There is Nothing Wrong with Multiculturalism
by isabelbarroso on May 4, 2016 - 9:12pm
Nowadays, multiculturalism is becoming inevitable with globalization, economic crisis war and immigration. Every democratic society should treat all its members equally. But how far do they go in order to recognize all the cultural specificities, their differences and letting their identity express themselves and flourish? All cultures cherish their identities (religious, political, cultural etc.) and want to preserve them. The question of how societies should manage the cultural ethnic, racial and linguistic differences stays a fierce and tumultuous debate. Is it possible to manage diversity in multicultural societies? Are there any rules to follow in order to obtain a perfect plural society? An educational and political effort would be the two perfect keys to obtaining a cohesive multicultural society.
I previously did others news summaries or post about this subject. Different opinions, testimonials and thoughts about it made me forge my opinion in order to write this post.
First of all, in order to understand, it is important first to acknowledge that there is a problem and comprehend what multiculturalism means. Basically multiculturalism is “a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an society, acknowledges and values their socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization of society”
Multicultural concerns are covering issues such as sexual orientation, religion, culture or ethnicity. People can be victims of discrimination and negative stereotyping. It can also create fear, closing identities and racism. Local people are afraid that their culture, language or way of living will be shattered or threatened. There are two approaches to the management of these differences; an assimilationist model and a pluralist model. On one side, assimilation is based on the need to respect common principles. Everyone is sharing the same principles in order to consolidate in society and have a cohesive community. Pluralism will keep the individual identities of each and every group, ethnicity, and culture within a given society keeping separate their social disparity. Even if those models are proposing effective systems to manage diversity, there are still a growing number of problems with cohesion, immigration and integration. There are indeed solutions to combine social cohesion and cultural diversity. An interculturalist model of socio-cultural incorporation that combines social cohesion with cultural diversity would be the basic start for achieving this goal.
Being able to achieve a cohesive multicultural society starts in educational and public institutions. Societies where multiculturalism fails are the ones who impose a common national ideology that everyone is obligated to follow in their early ages. Schools, hospitals and all public places involve some work for every citizen into living in harmony with people with diverse ideologies, backgrounds interest and religions. Teaching and develop self-understanding in order to recognize the value of each race is essential. Each government has to recognize and teach their citizens the value of every single ethnic groups within its people. They also have to preserve their identity and culture. Ensure both unity and diversity.
Easier said than done! Since we now have no choice but to reflect on the fact that our borders are busier than ever, as previously mentioned, we are facing, some countries more than others, the dilemma and responsibility to come up with a way to realistically co-exist in a multicultural society.
The first and logical thing to do would be to educate people. Both sides should have the opportunity to learn about the other group without prejudice, apprehension or tension. If they will be co-habiting in the same society, they should know about one another. Assuming that "what you know does not frighten you", it would remove a wide range of hostility between the parties. Learning the primary language of the country where he or she will live is key to any immigrant's integration.
Having said that, it would have to start with the educational system which would allow the kids to grow up feeling absolutely confident of living in a melting pot society without remotely loosing their individual cultural identity that comes from their parents and their country of origin.
Employers are also a big part of integration. They must have plans and should work together with the government to provide training and other opportunities for immigrants. Of course these solutions and means are often customized to their specific needs and targeted for a specific culture. The labor market integration depends on giving the chance to cope with individual life changes while making sure the surrounding society develops, progresses and responds to changes in its population.
Finding the right policies for all cultural groups in order to achieve and to manage diversity in multicultural societies is often a challenging task. The leaders are faced with consolidating immigration and integration policies. One has to complete the other otherwise they will end up being ineffective and unrealistic for a society with much diversity. The government has to deal with several subjects and realities to be able to make a decision on policies to be
applied. Among those realities and facts of life are: religious diversities, racism and discrimination, integration in the labor market, security, vulnerable groups (women, children, seniors) etc.
The government has to make it a duty and see a priority to bring tools, programs and public services to facilitate the integration of migrants and support their communities if we want to brake the barriers between us all and to achieve a real, common, peaceful and diversified multicultural society.
A solution also within ourselves?
There must be acceptance from all parties, ourselves: natives and immigrant residents and their descent by being more tolerant and by agreeing to live among this diversity of colors, religions and cultures. Native residents of a country are often afraid, sometimes with good reason, of losing their own identity in the long run. That is why a mutual respect is crucial and essential.
Diversity in a multiculturalist society is a privilege and an immense advantage for a country. If everyone puts a little effort, there will be no problems linked to living in such societies. Let us come up with the right tools for its success.
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