American multiculturalism essay

It is often associated with "identity politics", "the politics of difference", and "the politics of recognition". It is also a matter of economic interests and political power. It is within this context in which the term is most commonly understood and the broadness and scope of the definition, as well as its practical use, has been the subject of serious debate.

Most debates over multiculturalism center around whether or not multiculturalism is the appropriate way to deal with diversity and immigrant integration. The arguments regarding the perceived rights to a multicultural education include the proposition that it acts as a way to demand recognition of aspects of a group's culture subordination and its entire experience in contrast to a melting pot or non-multicultural societies.

Multiculturalism and National Identity - Peter Kivisto

The Canadian government has often been described as the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. Recently, right-of-center governments in several European states — notably the Netherlands and Denmark — have reversed the national policy and returned to an official monoculturalism. Many nation-states in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are culturally diverse and are 'multicultural' in a descriptive sense. In some, communalism is a major political issue. The policies adopted by these states often have parallels with multiculturalist policies in the Western world, but the historical background is different, and the goal may be a mono-cultural or mono-ethnic nation-building — for instance in the Malaysian government's attempt to create a 'Malaysian race' by Multiculturalism is seen by its supporters as a fairer system that allows people to truly express who they are within a society, that is more tolerant and that adapts better to social issues.

Historically, support for modern multiculturalism stems from the changes in Western societies after World War II, in what Susanne Wessendorf calls the "human rights revolution", in which the horrors of institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing became almost impossible to ignore in the wake of the Holocaust ; with the collapse of the European colonial system , as colonized nations in Africa and Asia successfully fought for their independence and pointed out the discriminatory underpinnings of the colonial system; and, in the United States in particular, with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement , which criticized ideals of assimilation that often led to prejudices against those who did not act according to Anglo-American standards and which led to the development of academic ethnic studies programs as a way to counteract the neglect of contributions by racial minorities in classrooms.

The contact hypothesis in sociology is a well documented phenomenon in which cooperative interactions with those from a different group than one's own reduce prejudice and inter-group hostility.

Is Multiculturalism the Same As Polyculturalism?

James Trotman argues that multiculturalism is valuable because it "uses several disciplines to highlight neglected aspects of our social history, particularly the histories of women and minorities [ Tariq Modood argues that in the early years of the 21st century, multiculturalism "is most timely and necessary, and [ Bhikhu Parekh counters what he sees as the tendencies to equate multiculturalism with racial minorities "demanding special rights" and to see it as promoting a "thinly veiled racis[m]". Instead, he argues that multiculturalism is in fact "not about minorities" but "is about the proper terms of relationship between different cultural communities", which means that the standards by which the communities resolve their differences, e.

Balibar characterizes criticisms of multiculturalism as "differentialist racism", which he describes as a covert form of racism that does not purport ethnic superiority as much as it asserts stereotypes of perceived "incompatibility of life-styles and traditions". While there is research that suggests that ethnic diversity increases chances of war, lower public goods provision and decreases democratization, there is also research that shows that ethnic diversity in itself is not detrimental to peace, [34] [35] public goods provision [36] [37] or democracy.

The Wikimedia Foundation suggests that "diversity of perspectives is crucial to increasing the quality of the free knowledge resources that [their] movement provides". Critics of multiculturalism often debate whether the multicultural ideal of benignly co-existing cultures that interrelate and influence one another, and yet remain distinct, is sustainable, paradoxical, or even desirable.

Harvard professor of political science Robert D. Putnam conducted a nearly decade-long study on how multiculturalism affects social trust. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. Putnam has also stated, however, that "this allergy to diversity tends to diminish and to go away I think in the long run we'll all be better. Ethnologist Frank Salter writes:. Relatively homogeneous societies invest more in public goods, indicating a higher level of public altruism. For example, the degree of ethnic homogeneity correlates with the government's share of gross domestic product as well as the average wealth of citizens.

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Case studies of the United States, Africa and South-East Asia find that multi-ethnic societies are less charitable and less able to cooperate to develop public infrastructure. Moscow beggars receive more gifts from fellow ethnics than from other ethnies [ sic ].

A recent multi-city study of municipal spending on public goods in the United States found that ethnically or racially diverse cities spend a smaller portion of their budgets and less per capita on public services than do the more homogeneous cities. Dick Lamm , former three-term Democratic governor of the US state of Colorado , wrote in his essay "I have a plan to destroy America":. Diverse peoples worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other—that is, when they are not killing each other.

A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. A number of conservative historians used the religion of the Mexica, better known as the Aztecs as an example of what they see as the flaws of multiculturalism. The Australian historian Keith Windschuttle cited the accounts of his fellow Australian historian Inga Clendinnen of the festival of Ochpaniztli where to honor the Maize Lord a young woman was sacrificed by ripping out her heart so the crops might grow:.

Multiculturalism vs America - The American Mind

Then, still in darkness, silence, and urgent haste, her body was flayed, and a naked priest, a 'very strong man, very powerful, very tall', struggled into the wet skin, with its slack breasts and pouched genitalia: a double nakedness of layered, ambiguous sexuality. The skin of one thigh was reserved to be fashioned into a face-mask for the man impersonating Centeotl, Young Lord Maize Cob, the son of Toci. Windschuttle argued that the gruesome religion of the Aztecs that required that dozens of young people be sacrificed and eaten every day so that the sun might rise the next day and hundreds of people sacrificed for major holidays as proving that multiculturalism is a facile doctrine that requires Westerners to respect Aztec religion as equal to any other religion.

Though not called Multiculturalism as such, the preamble of Argentina's constitution explicitly promotes immigration , and recognizes the individual's multiple citizenship from other countries. Saint Patrick's Day , supporting all kinds of art or cultural expression from ethnic groups , as well as their diffusion through an important multicultural presence in the media; for instance it is not uncommon to find newspapers [61] or radio programs in English , German , Italian , French or Portuguese in Argentina.

Bolivia is a diverse country made up of 36 different types of indigenous groups. The Americas have been known to be some of the most multicultural geographical locations, as many of the times there is a diversity of language, religion, and ethnicities present. The South American country Brazil can also acclaim multiculturalism, and has undergone many changes in the past few decades. Brazil is a controversial country when is comes to defining a multicultural country.

Furthermore, Brazil is a country who has made great strides to embrace migrant cultures, and with its increase of African descent people they have made changes to become more aware and welcoming. There has been an increase of awareness of anti-blackness and they are actively finding ways to combat racism in Brazil.

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Canadian society is often depicted as being "very progressive, diverse, and multicultural". Mexico has historically always been a multicultural country. They influenced the indigenous religion, politics, culture and ethnicity. Mestizo was also born from the conquest, which meant being half-Indigenous and half-Spanish. Mexico City has recently been integrating rapidly, doing much better than many cities in a sample conducted by the Intercultural Cities Index being the only non-European city, alongside Montreal , on the index.

From the year to , the number of people in Mexico that were born in another country doubled, reaching an amount of , people. Mostly coming from Guatemala and the United States. It is considered to be a cradle of civilization , which influences their multiculturalism and diversity, by having different civilizations influence them.

A distinguishable trait of Mexico's culture is the mestizaje of its people, which caused the combination of Spanish influence, their indigenous roots while also adapting the culture traditions from their immigrants. Peru is an exemplary country of multiculturalism, in the INEI reported a total population of 31 million people. They share their borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia, and have welcomed many immigrants into their country creating a diverse community.

Peru is the home to Amerindians but after the Spanish Conquest , the Spanish brought African, and Asian people as slaves to Peru creating a mix of ethnic groups. After slavery was no longer permitted in Peru, African-Peruvians and Asian-Peruvians have contributed to Peruvian culture in many ways.

In the United States, multiculturalism is not clearly established in policy at the federal level, but ethnic diversity is common in both rural and urban areas. Continuous mass immigration was a feature of the United States economy and society since the first half of the 19th century. The idea of the melting pot is a metaphor that implies that all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention.


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This is different than multiculturalism as defined above, which does not include complete assimilation and integration. Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

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As a philosophy , multiculturalism began as part of the pragmatism movement at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States, then as political and cultural pluralism at the turn of the twentieth. Du Bois and Alain Locke developed concepts of cultural pluralism, from which emerged what we understand today as multiculturalism. In Pluralistic Universe , William James espoused the idea of a " plural society. The educational approach to multiculturalism has since spread to the grade school system, as school systems try to rework their curricula to introduce students to diversity earlier — often on the grounds that it is important for minority students to see themselves represented in the classroom.

They chose to juxtapose Abraham Lincoln's inaugural address with that of Confederate president Jefferson Davis ; [] they debated removing Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and labor-leader Cesar Chavez [] and rejected calls to include more Hispanic figures, in spite of the high Hispanic population in the state. In a study by Robert Putnam encompassing 30, people across the US found that diversity had a negative effect on civic engagement. The greater the diversity, the fewer people voted, the less they volunteered for community projects and trust among neighbours was only half that of homogenous communities.

Venezuela is the home to a variety of ethnic groups, with an estimated population of 32 million.


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  • African influence can be seen on their music, with the drum usage. The European Union is facing unprecedented demographic changes an aging population, low birth rates, changing family structures and migration. According to the European Commission, it is important, both at EU and national level, to review and adapt existing policies. Following a public debate, a EU policy paper identified five key policy responses to manage demographic change, among them receiving and integrating migrants into Europe.

    Historically, Europe has always been a mixture of Latin, Slavic, Germanic, Uralic, Celtic, Hellenic, Illyrian, Thracian and other cultures influenced by the importation of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other belief systems; although the continent was supposedly unified by the super-position of Imperial Roman Christianity, it is accepted that geographic and cultural differences continued from antiquity into the modern age.

    In the nineteenth century, the ideology of nationalism transformed the way Europeans thought about the state. Unity, under this ideology, is seen as an essential feature of the nation and the nation-state; unity of descent, unity of culture, unity of language, and often unity of religion. The nation-state constitutes a culturally homogeneous society, although some national movements recognised regional differences.

    Where cultural unity was insufficient, it was encouraged and enforced by the state. Some nation-states pursued violent policies of cultural assimilation and even ethnic cleansing. Some countries in the European Union have introduced policies for "social cohesion", "integration", and sometimes "assimilation". The policies include:. Other countries have instituted policies which encourage cultural separation. Since its establishment in the seventh century, Bulgaria has hosted many religions, ethnic groups and nations.

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    This unique arrangement has been called by historians a "multicultural cliche". Furthermore, unlike some other Nazi Germany allies or German-occupied countries excluding Denmark , Bulgaria managed to save its entire 48,strong Jewish population during World War II from deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Consequently, within the Balkan region, Bulgaria has become an example for multiculturalism in terms of variety of religions, artistic creativity [] and ethnicity. At the moment of registration, it had 33 members, at present, according to the organisation's website, 68, members plus 24, in the organisation's youth wing [1].

    In October , Angela Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her centrist Christian Democratic Union CDU party [ failed verification ] at Potsdam , near Berlin , that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had "utterly failed", [] stating: "The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work". This has added to a growing debate within Germany [] on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society.

    The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Germany is the first Muslim group to have been granted "corporation under public law status", putting the community on par with the major Christian churches and Jewish communities of Germany.