The Question of Multiculturalism

multiculturalismThe United States has always been a nation of many cultures and groups of people, who all contribute to make it the unique nation it is. However, as the diversity of cultures has increased and spread in the past several years, views on the matter have become more one-sided. Also in recent years, other Western nations have moved in a similar direction towards a multicultural society.

Reactions of citizens to these once homogeneous places now housing various groups of people from different cultures and places, has been mixed. Some people see this movement as a large step towards the future, a world that is truly one, where superficial barriers of language, culture, and ethnicity can be broken down.

Others believe that multiculturalism is a concept that sounds nice in theory but has not worked, and will not work well in practice. They think that artificially placing disparate groups in one place will only cause conflict, cultural clash, and competition over whose way of life will prevail. In addition, those whose history and roots derive solely from one nation fear that their own cultural practices will be lost as people converge to create one multicultural society.

My own views on this matter are conflicted; I can see where those who stand strongly on either side of the spectrum are coming from. There is no reason the U.S., Germany or any other Western nation should be reserved solely for those “true” people –Americans, Germans, or others whose families have resided in those areas for centuries. Immigrants can and do add positively to the areas in which they emigrate, contributing new perspectives and bringing their own talents, as well as becoming productive citizens. At the same time, I think the manner and rate in which some nations have gone about creating a multicultural society has been haphazard and unsustainable. New groups should be integrated, rather than thrust into a new nation where they may not have the background or skills to become successful. Without proper integration some groups risk becoming the fringe of a society, always remaining outsiders and disadvantaged, which would have negative effects for all. I also believe that societies which embrace multiculturalism could incorporate new cultures without doing away completely with their current way of life.

What are your thoughts on multiculturalism in Western nations, its pros and cons?