multiculti (1990)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Dec 31 07:34:50 UTC 2004

On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 02:12:56 -0500, I wrote:

>The OED3 entry for "multiculti" gives a first cite of 1989 from Don
>Cherry's _Multikulti_ album, with cites for the "multiculti" spelling
>beginning in 1991.  Here is a 1990 cite via JSTOR:
>1990 _Oxford Review of Education_ 16 260 Although concerned teachers were
>aware of the political dimension of racism before the riots they made the
>multiculti [sic] approach, the "what's it got to do with politics" type of
>The "[sic]" appears in the text of the article ("Anti-Racism as a Radical
>Educational Ideology in London and Tyneside" by Alastair Bonnett).
>Bonnett is quoting a member of All London Teachers Against Racism and
>Fascism (ALTARF).
>Interesting that the term was already in use in the UK at the time, even
>if the article's author disowned it with the "[sic]".  (Then again, Don
>Cherry and his "Multikulti" band undoubtedly had more fans in London and
>other European cities than in the US.)

Or perhaps "multi(k~c)ulti" reached both Don Cherry and the London teacher
via a common European source, possibly from German.  I see references to a
1990 book by Claus Leggewie called _MultiKulti: Spielregeln f├╝r die
Vielv├Âlkerrepublik_ (Berlin: Rotbuch).  Anyone know how far back the term
dates in German?  I know that Don Cherry spent a lot of time in Europe,
and he could very well have picked up the term from German musicians.

--Ben Zimmer

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