Various authors view this concept differently. According to Squelch, Lemmer & Dekker (1993:35) multicultural education is a multiple education program providing multiple learning environments that match the needs of learners. It is an intervention and an ongoing assessment that helps institutions and individuals become more…
Multiculturalism Essay Examples and Topics
Multiculturalism has a wide range of meanings with the contexts of political philosophy, sociology, as well as colloquial use. It’s linked to ethnic pluralism in sociology and explained as the end-state of an artificial or natural process such as a legally-controlled immigration. In terms of political science, multiculturalism is the capacity of the state to effectively deal with cultural plurality.
The multiculturalism concept was known since ancient times. Research shows that Cyrus the Great and his Achaemenid Empire followed a policy of tolerating and incorporating a variety of different cultures.
The support for multiculturalism can be seen in the changes in Western societies after the end of the World War II. This is what we call the ‘human rights revolutions’. The Holocaust made it impossible to ignore the racism and ethnic cleansing, and Asia and Africa’s colonized nations fought for their independence and showed the discrimination in the colonial system. The Civil Rights Movement in the US criticized the assimilation ideals that led to prejudices and discrimination.
Supporters of multiculturalism see it as a fair system that gives people their rights to express who they are regardless of the society they live in. The anti-discrimination laws present in all parts of the world support multiculturalism and argue that culture is not a definable thing based on religion and race.
- “Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
- “The deal with multiculturalism is that the only culture you're allowed to disapprove of is your own.” ― Martin Amis
- “Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, its rhythm. But try to march together with men of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world.” - Helder Camara Spiral Of Violence
The Habsburg monarchy which broke up in 1918 is one of the most popular multi-ethnic empires. Under its roof were many different religious, linguistic and ethnic groups and the foundations of this structure was the principle to ‘live and let live’. Canada is known as the originator of multiculturalism because of its focus and the emphasis it puts on the importance of immigration. The world is more multicultural than ever. South Africa recognizes 11 different languages. In Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, places of worship of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism, Islam and Orthodox Judaism can be seen within walking distance of 1.3 km.
Some of the arguments for multiculturalism are higher level of tolerance toward minorities, more peaceful societies, the opportunity to learn about different cultures and different languages, a chance to try new foods and learn about new customs, a broader picture of how other people think and live, etc.
Opponents of multiculturalism believe that this will cause higher potential unemployment rates, government expenses, sovereign debt, radical movements, etc.