Multiculturalism

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What does cultural pluralism signify in the absence of economic pluralism? … The economic structure of society—call it advanced industrial society or capitalism or the market economy—stands as the invariant; few can imagine a different economic project. The silent agreement says much about multiculturalism. No divergent political or economic vision animates cultural diversity. From the most militant Afrocentrism to the most ardent feminists, all quarters subscribe to very similar beliefs about work, equality and success. The secret of cultural diversity is its political and economic uniformity. ~ Russell Jacoby

Multiculturalism refers to communities containing multiple cultures. As a descriptive term, it is generally applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place or organization. As a normative term, it refers to ideologies or policies that promote this diversity or its institutionalisation.

Quotes[edit]

  • What does cultural pluralism signify in the absence of economic pluralism? Perhaps the question seems meaningless. Yet the apparent lack of meaning signals the intellectual retreat. The economic structure of society—call it advanced industrial society or capitalism or the market economy—stands as the invariant; few can imagine a different economic project. The silent agreement says much about multiculturalism. No divergent political or economic vision animates cultural diversity. From the most militant Afrocentrism to the most ardent feminists, all quarters subscribe to very similar beliefs about work, equality and success. The secret of cultural diversity is its political and economic uniformity. The future looks like the present with more options. Multiculturalism spells the demise of utopia.
  • Endless discussions of multiculturalism proceed from the unsubstantiated assumption that numerous distinct “cultures” constitute American society. Only a few historians or observers even consider the possibility that the opposite may be true: that the world and the United States are relentlessly becoming more culturally uniform, not diverse. … No group is able, and few are willing, to stand up to the potent homogenizing forces of advanced industrial society. All Americans, from African Americans to Greek Americans, buy the same goods, look at the same movies and television, pursue the same activities and have—more or less—the same desires for success. … Multiculturalism is not the opposite of assimilation, but its product.

Support[edit]

  • Contrary to all those who think that the time to speak of multiculturalism is over, I think it is most timely and necessary, and that we need more not less. ... For multiculturalism is a form of integration. It is the form of integration that best meets the normative implications of equal citizenship and under our present post-9/11, post-7/7 circumstances stands the best chance of succeeding. Moreover, contrary to the claims of its critics (and sometimes of its advocates), the key trends and developments are broadly consistent with a moderate, pragmatic yet, inevitably, uneven multiculturalism.
  • Multiculturalism is about the proper terms of relationship between different cultural communities. The norms governing their respective claims, including the principles of justice, cannot be derived from one culture alone but through an open and equal dialogue between them.
    • Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (2000), p. 13
  • Multiculturalism is not about safeguarding self-contained ethnic and cultural boxes but rather about intercultural fusion in which a culture freely borrows bits of others and creatively transforms both itself and them. Far from implying that each individual should remain rooted in his or her own culture and flit between them, multiculturalism requires that they should open themselves up to the influence of others and engage in a reflective and sometimes life enhancing dialogue with others. Multiculturalism is not ghettoisation but a form of universalism, and represents one of the highest expressions of human freedom and self-creation.
  • In its simplest, most basic context, multiculturalism is the name for an approach that shows us another way of using knowledge to understand ideas and events. Most often a multicultural approach uses several disciplines to highlight neglected aspects of our social history, particularly the histories of women and minorities. Concepts of race, class, culture, gender, and ethnicity are the driving themes of a multicultural approach, which also promotes respect for the dignity of the lives and voices of the forgotten.
    • C. James Trotman, Multiculturalism: Roots and Realities (2002), p. ix
  • By closing gaps, by raising consciousness about the past, multiculturalism tries to restore a sense of wholeness in a postmodern era that fragments human life and thought.
    • C. James Trotman, Multiculturalism: Roots and Realities (2002), p. ix

Opposition[edit]

  • Multiculturalism in Europe is dead in the water, as every recent election has shown. Even the politicians are admitting it now. Some people cling to the illusion of it still, the way the Soviets clung to the illusion of Communism, but it’s over, and these show trials and violent street attacks are symptoms of its death throes. They’re the desperate acts of desperate people who’ve totally lost their way. Criminalizing opinion is an open admission that lawmakers have lost control, and created a situation they can’t handle. But that’s what happens when the people are never asked for their opinion, and, when they give it, it’s ignored.
  • Indeed, we’ve encouraged it by fostering separatism and ghettoization in the guise of our old friend, Multiculturalism. And as a consequence, Islamic violence against women and girls is an ugly reality in Europe. And for anyone to use the law to try and suppress discussion of it is not enlightened or tolerant or liberal. It’s shameful and stupid and cowardly and unforgivable.
  • If you try to discuss multiculturalism in the UK you're labelled a racist. But here we're still free to talk, and I say multicultural society doesn't work. We're not living closer, we're living apart.
  • I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist but, if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country.
    • Pauline Hanson (1996) Maiden Speech for Australian House of Representatives Hansard for 10 September 1996
  • The dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.
  • The values of Western civilization are not just different, they're better. OK? I know a whole generation has been raised on the notion of multiculturalism, that all civilizations are just different. No! Not always, some times things are better! Rule of law is better than autocracy and theocracy. Equality of the sexes, better. Protection of minorities, better. Free speech, better. Free elections, better.
    • Bill Maher, Victory Begins at Home (20 January 2004)
  • The great thing about multiculturalism is it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures - the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It's fundamentally a fraud, and I think was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: The multiculturalist Left is facilitating islamization. Leftist multiculturalists are cheering for every new shariah bank, for every new islamic school, for every new mosque. Multiculturalists consider Islam as being equal to our own culture. Shariah law or democracy? Islam or freedom? It doesn't really matter to them. But it does matter to us. The entire leftist elite is guilty of practising cultural relativism. Universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians. They are all betraying our hard-won liberties.
  • I believe that the biggest disease in Europe today is called cultural relativism. And I want to fight with all my life this misconception by politically correct, often liberal and leftist politicians, who invented the multicultural society, that all cultures are equal. ... I am proud to say that our culture – that is based on Christianity, on Judaism, on Humanism – is not only better, far better, than what I see as a barbaric Islamic culture, and that we should fight to preserve it for our children.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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