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Spreading the good word of multiculturalism

June 22, 2007

Possibly one of the interesting matters about the multicultural society debate in Europe is that some don’t grasp what it means or implies.

If we look at the etymology of the word, everyone knows that multi derives from the word multus, meaning many or much. Defining culture is a bit more complex. For the sake of simplicity, let’s define it as anything learned.

What is multiculturalism, then? A good definition is provided by countries that aim to promote multiculturalism, like Canada:

Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.

Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

While such a definition gives the impression that we live in “cultural compartments” and meet in some neutral place like equals, the interesting question to ask is if it’s possible to create a just multicultural society where all are respected as equals?

Possibly we should, however, pose the following question to seek an answer: What kind of a society would we build if we didn’t uphold such values and instead promoted racism, segregation and ghtettoization?

Answer: We’d build a pretty lousy nation.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tiwaz permalink
    October 10, 2008 4:47 am

    Question, what kind of is nation where there is no one clear set of code of conduct?

    Anarchy and chaos. And civil war.

    Multiculturalism is pretty picture. Everyone holding hands and singing kumbaya. So is communism. Everyone getting what they need, nobody above other. Or anarchism… Everyone doing their own thing, nobody forcing anyone else.

    What is common with these things? They are all failures. They fail to take into account basic human nature, and work in this context.

    Radical muslim following his own cultural norms is not going to tolerate liberal nordic and his cultural norms. Neither will liberal nordic tolerate radical muslim. They will not hold hands and sing kumbaya, they will fight to eradicate the offensive party from their territory.

    THIS is reality. Cultures are not happy happy joy joy organisations, they are our very identity. We are born and raised to our own culture. It defines us just as much as our name or face. Except it is far easier to change your name or have surgeon change your face than it is to change your culture.

    History proves that societies attempting to put all cultures equal are unstable and have heavy tendency to civil war. Why? Because when two cultures meet, they will be at odds in most cases. Why? Because their ways are different. And because they are different, someone elses normal behavior is offensive to someone else. And then we have buildup of dislike and hatred.

    Societies which have one established rule and code of conduct are much more stable. There are no divisions in society along which you could start civil wars.

    Specially when we have established society like Finland. There is no “neutral ground” in Finland. It is all FINNISH. Some foreigner coming here, telling me that this piece of land now is his cultural territory, that is mine and this between is neutral is offending me. He is trying to claim part of my home as his own, and then demand me to cede more to create this artificial neutral zone.

    I am very, very offended by mere suggestion of such arrangement. My grandfathers did not fight in WW2 to keep Stalin out from our country, and mostly succeeding, just to have some other foreigner come here and do what Stalin failed to do. Destroy Finland.

    There is no neutral ground in Finland, it is all Finnish. You may not understand why I love this rocky, cold and wet soil so much. But I do not care. I do not understand why you love your home, quite likely unstable and unsafe multicultural hellhole, so much. I love the stability and safety of my home. If you cannot accept it as it is, but want to mold it into something else, more to your liking…. I have only one thing to say to you.

    FUCK OFF!

  2. Enrique permalink
    October 10, 2008 7:10 pm

    –Question, what kind of is nation where there is no one clear set of code of conduct?
    In a country there are many codes of conduct. Probably when there are non-native cultures there are more differences. However, this does not mean that they cannot coexist together.
    The things you speak of are not issues in multicultural, multinational, countries such as Canada or the United States. They are not even a topic of debate in Spain, where about 10% of the population if foreign-born.
    Kumbaya? I used to sing that song when I was a kid. Not anymore. So, in your world you see a “race war” happening. The more foreigners that come to Finland, the less chance of it happening. You are talking from a vantage point of fear of the unknown.

  3. Tiwaz permalink
    October 13, 2008 6:06 am

    So how you define which is followed?

    Issues I mentioned are always issues everywhere. Everyone judges people based on their own cultural context. Result is conflict. If spitting in the face is in your cultural context polite greeting and bleeding insult in mine. What do you think will take place?

    Those “multicultural” societies you speak of have race riots, internal conflicts and issues with increasing dislike over immigration. Why?

    EVERYWHERE where immigrants do not integrate to society they move into we see increase in problems. There is in immigrant board person who expressed how she was happy to leave wonderland of Canada when Iranian influx of immigrants came in. And brought in their own old baggage, old cultural principles which included even shooting someone for dating wrong person.

    Yay! And when issue was brought to table, even another poster from Australia expressed how things were getting bit out of hand with muslim minority in this wonderland of multiculturalism.

    Hell, look at Estonia. They are SO happy with their multiculturalism with Russians.

    Reality is, multiculturalism does not work. It works when immigrants are so small amount that they do not register. Or if migration comes from countries with close enough cultural background to make their habits similar enough. But when large amount of people with totally different cultural background immigrate, it is starting of problems if they are not made to integrate.

  4. Jeremy Williams permalink
    August 14, 2010 10:10 pm

    Tiwaz,
    I do not know why no one has posted in two years.
    But, everything you say is very accurate, and why I fear from my country of Canada.
    People come to Canada from all over the world and advocate for more of their own countrymen to come here. Our immigration policy is the highest in the world. Cities are one after another being overwhelmed by foreign cultures. But to speak against it, to speak out for the cultures who were here first is “racist”.
    Our old society is dying; a new one made of foreigners is taking its place.
    And we are moving to an ultimately very fragmented and conflicted nation. I fear you will hear more bad things about us in the future.
    My message to you — multiculteralism is an ideology, a cult, which only works when minorities are very small in number.

    • Enrique permalink
      August 15, 2010 6:44 am

      Hi Jeremy Williams, thank you for your post. By the way, the problem with many anti-immigrant critics is that they are blaming immigrants when they should be looking at globalization. I personally have not qualms about immigration because it has been in our family for four generations as far as I know. I have also lived and was brought up in multiethnic United States.

      When you speak of being “overwhelmed by foreign cultures” aren’t those cultures Canadian? Is it a problem for you to live with diversity and to share public spaces with other groups?

      Multiculturalism as a social policy saved Canada from breaking up into at least two countries. In England it has also helped to keep Britain intact. If you have a society comprsing of many cultures you have to work out a system whereby everyone is recognized and has the right to happiness and opportunities. Claiming that these are only one group’s right is selfish. It is against our democratic principles and hinders other ethnic groups from participating in the dynamic of society.

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