Introduction: Arguments for and against multiculturalism
Multiculturalism can be defined as distinct and pertaining to a multifaceted society which is fueled by constant globalization. Environments within a country are constantly embracing change so as to be able to adapt and function in today’s globalized world.
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The seventies heralded multiculturalism in Canada and Australia where key government policies were based on the importance of acknowledging the diverse identities of the citizens so as to be able to effectively manage ethnic pluralism. Identity on a national level is a keystone theme of multiculturalism all around the world and is more often than not interrelated with citizenship. This relationship is fostered along ethnic, social and religious lines.
Furthermore Canadian regard of multiculturalism is as a result of the immigrant communities that greatly influence its culture. Canada’s policies on immigration greatly enhance multiculturalism due to its capability to accommodate the three main groups (the indigenous, early European settlers, and modern day immigrants) that make its population and are able to live I harmony.
Another underlying theme of multiculturalism at play is societal integration which tries to consider the involvement of immigrants in government policies.
This is seen as a solution in answering wide ranging political, social, economical and educational changes brought about by diverse dynamics such as; race, class, historical injustices, gender, and in some cases sexual preferences; that influence the societal cultural setup within the country. This theme brought about a realization that the minorities within a particular multicultural setting are beset with a responsibility of assimilating into the mainstream and not the other way round.
Proponents of multiculturalism argue that it can and is able to solve the myriad problems affecting the country by giving people an avenue to articulate themselves and share their concerns while feeling that they belonged to a certain society. To them multiculturalism is as a result of a mix of different factors and that culture cannot be based or defined on just one race, gender, religion or social status to from a society.
Spatial dimension to the debate
On the other hand, critics of multiculturalism argue that instead of it fostering unity, it brings about a disintegration of the society. They argue that multiculturalism is mainly a government led project especially when it is time for general elections. They hold it responsible for political segregation, legitimizing moral relativism and victimization of minorities and as a result creating expectations of entitlement and special treatment.
Does your country’s support of multiculturalism have a significant impact on its international relations?
The various stands on multiculturalism are also evident with the shifting of alliances when government officials in urban areas and change their stand when visiting the countryside. When it comes to international relations, the government wants to appear as an embracer of multiculturalism whereby all races, sexes, religions and classes are incorporated in its policy and decision making.
This is usually a ploy to be in good standing with the international community to either avert looming sanctions, or obtain an advantage when it comes to aid or help from countries that have embraced multiculturalism.
Setting the record straight on this issue is quite a task. This is due to the fact that critics of it have entrenched in themselves the belief that the government is solely to blame and any proposal of securing support for it and the generation of policies based on it is firmly a no go zone.
On the other hand, it can be argued that its critics use the government as a scapegoat to try and discredit the notion of multiculturalism within the society. Multiculturalism is harassed and troubled constantly by voices blaming it for heightening social division, and undermining national identity.
Multiculturalism is neither bad nor perfect but it has brought out a perception and possibly will change to a better way of social integration and move away from assimilation.