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Old 2011-04-27, 12:33   Link #1
solomon
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Multiculturalism in the World Today

For those politically astute and observant of the news, there have been many events that have lead to the questioning of "Multiculturalism" today.

The Arab Spring has lead to an unraveling of traditional orders and bilateral relations between states and leading to large scale migration.

Many European heads of government have called into question the concept of "Multiculturalism".

The United States has to deal with potential radicalizing muslims on it's shores, not to mention the ever burgeoning Latino population.

I was wondering what various people here of various backgrounds (American, European, Asian) thought Multiculturalism means to them in their countries, in both context of the past and today. Particularly in relation to recent events.
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Old 2011-04-27, 13:03   Link #2
Haak
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Well I might as well dump all these here:
Spoiler for space:


To be honest I still haven't really formed an opinion yet...
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Old 2011-04-27, 14:53   Link #3
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It'll take a full-blown thesis to describe the many different forces at work behind this issue, and to put them into a conceptual framework for more rigorous study... something I don't quite have the time to do, at least not on an amateur basis.

(1)
The first thing to consider is the rising wave of religiosity across the world, especially in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The feelings aroused by those attacks were inflamed further by the invasion and occupation of Iraq, along with the still-simmering conflict in Afghanistan.

These conflicts make up the very "clash of civilisations" that political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote about in 1996.

(2)
And, to understand the unexpected rise in religiosity over the past decade, it's necessary to look back further to study the way the global Muslim community grew increasingly disillusioned with geopolitical trends following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The 1991 Gulf War, the ethnic violence in the Balkans during the 1990s, the perennial unrest in Israel and the West Bank, along with an increasingly assertive theocratic leadership in Iran provoking hardline responses in the rest of the Arab world — all these contributed to an environment that radicalised fringe elements of the Muslim community, setting the stage for the "clash" that would soon break out in the new millennium.

(3)
The fall of communism also led to renewed efforts to reintegrate what remained of the Second World, particularly in Europe. In the absence of overarching ideological objectives following "the end of History", long-buried fault lines along language, race and religion began bubbling again to the surface.

People began clamouring again for rights and recognition in a new, multi-polar world order. And wherever such rivalries boiled over, deep-seated antagonisms are born anew.

(4)
Meanwhile, in developing Asia, another geopolitical trend began to emerge. With the fall of the Berlin Wall came the opening of new markets, as a newly export-oriented China abandoned central planning in favour of a market economy.

The waking dragon was itself preceded by an earlier wave of "tiger economies" along the Pacific Rim, from Japan in the north down to Singapore in the south. Eventually, even perennial laggard India got pulled along by the growth momentum to become a giant dynamo in its own right.

All these has led to the gradual shifting of economic power from West to East and, along with it, attendant geopolitical power.

And, with power comes pride. Three billion people in formerly poor Asia are now increasingly eager to assert themselves in world affairs, and refuse to be thumbed down again by their former colonial masters.

(5)
Finally, on a much lower but no less important scale, industrial society itself has changed. In what is now popularly dubbed the "post-industrial" world, a revolution in communications technology has turned the global village into an even smaller and more congested place.

In an era when almost anyone can become an overnight sensation through online media, it has become easier than ever before for individuals of all persuasions to push their messages across the world.

And this has led, ironically, to a growing trend for people to pigeonhole themselves according to their backgrounds and interests. Human curiosity, I would argue, has not grown any broader in spite of the greater availability of information. It seems, rather, to have made it easier for birds of a feather to flock together, giving rise to a polarisation of beliefs rather than an integration of ideas.

==========

Put all the above factors together, and you'd have what I think may well be the "grand narrative" of our time: a search for personal identity amid increasing homogenisation. People from all kinds of backgrounds are struggling to assert their identities, sometimes at the expense of an existing social fabric. It's a new form of tribalism, one that thrives on a global scale.

The ongoing effort to balance incumbent values with these newly assertive grassroots sentiments is what contributes to the growing feeling that "multiculturalism" is failing all around the world. It is partly caused by a failure of leaders to appreciate the emotions that drive these sentiments, and it will require a paradigm shift of sorts before we can find ways to unify otherwise divisive views.

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Old 2011-04-27, 15:17   Link #4
Decagon
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I take multiculturalism to mean that conflicts usually relegated within a homogeneous population between people of different creed or economic backgrounds can be spread out to other ethnic groups as a whole regardless of their beliefs or wealth. People who are chill and get along seem to not care about the multi part.

The US is a great blend of people. I spent some of my formative years in a very white part of the midwest where my family and I faced a lot less racism than when we lived in many of the racially diverse parts of California and New Jersey. Hell if I know how that works.
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Old 2011-04-27, 17:49   Link #5
solomon
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I think Multiculturalism is naturally interpreted in a different fashion in the Old World as opposed to the New World.

In the Americas, we are a blend of a bunch of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Even just "White" people are are huge blend (in the US anyways).

In Europe ethnically you have people determined as "British" "French" and "German" for example, who have dominated their countries identities for centuries. Only recently are they dealing with large scale immigration from abroad.

Simply speaking, in teh Americas people largely treat their nationality as citizenship not ethnicity where as in Europe a lot of people treat their nationality and citizenship as one in the same.
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Old 2011-04-27, 18:31   Link #6
Jaden
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I see multiculturalism more like monoculturalism. When you are exposed to other cultures and accept them as viable ways of doing things, it also means losing some faith and respect to your own culture. As a result you become neutral to culture.

If all people understood all cultures, they would cease to be special the way they are now. People would see culture as tradition, not necessarily a part of who they are. History, not mystery. Not ways of life, but more like fashion. The population would become more united, thus monoculturalism.
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Old 2011-04-27, 18:34   Link #7
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somewhere on the other side of the atlantic...

multiculturalism like this is NOT sustainable



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Old 2011-04-27, 19:48   Link #8
solomon
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The above vid is interesting.

I have seen a similar documentary from the German public net ARD about similar strife occuring in a part of Germany.

Naturally as modern secular Western Societies, violence against innocent people under the guise of religion is intolerable in all circumstances.

Still, while there is a question of how tolerant established societies should be of CERTAIN CULTURAL PRACTICES, the vid is a bit of a whitewash. It essentially confounds Islam with violence/repressiveness again in a simple manner.

Victim of Multiculturalism.......BAD WORDING. The lady was a victim of racism. It should be typified as such.

Multiculturalism should not be compounded with racial intolerance.

As for the sharia issue, I have yet to hear Muslims for sharia want to push it on the major society, I was under the impression that they want it for their own circles.

Mind you I don't think that it links up with most western nations law, but still clarification should be made.

Also the veil issue, that's weak I am afraid. Is the state going to spend money investigating weither or not it's being forced on women or weither they do it out of their own freewill. And if it is their own choice, does the state have a right to meddle in a private affair, when it's really causing no harm to anyone else.

That is ultimately a weak video that attempts a couple of unique different issues together. There some legitimacy there, but it's rife for hijacking by extremists on the other side as well.

================================================== ===
Again, if you come to another country and attack a NATIVE who has commited no other crime than being a different ethnic group, you either deserve to get your teeth knocked on or to be sent back to your original country. I whole heartedly believe that. That kind of problem should be addressed.

Yet also (again because I am an American minority), I fear that at it's very worse people will just bristle at the fact that they have to deal with others who don't walk to the beat of the largely White majority. And they will use some unfortunate instances to create racist policies that are largely window dressing and don't address real issues. (like the veil deal). We can't expect people to totally distance themselves from their heritage.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:41   Link #9
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*puts on flame shield*

The problem with saying "Oh, it's just extremist Muslims" is the undeniable fact that if their philosophy wasn't violent, patriarchal, demeaning to women, incredibly hostile to science and eternally stuck in the dark ages, their extremism wouldn't even be bad.

I mean, come on. "Extremism" just means "taking something to extremes." The extremism can only be so dangerous if the core beliefs themselves are inherently bad!

And before people immediately start accusing me of racism, by "bad" I don't mean "evil," but as in "bad idea" bad--and ultimately, all Judeo-Christian theologies are inherently bad ideas. They do not fit the shape of the modern world, which is why they lash out at the modern world so frequently. There are no real, quantifiable benefits gained through following a barbaric philosophy from two thousand years ago. And there are a whole mess of downsides to zealously following these myths.

I am not a racist, and I don't care what color you are--you're all human to me. What I do care about is bad ideas and bad beliefs. I also don't really appreciate the idea of equating a religion with a "race."

Random thoughts on "cultural appropriation" for those who may be interested:

a) We're all one race--the human race. Some of us look different. Some of us speak different languages. We've all got the same DNA, so sit down, shut up and stop being assholes to people because they look different than you.

b) The more I hear about the "horrors" of white privilege from [mostly white] elitist douchebags trying to make themselves look tolerant and superior, the more I want to punch kittens.

It's understandable that minorities in predominately white cultures will experience problems, but I get really fucking sick of mostly-white hipster assholes throwing around "white privilege" and essentially claiming that white people are racist simply because they're white people.

Pot. Kettle. Black.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:49   Link #10
Asuras
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On what syn has said.

Spoiler for Rant:


I am so [insert vulgar adverb here] tired of white people being universally labeled as inherently racist or dominating. We're not the idiots dozens of years ago. We're perfectly fine people. There are racists in other nationalities too! Why just us?
When will the idea of white guilt be forgotten? BLAH.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:54   Link #11
synaesthetic
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Probably not until hostile aliens show up and give humans as a whole something to hate.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:57   Link #12
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asuras View Post
On what syn has said.

Spoiler for Rant:


I am so [insert vulgar adverb here] tired of white people being universally labeled as inherently racist or dominating. We're not the idiots dozens of years ago. We're perfectly fine people. There are racists in other nationalities too! Why just us?
When will the idea of white guilt be forgotten? BLAH.
Every culture, every race, every ethnic - has its set of idiots, bigots, supremacists, etc. I used to have to pick a friend at the end of the block in high school because his father was a bigot (they were black, I was white, my girlfriend was Japanese, another friend was Latino, etc)

Maybe if you tried an Irish club? or Scandinavian club? shoot under the radar

But... I do have to say (personal family experience) that there *still* very active racists in the Euro-57 branch that self-titles as "white people".
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Old 2011-04-28, 00:05   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
But... I do have to say (personal family experience) that there *still* very active racists in the Euro-57 branch that self-titles as "white people".
The Russians are white people too. So why do they hate the Russians in the 1970s and 80s?
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Old 2011-04-28, 00:09   Link #14
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I think just about every American high school in the last 15 years has had someone think up a white man's club, and figured it would be shot down immediately, and never actually done it. Usually its the members of the band or nerd groups that think of it really, because we see the hypocrasy in the club system where the main argument against it is, "you are the majority, you don't need a club to gather safely. Otherwise you will be considered to be a racist member of the KKK or Neo-Nazi party, or something similar".


Russians because of the Cold War....enemies directly of the nation. Basically an undeclared war with no battles, only casualties.
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Old 2011-04-28, 00:39   Link #15
Vexx
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The Russians are white people too. So why do they hate the Russians in the 1970s and 80s?
Oddly... there's a lot more comraderie between the Cold Warriors of the US and Soviet factions possibly because of that sensed "equality". They understood each other while they fought over the proper way to split up a loaf of bread.
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Old 2011-04-28, 02:37   Link #16
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Misunderstand me the right way... I know the large majority of multiculturalism is just fine, and I agree. I only need to look at my own surroundings, hell even my own uni which is filled with many cultures, and that works fine (and is very interesting from time to time). But when you have a vocal minority backed up by politicians for easy points and extremely liberal Swedish people that wants to turn Sweden into Iran because it's the "right thing to do, Swedish-style", multiculturalism has resulted in:

- The Swedish national song being racist.
- Other traditional Swedish songs being racist.
- Waving the Swedish flag or talking of how much one loves ones country is racist (or nazi).
- You cannot criticize Islam or other religions, otherwise you are racist. Christianity is a fine target from the other side though.
- Being racist against Swedes are fine. The other way is a death sin.
- Swedes are treated more harshly for crimes and gets a lot more media space. Other cultures are quieted down because "their circumstances are different".
- Criticizing our immigration politics makes you racist. Even if we have the most generous in the world, probably.
- Attacking firefighters and ambulances due to religious inter-culture wars in the more density heavy areas is fine.

Of course it differs in different parts of the country depending on the density, but it's been my experience. So a bit of bitterness isn't strange. So on a small scale, I like multiculturalism. On a national scale, not so much.

Oh and (more radical) Islam is just misunderstood. Discriminating women is just part of their culture and should be respected! (This said by FEMALE uni students).

Wait. Right. And now I'll be called a racist \o/

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
It's understandable that minorities in predominately white cultures will experience problems, but I get really fucking sick of mostly-white hipster assholes throwing around "white privilege" and essentially claiming that white people are racist simply because they're white people.
And I think this best describes my target hate. If you're a white, and male, Swede in this case, you are racist and misogynistic by default. Thanks, politicians and hipsters!
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Old 2011-04-28, 02:55   Link #17
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The idea that "multiculturalism" (as practiced now) is something that is good and must be implemented is something that only seems to infect the West (especially "progressive" white folks). I think cultural suicide is a more appropriate description. Instead of assimilation, multiculturalism promotes Balkanization and the tolerance of ideas and mores that are antithetical to modern liberal Western society.
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Old 2011-04-28, 03:09   Link #18
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
*puts on flame shield*

The problem with saying "Oh, it's just extremist Muslims" is the undeniable fact that if their philosophy wasn't violent, patriarchal, demeaning to women, incredibly hostile to science and eternally stuck in the dark ages, their extremism wouldn't even be bad.
Undeniable fact...

I deny it.

Quote:
I mean, come on. "Extremism" just means "taking something to extremes." The extremism can only be so dangerous if the core beliefs themselves are inherently bad!
Slippery Slope argument. Does that mean anything that can be taken to an extreme is inherently bad? Does that include political ideologies?
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Old 2011-04-28, 03:56   Link #19
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It's actually strange to call Islam anti-science when it's the advancements made by Islamic middle-eastern cultures in science, mathematics and the arts that helped pull Europe's head out of its ass, end the Dark Ages. Hell, one could say that the European renaissance is just the ME's own period extending westward,
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Old 2011-04-28, 04:33   Link #20
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It's actually strange to call Islam anti-science when it's the advancements made by Islamic middle-eastern cultures in science, mathematics and the arts that helped pull Europe's head out of its ass, end the Dark Ages. Hell, one could say that the European renaissance is just the ME's own period extending westward,
Present anti-science both in East and West is due to misguided religious fundamentalists.

One thing I really do not understand is why they are considered fundamental teaching within their own respected schools when they themselves many NOT be actually following the original teaching with many interpretation entering into the text so many time by so many people that some meaning had been lost in translation.
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