Teaching about Human Rights: Female Genital Mutilation in America

James R Moore

Abstract


Teaching about Human Rights: Female Genital Mutilation in America
Abstract
Increasing immigration from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East has enhanced cultural diversity in the United States. The wide array of foods, languages, customs, and unique historical experiences associated with immigration have contributed to the political, social, and economic fabric of a multicultural democracy. However, immigrants may also bring certain cultural practices which violate American constitutional law and various state laws. Moreover, these practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), are incompatible with American ideals of equality, social justice, and human rights. Recent research indicates that an increasing number of girls and women in the United States have undergone or are at risk for various forms of FGM. This practice is also a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed by the United States in 1948. This article will describe the nature, causes, and consequences of FGM on girls and women and articulate social studies activities and methods that teachers can use to inform secondary students about this human rights issue. This may stimulate student activism, a major goal in social studies. Furthermore, the article will describe the legal and professional responsibilities teachers must take if they have students at risk of FGM in their classes.

Keywords


Key Words: Human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, female genital mutilation, constitution, equality

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