Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#21  Postby iamthereforeithink » Jul 25, 2013 5:12 pm

The_Metatron wrote:At the risk of incorrectly paraphrasing, I think Cito isn't terribly keen on multiculturalism.


I guess it must be the sheer poetic beauty of Cito's writing, but I took away exactly the opposite message from it. He just seemed to be not in favor of multiculturalism that is "off the rails", in which case it becomes a "religion substitute". But I guess all good poetry is open to multiple interpretations.


Nora_Leonard wrote:I do remember though there was this idea in the US of a 'melting pot', of all cultures eventually evolving into one 'American' culture. But over the years that has proven false, as individual cultural traits seem to persist. Perhaps because it is easier to feel part of a smaller, distinct group than one great amorphous mass of people?


I think the "melting pot" of the US HAS succeeded to a large extent, certainly more than "multiculturalism" has succeeded in Europe. There certainly is a distinctive "American culture" that draws from a multitude of different cultures/ different ethnicities, but is not identical to any of them. In Europe, in contrast, multiculturalism seems to imply a multitude of isolated, non-interacting ghettos, each demanding the right to an independent cultural identity.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#22  Postby Macdoc » Jul 25, 2013 5:55 pm

We have the Charter to rule them all despite disgruntled right wing bigots complaining.

Extremely multicultural nation mostly successful except with our own First Nations.

Over 160 languages spoken in Toronto, light skin is in the minority, the Muslim community here by and large are not in the least troublesome.
Way more headaches with First Nations and alcohol and land rights issues.

Quebec has the biggest issue trying to maintain pure laine ( cultural and language purity ) within an English speaking majority in the country which is officially bi-lingual but resentfully so in some regions.

Multi-culturalism in a national policy and encouraged and supported with funding but NOT importing conflicts and illegal practices like female circumcision is strongly enforced.

For instance Muslims wanted sharia courts because jewish communities had jewish family courts.
The solution....kill the jewish courts. One law to rule them all. :D

•••

I don't think the US melting pot has worked at all and the US is now effectively a bi-lingual country with Spanish as a second dominate language nor is there any uniform culture.

Large municipalities are very multi-culture centric with dual street names.
A strong stable ethnic conclave tends to absorb immigrés with the least issue - finding them jobs and getting them settled and on occasion exploiting them which the laws are designed to mute.

We were multicultural from the get go even the First Nations represented a whole lot of languages and cultures and then English and French were welded together with two different fundament types of law ( English Common law in most of Canada and French Contract law in Quebec ).
Then wave after wave of immigrants many of whom settled together.
It generally works here tho can be costly in a place like Toronto due to education issues ( think about 160 languages ).
But fuck it's fun.....all those cool restaurants and parades and cultures - Toronto used to be dull and boring Brit in the 50s - now it rocks as does Vancouver and Montreal and the all have benefitted from the many cultures, the wealth it's produced and stats say the emigrants are far more law abiding in general than the long term residents.

Generally 3rd gen are fully integrated INTO a multicultural society.....not a monoculture. Celebrate diversity.

The key in my view is coherent government support, prevention of exploitation and confidence that one law for all.

Biggest issue for TO is some ingrained bigotry in the cops but then some high profile Human RIghts cases have supported those being profiled. Confidence in treatment under law is critical as is job opportunity.
France has issues as it ghettoizes emigres and unemployment is very high even in 4th generation citizens that are ethnically diverse.

What ever Holland is doing seems not successful being handcuffed by a muslim population only 6% -
We are only 2% nation wide but areas like where I am it's 30% and they've elected a member of parliament so are fully engaged.
We've had a few radicals but not only in that population and far more radicals in First Nations where the reasons to resort to violence are certainly understandable.

I think nations can have a multicultural society if laws are exerted evenly and and an effort is made to provide employment opportunities.
In Canada a person that feels over looked for cultural or ethnic reasons can and do sue under the Charter for discrimination.
Rule of law is key and enforcing it evenly accessible to all.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#23  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 25, 2013 6:03 pm

MacDoc wrote:What ever Holland is doing seems not successful being handcuffedby a muslim population only 6% -


What? THat is the last thing we are?
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#24  Postby epepke » Jul 25, 2013 6:16 pm

It doesn't matter what it means to me. What matters is what it means when used by people who like to say it. It also matters what "means" means.

All communication exists in a cultural context as part of a social game. It is often a mistake to assume that a word has a denotational meaning. Sometimes it does. The word "ravioli" has a denotational meaning, because the game involves finding stuff that it good to eat. However, quite a lot, the social game doesn't require a denotational meaning. This is true with the term "multiculturalism." You have to figure out what the act of using the word means in the cultural context. Here's what it means:

Culture conflict has caused certain things to happen, amongst them crime, war, genocide, and other forms of violence. The most obvious explanation for these is that people enjoy them. Of course, people don't like it so much when it happens to them. The most common reaction is simply to build on culture to produce classes. It works nicely, and you don't have to change culture, which is already about "us" and "them." You get to keep your cultural identity and get to have fun. You get to do bad things to people in another culture, either because your view of them is that they are scum, or the other way (which is actually the same), which is to get revenge against "them" for what they did to "us." This is a fairly innovative concept which has expanded widely since the start of the 20th Century. It allows any cultural group to construct a story by which they can feel superior.

Still, it's led to some large things, and there is a story that some of them have been a bit over the top (such as the World Wars). It still provides ample opportunity for enjoyment, which you can see, but there have been some worries that with modern weaponry, it might be possible to run out of people to kill. More importantly, there's a lot of talk about this, and admitting to wanting to feel that your group is superior to others has certain undesirable public relations effects.

Now, there are people who genuinely dislike these effects of culture conflicts. They do a lot of anthropology and ethnography and such, and they come to conclusions such that there is a set of possible responses such as extermination, isolation/segregation, assimilation, and so forth. I learned in school that there were five of them, but I can't find a good reference on the web. The trouble is that none of them is ideal. Some people come up with a blend of sorts that isn't too bad, but people who do that tend to be part of subcultures (like Star Trek), and then the culture conflict happens again on the basis of that. Most people don't take it too seriously, and they'd rather have cultural superiority over those who do.

What is needed is something that works for the user and provides most of the fun of culture but still addresses the issues of culture conflict. Enter multiculturalism, the next great innovation. It amounts to the idea that there are no undesirable results of culture conflict and that there never were. All the problems are due to "them." It essentially constructs a new culture, that is, a culture of people who have faith in multiculturalism, making them feel superior to other cultures that don't. It doesn't make culture conflicts disappear, but it does adapt the rules of the game such that if you are in the "multicultural" culture, you're always one of the Good People.

So you can have endless fun with class conflict while at the same time pretending you've solved the problem.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#25  Postby Varangian » Jul 25, 2013 6:27 pm

Macdoc wrote:Way more headaches with First Nations and alcohol and land rights issues.


I suppose they have a problem with all the cultures which have ended up in Canada... ;)
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#26  Postby Macdoc » Jul 25, 2013 6:28 pm

MacDoc wrote:
What ever Holland is doing seems not successful being handcuffedby a muslim population only 6% -


What? THat is the last thing we are?


of course you are.....you are being cowed by a tiny group and that plays right into the right wing bigots.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#27  Postby Macdoc » Jul 25, 2013 6:28 pm

Macdoc wrote:
Way more headaches with First Nations and alcohol and land rights issues.


I suppose they have a problem with all the cultures which have ended up in Canada... ;)


not sure who "they" is in this.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#28  Postby Varangian » Jul 25, 2013 6:33 pm

Macdoc wrote:
Macdoc wrote:
Way more headaches with First Nations and alcohol and land rights issues.


I suppose they have a problem with all the cultures which have ended up in Canada... ;)


not sure who "they" is in this.


First Nations as in native Canadian Indians?
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#29  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 25, 2013 6:38 pm

epepke wrote:Enter multiculturalism, the next great innovation. It amounts to the idea that there are no undesirable results of culture conflict and that there never were. All the problems are due to "them." It essentially constructs a new culture, that is, a culture of people who have faith in multiculturalism, making them feel superior to other cultures that don't. It doesn't make culture conflicts disappear, but it does adapt the rules of the game such that if you are in the "multicultural" culture, you're always one of the Good People.

So you can have endless fun with class conflict while at the same time pretending you've solved the problem.


Somehow, somebody managed to find a way to make 'patronising' into something hip and desirable. Voilá, patronising from underneath:

iamthereforeithink wrote:I guess all good poetry is open to multiple interpretations.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#30  Postby Macdoc » Jul 25, 2013 6:39 pm

First Nations as in native Canadian Indians?


They mostly have issues with

The governments they have treaties with that have not been honoured going back to original documents.

Local bigots who think they have no rights under those treaties.

We have a ridiculous paternal and often corrupt and abusive set of "arrangements" with First Nations which are slowly being corrected over time.

This is unique as "other cultures" were all emigres

There is the usual amount of bigotry against "different" - some of the dialogue is reminiscent of Victorian views of the Irish.
Certainly there is a range from stupid to unfortunate to outright malfeasance on the part of tribal leaders ( there is a very wide array of cultures ).
It's an open sore here. :(
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#31  Postby tuco » Jul 25, 2013 7:10 pm

HomerJay wrote:
tuco wrote:What is dead? European nations have such low population growth through births that intake of immigrants is not only essential for our economies but maybe even necessary for European nations to survive in the long run. In other words, people from all over the world are coming in, will be coming in, and unless we stop them all I do not see how can this fact be dead.

multiculturalism <> immigration


Certainly not, however, immigration precedes multiculturalism necessarily by definition. Perhaps everyone is familiar with the phrase "Multiculturalism is dead", but I am not so sure that everyone would agree on meaning of such phrase.

In my opinion, multiculturalism is not dead in any sense I can think of. Either as a byproduct of migration or as an idea that we can all live happily together. I would go even as far as saying that multiculturalism is, in the context of today's world and with outlook to future, inevitable. Unifying globally while diversifying locally.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#32  Postby tuco » Jul 25, 2013 7:19 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:
tuco wrote:What is dead? European nations have such low population growth through births that intake of immigrants is not only essential for our economies but maybe even necessary for European nations to survive in the long run. In other words, people from all over the world are coming in, will be coming in, and unless we stop them all I do not see how can this fact be dead.


They are coming into oursociety.

No political party these days supports the idea of multiculturalism. They are not essential for our economy. The fact they got in was a mistake made back in the '60's. It will not be made again.

Their culture is now having to adapt to ours otherwise it is byebye. The compulsory language and cictizenship exams are making many think twice before they come here.


Indeed, the hairless monkeys like to draw imaginary lines in the dirt which then they call their own territory where outsiders have to assimilate. Resistance is futile. We have to protect our way of living, our culture, our nation, our values. The west is the best. Get here, and we'll do the rest.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#33  Postby Regina » Jul 25, 2013 7:22 pm

tuco wrote:
HomerJay wrote:
tuco wrote:What is dead? European nations have such low population growth through births that intake of immigrants is not only essential for our economies but maybe even necessary for European nations to survive in the long run. In other words, people from all over the world are coming in, will be coming in, and unless we stop them all I do not see how can this fact be dead.

multiculturalism <> immigration


Certainly not, however, immigration precedes multiculturalism necessarily by definition. Perhaps everyone is familiar with the phrase "Multiculturalism is dead", but I am not so sure that everyone would agree on meaning of such phrase.

In my opinion, multiculturalism is not dead in any sense I can think of. Either as a byproduct of migration or as an idea that we can all live happily together. I would go even as far as saying that multiculturalism is, in the context of today's world and with outlook to future, inevitable. Unifying globally while diversifying locally.

"Multiculturalism" is just a fancy, relatively new word for something that has taken place from day one. Humans tend to move where the food is, and sometimes they'll find that other humans are already there. Depending on the circumstances and the level of development ( for example in the military) they either find ways to adjust peacefully or they don't. Colonialism is an example for the latter situation.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#34  Postby Macdoc » Jul 25, 2013 7:45 pm

More currently for some nations like Canada it is national policy to support preservation of ethnic cultures with a single system of laws.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#35  Postby Beatsong » Jul 25, 2013 8:40 pm

The_Metatron wrote:My working concept of multiculturalism is something along the lines of an established culture attempting to accept other cultures into it on a more or less equal footing.

I think this is doomed to varying degrees of failure, owing to the obvious and often dichotomous differences to be found across varying cultures. What is acceptable to one, for example, may be strictly forbidden in another. To think that different cultures that possess such differences can co-exist peacefully is, I think, wishful thinking.


Several people have been at pains to define what "multiculturalism" is, but I think for this line of argument to have any meaning, we also need to define what we mean by "failure" (and therefore by success). It's a bit meaningless to try and talk about whether multicultural societies have succeeded, without first agreeing on what the criteria are by which we would judge success.

A lot of people seem to think - without articulating it and possibly without even realising it - that the mark of success of a multicultural society is that it evolves into a relatively monocultural one. So we accept third world muslim immigrants who don't speak English, and then think about whether that was a good idea by how "westernised" their children's children are. But this is surely self-contradictory. If you accept a multicultural society as being OK in and of itself, then why would you need to see each generation become less multicultural to deem it a success?

If OTOH you're going to judge success by things like crime rates (as your reference to "co-existing peacefully" suggests) then one would have to call British multiculturalism of the last few decades a success, as crime rates have steadily fallen over that period. I'm not personally saying that multiculturalism is responsible for that reduction in crime. But you sure as hell can't hold it responsible for increasing crime, in a situation where crime is falling.

Or maybe there's some other mechanism for qualifying "peaceful coexistence", I don't know. I fear that without specifying something, it's bound to be rather circular. Racists, the socially fearful and the culturally narrow-minded will oppose multiculturalism because having so many immigrants around makes them feel in danger, and then proceed to call multiculturalism a failure because peoples' perception of being in danger has increased. Those who like multiculturalism will similarly call it a success, because it creates the kind of society that they like.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#36  Postby laklak » Jul 25, 2013 9:24 pm

Multiculturalism is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

I'm cooking cabrito mole poblano today, got the goat meat at the Latino supermarket. Also stopped at the oriental supermarket to get some tamarinds and globe eggplants. Spoke broken Spanish in the first and broken Thai in the second. We got on fine, all tied together by the Almighty Dollar. Stopped and talked to a Filipino neighbor this morning while walking the dogs, he gave me a fresh papaya from his tree. Had a chat with another neighbor, a Jamaican rasta dude, he just bought a new motor scooter and stopped to show it to me while I was out front cleaning the boat. Mrs. Lak is British expat, born and raised in Africa, she cut the German neighbor's hair the other day. We're going to the pub later tonight to listen to a couple of friends play, the drummer is Ecuadorian, the guitarists are Spanish and Romanian, and the singer is Russian and the bassist is from Boston. Now, Bostonians are fucking foreign, can barely understand them. Our third "daughter" just graduated from Ringling School of Art and Design with a degree in computer animation, she's from Ghana and I've sent her digital portfolio to an old friend of mine, a Panamanian guy who works as an Imagineer at Disney and has a lot of contacts at Disney and DreamWorks.

Nobody seems to have any religious, cultural or political axes to grind, nobody is asking for special dispensations or gets all hot and bothered over imagined slights. Everybody just gets on as best they can, If that's multiculturalism then I'm all for it, but I've only seen this sort of thing in the U.S. So far from our "melting pot" failing, I see it working spectacularly every day of the week. I don't give a shit if I have to learn a bit of Spanish.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#37  Postby Aern Rakesh » Jul 25, 2013 9:42 pm

laklak wrote:...Everybody just gets on as best they can, If that's multiculturalism then I'm all for it, but I've only seen this sort of thing in the U.S. So far from our "melting pot" failing, I see it working spectacularly every day of the week. I don't give a shit if I have to learn a bit of Spanish.


Don't get me wrong, laklak. I didn't say that the US wasn't a working multi-cultural society, I said that the idea that all cultures would melt together to form one homogeneous whole hadn't happened.

Also, what you described is the way I used to think of the term multicultural. For example, I used to work with an Asian community bookshop in Southall, and we would travel round putting on 'multi-cultural' book fairs. I never thought of multiculturalism as separate but equal communities following different traditions side by side.

And I don't think the US is unique in having that kind of working multi-culturalism. I certainly see it in my part of West London.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#38  Postby laklak » Jul 25, 2013 10:02 pm

I imagine London is similar, my experience living in the UK was in Halifax, West Yorkshire, just down the line from Bradford. "Multicultural" in that area wasn't the same thing, there were serious tensions between the "locals" and the "muzzies". People pretty much kept to their own groups, there wasn't a lot of mixing like I see here.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#39  Postby tuco » Jul 25, 2013 10:13 pm

1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.


http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-11/

---

Amen :)

Imagine what hes gonna do in Abu Dhabi.
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Re: Multiculturalism. What does it mean to you?

#40  Postby epepke » Jul 26, 2013 5:54 am

Nora_Leonard wrote:Also, what you described is the way I used to think of the term multicultural. For example, I used to work with an Asian community bookshop in Southall, and we would travel round putting on 'multi-cultural' book fairs. I never thought of multiculturalism as separate but equal communities following different traditions side by side.

And I don't think the US is unique in having that kind of working multi-culturalism. I certainly see it in my part of West London.


That kind of "multiculturalism" presupposes shared cultural values. You might find that the East End isn't exactly the same. Any view of "multiculturalism" is, in itself, based on a culture.

Let's break it down into something obvious. I'd probably enjoy one of your "multicultural" book fairs. But that's because I share a cultural value, which value happens to be extremely Western and recent. If anything, it's a particularly rare and elitist cultural value, and the overwhelming majority of cultures do not share it. Most cultures would find such a book fair abhorrent and offensive, and if they get any power to challenge your hegemony, which they will, then poof! no more book fairs.
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