent most of the afternoon stroking and feeling the pachyderm in order to determine just what an elephant is, and to build a clear image in their own minds.
As the sun began to set, the animal meandered off, leaving the men to discuss their experience. The four were each excited, and burst into chatter as they found their way back to the path which led to their village.
"What a majestic beast the elephant is," said the first. "An elephant is like a large tree, strong and unbending; only with skin hard and strong rather than rough bark." This man had been holding the elephant's leg, and could only visualize the creature in terms he could compare to a familiar object.
"A tree, did you get lost in the forest again" asked the second. "An elephant isn't like a tree. It is long, and winding. An elephant has many rumples up and down its back, and when it breaths, the moist air is like a windstorm." This man had been grasping the elephant's trunk, and he was sure that his encounter with the beast was the correct one.
The other two added to the argu...
The fourth had encountered snakes before, and this elephant was no more impressive than these.
The four men became so heated in their debate, defending their own positions rather than listening to the others that their conversation ended in stony silence. Eventually, as they came across different paths in the jungle the men separated. Each decided that he could better experience the jungle by themselves than to continue company with a group of blind and ignorant men. Sadly to say, none of the men made it out of the jungle alive. Blind and alone, they made easy prey to the land's natural predators.
This fable is an accurate illustration of the current multicultural debate. The parties debate who social order should be arrayed as a result of a multicultural mindset. The factions fight over verbiage, stereotypes, and even the purpose of educational, political and social order in order to defend their own perspective. While each faction has its own piece of accurate truth, the idea of creating a culture together is quickly becoming lost in the disagreement. As a result, our culture is more at risk of loosing the strength and protective power it once had when all our citizens were working for a common good, for a common goal, for a strong and prosperous economic and social structure which provided opportunity for all its citizens.
Defining the elephant
Harrison gives this rather vague definition. "Multiculturalism...is a theory (albeit vague) about the foundations of a culture rather than a practice which subsumes cultural ideas." (Harrison, 1984) His input is about as helpful as asking directions from one of the proverbial blind men. But the idea is that a multicultural mindset is one which recognizes, and even promotes the