Multicultural / Diversity Internet Resources

by Judith Maginnis Kuster - Mankato State University (kuster@mnsu.edu).

For someone like me living in New Ulm, Minnesota, named by the National Geographic Society "the city of least ethnic diversity" in the United States (New Ulm Journal September 2, 1988), exploring diversity issues may not at first appear important. However, many smaller communities in south-central Minnesota have experienced astounding demographic changes over the past ten years. Within a few miles of New Ulm, in Madelia the elementary school is 30 percent Hispanic, 20 percent of the population of St. James is Hispanic and over 7 percent of Mountain Lake is Laotian (Amato, J. A., 1996, To Call It Home: The New Immigrants of Southwestern Minnesota, Marshall, MN: Crossings Press).

These changes are occurring not only in rural Minnesota. USA Today's 1994 analysis of census data predicted that by 2020, the percent of the population expected to be Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American in Washington D.C. will be 72.6%, in New Mexico 67.8%, in Hawaii 64.6%, in California 62.3% and in Texas 53.9%.

The Internet provides numerous resources for learning how multicultural and diversity issues impact us both individually and professionally

  • A good place to start exploring is ASHA's web page where the Multicultural Issues Board has assembled a series of factsheets containing information and bibliographies, including:

  • Also on the ASHA site are Minority/Bilingual Emphasis Programs and Historically Black Institutions which may be of interest to students and faculty.

  • The SID 14 (Special Interest Division - Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations) Web page includes their mission statement and goals, along with a link to the SID 14 Newsletter put online by the principal editor, Alejandro Brice, who also maintains a web page of significant links to cultural diversity/multilingual issues

  • Multicultural Communication Sciences and Disorders was developed by Elizabeth Pena and Thomas Marquardt with a grant from ASHA, to facilitate publication and review of research, provide information about diagnosis and intervention, maintain reference lists on multiculural research and information on grant opportunities, provide an interactive forum to discuss multicultural issues, and provide information on university programs focusing on mulicultural isses and for consumers about organizations, disorders and treatment providers.

  • The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education for Cultural Diversity contains information (Digests) on functional language instruction for linguistically different students with moderate to severe disabilities, communicating with culturally diverse parents, bilingual special education and more. These Digests are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced.

  • The Internet provides information about topics that are not yet discussed in text books. Recently several ASHA members were interviewed by the media about Ebonics (African American Vernacular English). A synopsis of the Oakland Unified School District's adopted policy on Standard American English Language Development is available as are a series of newspaper articles and the January 3, 1997, Linguistic Society of America's unanimously adopted Resolution On The Oakland "Ebonics" Issue

    Sometimes information linking multicultural issues and disability appears in unexpected places. For example:

    Bilingual education resources provide information on linguistically and culturally diverse learners.

    There are also discussion forums specific to multicultural issues, including:

    To explore diversity issues beyond ethnicity and culture, including disability, gender, sexuality, and religion a good starting place is Rob Kabacoff's Resources for Diversity. Deaf Culture on the Net highlights the culture of the Deaf community. Deaf Culture and ASL by Michael Sattler offers a "hearing person's perspective on Deaf culture and using American Sign Language."


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    The above information was combined, updated, and adapted from:
    Kuster, JM, Multicultural/Diversity Internet Resources, ASHA , April, 1997 p. 46