Finnish “mono-” versus “multicultural” debate
There has been an ongoing ping-pong debate on how good or bad is mono versus multiculturalism. I believe that this type of debate is fruitless because European cultures in general and Finland in particular have always been multicultural.
To quote one of our avid “monoculturalist:”
I have no feeling of inferiority, Enrique, quite the opposite. Looking at how horribly you multiculturalists have failed in your nationbuilding, I feel rather secure and superior considering how my country has managed to become wealthy, stable and well functioning. Which is why I oppose your suggestions of bringing that failure to Finland
One of the biggest fallacies that our education in Finland is committing with our children is that they are still being taught that somehow human growth and creativity in Finland tended to occur within separate and isolated cultures. There is little emphasis placed on how Finnish culture/other cultures mixed and formed constantly changing societal variants.
Claude Lévy-Strauss, the dean of structural anthropology who will turn 100 on November 28, speaks about the role of the incest taboo in different society. Apart from genetic disorders, the incest taboo forces — according to Lévy-Strauss — members of a family to marry outside of the group. This means that through marriage a family group becomes more extended by forging new family ties, which help it to survive more effectively.
In my opinion, cultures and societies work in the same way: cultures have for thousands of years been in constant contact with each other through traders, explorers, pirates, travelers, multicultural marriages and in other ways. They have taken part in a sort of dynamic “cultural market place” were we barter and try on new customs, ideas and ways to solve problems in our society more effectively.
One anthropologist mentioned that defenders of the classic view of separate and isolated cultural development believe, incorrectly, that classical Greece sprung from nowhere. However, their growth was not a pure and isolated event, but through Greek encounters with foreigners (traders etc).
So, in many respects, multiculturalism has always existed because humankind has not believed in isolation but on survival. Cultural exchanges, incorporating and trading different parts of our culture not only offers us the exciting prospect to try something new, but offers us an opportunity to create a more resilient and stronger society.
Thanks to multiculturalism we have been able to build diverse societies in Europe, for example, that are in a still in the process of constant change.
However, whenever a group raises the monocultural flag, that usually sparks strife and mass wars. Nazi Germany and the former Yugoslavia are prime examples of this type of “monocultural bullying” and its utter failure as a model.