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What are your thoughts on Multi-culturalism?

Jack212
Posts: 572
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2/18/2014 1:36:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/17/2014 10:35:27 PM, Zarroette wrote:
All comments are welcomed.

I like my neighbours how I like my coffee...

White.

...

Is that comment welcome?
Zarroette
Posts: 2,951
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2/18/2014 3:31:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/18/2014 1:36:00 AM, Jack212 wrote:
At 2/17/2014 10:35:27 PM, Zarroette wrote:
All comments are welcomed.

I like my neighbours how I like my coffee...

White.

...

Is that comment welcome?
rockwater
Posts: 273
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2/18/2014 4:35:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Multiculturalism is more of a debate topic in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand than it is in the US. So it probably should be defined for this discussion.

I would define multiculturalism as the belief that when people from different cultures live together, especially when immigrants from many places move into a society, that every culture, including the native culture of the area, should retain their own traditions and coexist harmoniously. This is in contrast to the belief that immigrants should assimilate into the dominant culture of the society they move into. Multiculturalism does not mean that immigrants should not learn the language of where they move to or follow the laws of wherever they live.

Multiculturalism has been most controversial in education. In the US, for example, public schools in the late 1800s and early 1900s used to have a policy of "Americanization." This meant having immigrant children dress up as Pilgrims and Indians and Thanksgiving, Revolutionary War heroes, etc. The role models given to them in school lessons tended to be white, male, and Protestant. They were not taught about the culture or history of their native countries - they were instead taught American History and the history of Western Civilization (emphasizing how history was a story of progress leading to the creation of America, the best country in the world). There were no ESL classes and students in cities like NYC were forced to learn together with native students and were forbidden from using their native languages in class. Many aspects of US public education still resemble this, but the curriculum now includes US women's history, African American history, Hispanic American and Asian American History, in some cases LGBT American history, and world history. Students learn about different cultures and read the classics of other cultures' literature translated into English. This is not quite the same as multicultural education in Europe and other places. America still remains a highly assimilationist society and that might be one reason why the tensions here between immigrants and natives, while significant, is not as bad as in Europe.

In Germany, multicultural education has often meant that students learn math, science, and the home country's literature and history together but that the government also pays for a teacher to come in and teach the religion and values of each student's home culture to them: Catholics in one class, Protestants in another, Jews in another, Muslims in another, atheists/secularists and everyone else in another, etc. This means that students from cultures other than the host country often do not feel that they can or should identify as part of the society they live in, but rather as an outsider - proud of their own traditions, and not of what they share with everyone living in that society. People have linked this attitude to the growth of support for terrorism in Europe among young immigrants from the Islamic world.

Multiculturalism is a way that traditional societies not used to immigrants (like in Europe) can defend their own culture from having to change by having immigrants become part of it. Instead, the home culture exists separately alongside the immigrant cultures and the two do not mix. Not all advocates of multiculturalism want this to happen but this is what has often happened in practice.

In the US, though, the mainstream culture has evolved as many different groups have become absorbed into it. Both the immigrants and the mainstream culture change as different cultural streams join the mainstream.

That said, multiculturalism exists and has its critics, and assimilation exists and has its critics too in Europe and elsewhere. Conservative politicians in Europe are now calling for less multiculturalism and more assimilation.