Elian Gonzalez--abcnews.com story
SPILLENG at MAIL.LAW.UCLA.EDU
Tue Feb 8 11:43:21 PST 2000
I don't see what this has to do with "multiculturalism," a term which
generally seems to refer to the ways in which a given society (such as the
United States) responds to the reality of numerous peoples and cultures
being present within its borders. What the news story calls to mind is the
anthropological view concerning the relativity of cultural norms, which is a
pretty important event in twentieth-century thought and long predates the
debate over "multiculturalism." Whether we are obliged to be agnostic
concerning practices such as those described in the story, simply because
"that's the way they do things" (if in fact that is the case), is an
interesting question in its own right (my answer is no); but I don't think
it's a question of "multiculturalism," which has become a convenient
scapegoat for all sorts of lamentations about the decline of (certain)
UCLA School of Law
spilleng at mail.law.ucla.edu
Odd word errors may be caused by speech misrecognition or advancing
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scarberry, Mark [SMTP:mark.scarberry at PEPPERDINE.EDU]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 11:14 AM
> To: CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu
> Subject: Elian Gonzalez--abcnews.com story
> Apparently when Elian's grandmothers visited him, they engaged in some
> strange (at least from an American point of view) behavior. Does this
> anyone's mind about whether he should be sent back? Was this a kind of
> intimidation? Does multiculturalism require us to accept such conduct?
> if it had been grandfathers doing something similar to a girl (as Dennis
> Prager asked on his radio show)? Is that a fair comparison?
> Here is an excerpt from the abcnews.com story. (The full story is at
> http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/reuters20000203_3425.html . It is
> that the story has received little national media coverage.)
> Paternal grandmother Mariela Quintana, describing the meeting with Elian
> Cuban state television, said the boy was sad and timid at the start of
> meeting at the home of a Miami nun. Quintana said that in an effort to
> Elian to warm up to them, she teased by boy by biting his tongue and
> unzipped his pants to "see if it's grown."
> The episode raised no eyebrows among Cubans who watched the program
> Tuesday. In Cuba, mothers and grandmothers often tease their young sons
> grandsons in this fashion and such actions are considered normal gestures
> of endearment.
> But the clip from the program, shown on local television networks
> Wednesday, provoked a very different reaction in Miami ***
> Quintana's account of the incident came after the grandmothers were asked
> by a child psychologist on a Cuban television to describe how Elian
> up in their company.
> "We'd joked at the beginning about how he'd lost his tongue, so I got his
> tongue out of his mouth and I bit it, I started teasing him, I even
> his fly, I said, 'Let me look' ... at his parts ... 'Let's see if it's
> grown,' you know, teasing him to cheer him up. Because at that moment, we
> felt so much pain," Quintana said.
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