Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

My Photo
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, November 03, 2005

on multiculturalism

In looking at material on the riots in Paris, I came across this very long but well written article. It deals with the ‘why’ of the riots, among other things. The original is here.

What I want to write about here is multiculturalism. A lot of Canadians, especially the members of government, pride themselves on being multicultural but don’t really know what it means or what its consequences are. The way the government handles multiculturalism is to separate and set apart each culture, ostensibly to celebrate it but also to keep it separate, so it doesn’t get mixed in with the ‘rest of Canada’. However, if you keep a culture separate and apart, it stagnates.

All cultures, including a ‘Canadian’ culture, are living, growing things. The English language is a great example, especially compared with French. English accepts other words into it and grows and becomes something a bit different from what it was but different ‘better’. French language custodians resist any change and French only has 35,000 words
with which to allow people to express themselves, whereas English now has 500,000 words.

Also, separation of cultures is the same as apartheid and that didn’t work in South Africa, nor in the United States before the civil rights movement. Attempts to keep groups of people separate are misguided whether their intentions are noble (helping a culture to survive) or base (prejudice against that culture or people). And usually, only the might of government makes the separation of cultures possible. People can try to avoid each other but it takes government interference to make it “work”.

In Canada, we have the shameful government interference with aboriginal people that separated them out of mainstream society for base motives and now those peoples, those cultures are stuck in a marginal existence. Of course, having been separate for so long, they fear being integrated into mainstream society. But I like to look at the Jewish culture and see how it has survived for millennia against all efforts to separate them or even eliminate them, and with no government assistance in keeping their culture alive. I stand in awe and admiration of the Jewish people and I think they should be used as a shining example of how to have many cultures existing together without government interference.

Go read the article.


Anonymous EllenAlice said...

Perhaps I am naive, but I see Canadian multiculturalism in a different light (other than the aboriginal situation).

I see it as distinctly Canadian (although the first part probably comes from our British heritage). On the one hand is our collective handwringing and worry about offending *anyone* and on the other is the distinctly Canadian capacity for finding something to complain about.

A perfect example of this would be the media-made issue of the problems of having an election during the Chinese New Year, which blind-sided Jack Layton this week. (hahahahaha - the irony!)

11:04 a.m., November 12, 2005  
Blogger JuliaR said...

Oh Canadian culture does exist and I think it has many nuances. I was writing more about “official multiculturalism” - state-imposed diversity. Of course, we all know how well state-imposed anything works.

I wasn’t aware of the Layton-new years thing! That’s hilarious.

People (and media are people too) invent their own issues, that’s for sure. And for all that they criticise main stream media, bloggers invent issues too. I visit regularly because I appreciate the subjects brought up there, but this blog has its own agenda like all the rest and fails to criticise the conservatives or their leaders. Everyone can do with some judicious criticism from time to time and politicians most especially can use criticism. Of course, those of us who are perfect live with the burden of being perfect and must hold ourselves apart from the general melee. [That’s a wink there. ;) ]

11:50 a.m., November 12, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home