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It is arguable that one can view multiculturalism and racism as two sides of the same coin. This follows from the prevailing possibility of manipulating the two to achieve similar results, which include the marginalization of minority groups both economically and politically.
However, multiculturalism when viewed in the objective light is important to a cosmopolitan nation such as the United States. People can use it to fight such racist deeds as ethnic stereotyping and the coining of identity labels, which carry with them connotations that are in most cases negative. However, multiculturalism can also result to racism.
How multiculturalism contributes to racism
The premise that multiculturalism is based on seems to rely more on the view of a certain culture and individual’s relationship to that culture. However, this cannot hold true since cultures are not distinct and they seem to exist in a network of others. This is because of the rise of cultural hybridism.
In cases where systems such as class, religious beliefs, and political alignments and so on, define the lives of people, engaging in multicultural activities by upholding traditional practices of a certain aboriginal culture may not gain people’s seriousness, who takes it only as an exciting anthropological experiment.
In this case, the moment people engage themselves in efforts to define their own culture and cultural practices distinctively; they tend to form an aspect of the other on the opposing cultures, which can have serious results linked with racism. These include cultural intolerance and exploitation of the minority groups.
Multiculturalism and cultural intolerance
Multiculturalism aims at strengthening different cultures to ensure that members or people who share such culture become proud of themselves. However, this can breed trouble incases whereby some people take advantage of this to propagate adverse cultural practices some of which people consider violating with human rights. These might include such cultural practices that encourage forceful circumcision or even refuse people to access medical care when sick.
This creates a sense of being hardliners and the capability of harming others to defend such practices. For instance, when people engage themselves in the politics of identity and tend to align themselves to a certain cultural identity, they seem to disregard the other cultures and always view themselves in relation to the other culture. This can even result to cultural intolerance, which may have catastrophic repercussions.
Multiculturalism and racial discrimination
Multiculturalism results to the coining of identity labels that regard people as bound by a particular culture. However, people can manipulate it to deprive others of their basic rights or exploit them both politically and economically. This is in cases whereby certain people regard others as belonging to the minority groups, which define the handling of their welfare and grievances.
For instance, most organizations and institutions classify their employees as belonging to different cultural identities, which relate to the way of handling their grudges and social welfare issues. One can regard this as discrimination since he/she can handle the needs of a certain social class that the workers belong to without paying attention to what cultural identities they bear.
For instance, in cases of pay increment demands raised by workers, institutions and organizations that have classified the workers in such cultural identities with the motive of promoting cultural diversity may experience problems especially when most of the pressure seems to be coming from a minority group. This can even result to suppression of these demands and even victimization.
Multiculturalism as a practice to enhance cultural diversity bears more harm than good with regard to issues of racism. This is because it seems to bring about a more refined version of racism, rather than helping curb the problems arising due to racism.
This is through advocating for the preservation of the different cultures of which some of them encourage racism. Therefore, other than multiculturalism, authorities should instead advocate for systems that will dissolve the stereotypes and prejudices held at different cultures and encourage identities based on class since this will make sense to roughly everyone.