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By Becky Thompson

Past A Dream Deferred: Multicultural schooling and the Politics of Excellence

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Although according to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 the people were promised citizenship and the right to retain their languages and cultures, these commitments have been honored mainly in the breach. Later arrivals from Mexico have often been branded wetbacks and illegal aliens, seldom welcomed as legitimate immigrants. " Their distant connection with Catholic Spain and more recent connection with chaotic, Spanish-speaking Latin America (notably Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean) render them problematic for purposes of racial classification.

At the crux of the fierce debate between multiculturalists and triumphalists is the meaning of America: who are we, who belongs, who determines, who controls, whose values prevail, in whose image shall the country be made? Are we a civilization in decline because we cannot agree at this point on "national culture," or are we at an exciting crossroads, engaged in lively debate about our national future? Multiculturalism is about rethinking America. Notes 1. For a discussion of the historical and historiographical, political, methodological, and other relationships between area studies and ethnic studies (specifically Asian-American studies), see the articles by Shirley Hune, Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Gary Y.

Evan Carton, "The Self Besieged: American Identity on Campus and in the Gulf," Tikkun 6, no. 4 (1991): 40-47. 14. Henry Giroux, "Education Reform in the Age of George Bush," Phi Delta Kappan, May 1989: 728, 730. 15. Gerald David Jaynes, "Only Blacks Need Apply: African American Studies and Intellectual Diversity in American Colleges," Reconstruction 1, no. 3 (1991): 65-67. 16. , 67. 17. Pam Nadasen, "United We Stand," Women's Review of Books 9, no. 5 (February 1992): 31. 18. See, for example, Manning Marable, The Crisis of Color and Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage, 1992); Mari Matsuda, "Affirmative Action and Legal Knowledge: Planting Seeds in Plowed-Up Ground," Harvard Women's Law Journal 11 (1988): 1-17; Patricia J.

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