Should multiculturalism in America be honored?
Side Score: 26
Side Score: 39
I am sort of on the fence with this, but I lean towards monoculture.
I don't feel that every culture or way of life is acceptable, you have to draw the line somewhere. Where and how you draw the line is a matter of personal taste and philosophical grounding, of course.
I would like, through education, mass media, law, and economic incentive/disincentive, to see a monoculture with many viewpoints. If that makes sense.
To give an example:
I'd like to see a complete breakdown of racial, ethnic, national, religious, gender, and sexual cultural division and instead see people grouped by patterns of thought and conceptual understandings. In other words, political and philosophical differences; which I find to be meaningful. I am willing to make an exception for religious thought, though the two major religions in the western world have very little intellectual value. Islam and Christianity seem to be rooted in ethnic/cultural upbringing and not any real thought or honest exploration of a man or woman's spiritual inclinations.
I would love to see some religious diversity, but I don't think that will happen until the monopoly of Christianity in North and South America and Islam/Christianity in the Middle East and Europe are broken.
I am not atheist by the way, but at this point "religion" is just another word for "ignorance" when living in the states. Until we see a renaissance of religious thought (which will hopefully be brought about by the breakdown of cultural barriers) I'd rather have religion excluded from intellectual promotion endeavors until it is safe to assume it won't just be a promotion of monotheism (which is an inherent intolerance of other faiths and gods as well as thought itself).
Side: One culture
You raise some excellent points, but I'll have to disagree with your main opinion of favour for monoculture.
Multiculturalism is obviously where we are already headed, and it is something to embrace. Other cultures are interesting, and fun to explore, and through that exploration we can hopefully learn to have a great deal more tolerance for how other people live.
Whether you feel a culture or way of life is acceptable or not is irrelevant. If those culture can fit within the laws of your country, then they have every right to exist within your borders.
I do like the romantic thought of a renaissance of religious thought, however. Well said.
A couple of points in response to that:
1. Multicultural does not necessarily mean acceptance, in effect it is a division not a cooperation. Cultures exist only as opposed to and separated from others, that is the essence of a culture, or else it is indistinguishable and unidentifiable.
2. Multiculturalism does not seem to be either a national or global trend.
As for the first point, studies have been conducted which lead me to believe that multiculturalism breeds conflict and misunderstanding, prejudice even.
This does not come as a surprise when you look at what "culture" actually is. First and foremost it is a codified method of communicating, it includes ideas and concepts as well as specific expressions of those ideas and concepts. Of course, different cultures have different languages as well as viewpoints (not a bad thing inherently, of course).
When you have an environment, or a society, in which many cultures exist you have a situation of large numbers of people not being able to communicate effectively with one another.
It is hard to work together when you cannot even comprehend the other person's way of thinking.
The second point actually comes from your multicultural stance. If your solution to the conundrum mentioned above is multicultural education you'd find yourself within quite a vexing paradox.
Ya see, if you start teaching all of the cultures within a society about all of the other cultures you are effectively training them. They are going to adopt some of what you have taught them, each of the cultures, as they interact more and more, will merge more and more with their cultural neighbors. The more "multicultural" and open a society is, the more the cultures mix. Understanding begets merger begets monoculture, in effect.
We are seeing this all over the world, cultures are merging, dialects and languages are going extinct, nations are joining into regions and regions are coming together on a global stage.
To say the least, this cultural welding has come with the benefit of peace. Look at Europe, once a land of many cultures and languages they have found themselves joining together as "Europeans". They all speak English, all of them, and their cultures are becoming less and less distinct. Their languages survive, to a certain extent, but you can be sure that as they come together a common language will be as assumptive as a common currency.
But what do we also see in Europe? As most of the native Europeans drop their religiosity and come together immigrant Muslims are finding it hard to adapt. Conflicts have raged in France, Germany, and England as the conflict between secular western belief structures comes head to head with conservative Islam.
It is my opinion that we would find ourselves in a much better position, both in social cohesion and in thought, if we worked to demolish the artificial and arbitrary boundaries of cultural difference.
I don't, of course, mean forced rehabilitation and mind control. I do emphasize education programs and community outreach, programs that will work to bring common understandings and practices among the various groups in a society.
Only when we understand each other can we see an end to ravenous competition and conflict and the start of competitive thought and social development.
Side: One culture
This is the beauty of America! We are all under one flag of America, yet we should still celebrate our roots, heritage, and the melting pot of cultures that is America! To me, it is similar to the State and Federal government system... we all belong to our perspective states of residence, yet we all also belong to the United States of America!
I think that America wouldn't be the America that I know today if it weren't multicultural. I love all of the cultures here, but I also understand that even though there are different cultures, we are all part of one culture that should celebrate it's own diversity and color.
I think there is too much segregation though, maybe because of ignorance or maybe because fundamental aspects of certain cultures cannot help but rub up on each other once in a while , but it keeps us from acknowledging how great America is for allowing all of us to be able to say we are Americans and yet, be so different from one another.
Wait... is multiculturalism one culture in that it is many cultures?
That's the funny thing about multiculturalism. Living in Saint Louis you can go through all the various neighborhoods that still revel in their ethnic pride. I've checked out my own ethnicity's section "The Hill", the Italian side of town.
Of course, it is Italian in history only. The people all talk and act like typical Americans, the only difference is that the fire hydrants are painted like Italian flags and there are more Italian restaurants.
I expect the burgeoning Mexican part of town (which I live right next to) will end up the same way.
For the most part, Multiculturalism seems to be just a cross pollination of sorts anyways. The only way to be both multicultural and keep cultures from merging together into one is to enforce strict segregation.
I can note the difference between "The Hill" and the "North Side" as a good example. While the Hill merged with the surrounding culture (because Italians look like Anglos anyways) the African Americans (which are easily the most discriminated against population) are still extremely different from their white counterparts. African Americans speak differently, act differently, and wear completely different clothes than the greater culture. As such, there is a great deal of misunderstandings between the two groups.
I think it's quite telling that there is a definitely "black" way of talking and acting as well as a "white" way. If a black or white act outside of their race's culture they are quickly labeled a "whigger" or not really black.
I believe that what people call "racism" today is more of a socioeconomic thing rather than a race thing. I mean, I would rather invite an educated black man to my home than a white gangbanger boy. And if the person reading this is a gangbanger, I didn't mean to offend. I don't need a drive-by or something.
What specifically do you mean by assimilate..? If you're only referring to language, I think it doesn't hurt anyone if a newcomer to the United States fails to learn our language. I'm sure it just makes life for them more difficult, so why insist?
I'm also not sure how you jumped from speaking English to living under Sharia law. Are you now talking about people in foreign countries? Or do you fear a homegrown uprising?
Side: One culture
Multiculturalism should absolutely be honored in America because it is one extraordinary way that American can become stronger.
As long as there is a common denominator among a diverse population, diversity means strength. A common denominator may be culture, ethnicity, history, or language.
Side: Strength through diversity
America's culture is largely defined by it's diversity. Should that be honored? Honored in what way? Personally, I think it should be laizzes-faire. Immigrant should learn English, sure, but Americans should be encouraged to learn other languages too. And simply knowing another language for practical purposes isn't meant to harm the culture.
Honored by society.
Think racism, segregation , discrimination...
Sure, there are differences, and sure there are disagreements, but how should we deal with them? Should be expect them to all conform to what we call "American culture" or should we learn to accept our differences but also embrace our differences... does that clarify?
I think the way we have it is nice. Asian, african-american, English, Irish, Lation and Italian all raise their hand to their hearts as ole glory is raised. I love that our country has so much diversity. There are problems associated with understanding, but everything worthwhile can sometimes be challenging.
Poem my Langston Hughes:
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
when company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too,am America.
yep, the more ideas and ways of life presented, the more we can learn and create new ideas.
now, of course, we shouldn't accept cultures that break the law, but we wouldn't know they're breaking the law until they're out with it. (fuck you NAMBLA).
and, i love more religions. religious people seem to offer more in philosophy and imagination than boring old atheist (keep in mind, i am not theist or religious person, but atheism is quite boring). plus, different religious cultures help turn our heads different ways, helps us see different views on morals and really just helps us open our minds (i do understand though that getting trapped into a religion can close your mind, but i'm talking about multiple religions).
and different cultures brings about different entertainment. muzik, movies, and books.
most important though is the different ways of thinking provided. i always like to hear different ideas and why people believe in this or that. helps me make decisions when i hear what EVERYONE has to say.
then again, the one american culture is multiculture.