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Motivating People from Privileged Groups to Support Social Justice


by Diane J. Goodman — 2000

One of the more challenging aspects of multicultural education is engaging people from dominant social groups (e.g., men, whites, heterosexuals) in promoting equity. This article presents a theoretical perspective for understanding what may motivate people from privileged groups to support diversity and social justice. The three main sources of motivation discussed are empathy, moral and spiritual values, and self-interest. The complexities and limitations of each are considered. A model is also proposed that broadens the conception of self-interest. Educational strategies are suggested to address these different sources of motivation. By better understanding what motivates someone to support diversity and equity, educators can more intentionally choose approaches that will engage individuals, and thus more effectively promote personal and institutional change.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 102 Number 6, 2000, p. 1061-1085
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10702, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 12:34:49 PM

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About the Author
  • Diane Goodman
    State University of New York at New Paltz
    E-mail Author
    DIANE J. GOODMAN is an Assistant Professor of Humanistic/Multicultural Education at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is also a trainer and consultant on diversity and human relations issues. She is the author of Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People from Privileged Groups (Sage Publications, forthcoming, 2001).
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