Ethnic studies is a rather strange field. In the first place, it is not a “field” in the traditional sense of other academic disciplines, but rather it seeks to include any and all disciplines. Second, it deals with people, and as our colleagues in the so-called “behavioral sciences” have discovered, people are perhaps the most unpredictable of all living things to study, thus the problems are many. Third, many of the subjects which we in ethnic studies have chosen to research, by the very nature of the fact that we deal with ethnic minorities, have tended to strike others not in a rational, objective manner, but in a purely emotional manner. For example, the word history does not usually cause any reaction in most people. However, the addition of black, female, Mexican American, or Native American to history immediately causes almost everyone to have an opinion on the subject, and normally retiscent [reticent] individuals now find themselves compelled to voice this opinion.

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