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Putting multiculturalism in perspective

 
 
rayban1
 
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 08:45 am
The multiculturalist view that tolerance of all things is good is being mugged by reality. They must face the fact that their view is not reciprocated by creating tolerance in other cultures.



August 8, 2005
Cultures Aren't Equal
By Michael Barone

Anyone who has been keeping up with British opinion since the July 7 bombings will have noticed that "multiculturalism" is under sharp attack.

Multiculturalism preaches that we should allow and encourage immigrants and their children to maintain and celebrate their own culture apart from the national culture. Society should be not a melting pot but, in the phrase of former New York Mayor David Dinkins, "a gorgeous mosaic." That mosaic, of course, looks less gorgeous as people surveyed the work of the British-born-and-raised bombers.

In the past, Tony Blair has spoken favorably about multiculturalism. But on July 7, he struck a different note. "It is important, however, that the terrorists realize our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause the death and destruction of innocent people and impose their extremism on the world."

Sadly, the muticulturalist policies of Blair's Labor government and its Conservative predecessors gave refuge to preachers of Islamist hate in what some have called "Londonistan."
Article Continues Below

Even before the bombings that prompted second thoughts, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality said, "We need to assert that there is a core of Britishness," and the home secretary introduced English language tests for citizenship. Now, the Blair government has moved to expel Muslim clerics who preach hatred and terrorism, and the left-wing Guardian fired a writer who was a member of Hizb Ut Tahrir, a radical group that advocates a "clash of civilization" and urges Muslims to kill Jews.

Writers in other tolerant countries have been noticing the blowback from multiculturalism. The Dutch novelist Leon de Winter wrote that as traditional Calvinist discipline frayed and Muslim immigrants rejected Dutch tolerance, "the delicate mechanism of Holland's traditional tolerant society gradually lost its balance."

In The Age of Melbourne, Australia, Pamela Bone wrote, "Perhaps it is time to say, you are welcome, but this is the way it is here." The Age's Tony Parkinson quoted the French writer Jean Francois Revel's Cold War comment, "A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself." Tolerating intolerance, goodhearted people are beginning to see, does not necessarily produce tolerance in turn.

The conservative Telegraph of London ran a series of articles on extolling Britishness and placed on its website the contributions, positive as well as a few negative, of dozens of citizens. The nonagenarian W.F. Deedes, a journalist since the 1930s, perhaps summed it up best: "The reputation we have in distant lands, I have learned in my travels, is higher than we give ourselves. They admire us for our social stability, our parliamentary and diplomatic experience, for fair play, for tolerance, for a willingness to help lame dogs over stiles, as well as for some of the qualities Shakespeare sang about in his plays."

When I was in Britain for the election in May, I was surprised to hear nothing from Tony Blair (or other politicians) about Britain's positive contributions to the world. Now, they are being heard.

Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures are morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures, but in certain specific times and places -- mostly in Britain and America, but also in various parts of Europe.

In America, as in Britain, multiculturalism has become the fashion in large swathes of our society. So the Founding Fathers are presented only as slaveholders, World War II is limited to the internment of Japanese-Americans and the bombing of Hiroshima. Slavery is identified with America, though it has existed in every society and the antislavery movement arose first among English-speaking evangelical Christians.

But most Americans know there is something special about our cultural heritage. While Harvard and Brown are replacing scholars of the founding period with those studying other things, book-buyers are snapping up first-rate histories of the Founders by David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow.

Mutilculturalist intellectuals do not think our kind of society is worth defending. But millions here and increasing numbers in Britain and other countries know better.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 09:36 am
This is idiocy.

First of all, the best parts of our society come from contact with, and acceptance of other cultures.

Assuming you consider yourself Western European (and by citing "English and American" I think that is correct... look at where your culture came from.

Our science and technology depends on Algebra (developed by the Muslim culture (yes Muslim). Our predominant religion comes from the Semites (again from the same region as Islam) and took Monotheism, ideas of good and evil and heaven and hell from the Persians and others.

From the beginning, the success of our culture depeneded on getting trade and farming that were developed bhy others.

Every success we have had has come from multiculturalism, and each advance we has made has involved a merging of many different cultures we have merged with, learned from and even accepted.

Second of all the opposite of multiculturalism is tribalism-- the core of the worst parts of humanity

Tribalism has a simple message -- "My culture is superior to others (and conversely other tribes are inferior)."

The author of this article is saying, and the implication is that as most tribalists, he wants to go further. He is saying that other tribes living with us aren't as valuable and don't have the same rights.

The danger of this is easy to see from history. All of the great crimes of history came from societies that embraced tribalism-- from WWII to Rwanda to the Inquisition to countless massacres and persecutions.

But, The American culture has benefitted greatly from multiculturalism. My kids love tacos, learn algebra in school, eat tofu, enjoy canoes. I am also happy we live in walking distance to Churches, Mosques and a Hindu temple. It means they get exposure to many cultures.

Any society that has been exposed to other cultures has flourished. Societies who close themselves off with a smug sense of superiority degenerate.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:15 am
Quote:
Our science and technology depends on Algebra (developed by the Muslim culture (yes Muslim)


And not just algebra; the vast majority of our recorded scientific knowledge from ancient times survives thanks to the hard work of Persian and Muslim cultures.

Most of what we know about Ancient Greece, was found in Muslim libraries.

The thing that you don't realize, Ray, is that what starts out as a 'gorgeous mosaic' turns into a 'melting pot' over time. You probably have forgotten how fierce the rivalries were between Italian, Jewish, and Irish settlers of America; today these are a thing of the past.

The proper and correct response to Terrorism is not to freak out, as we have been doing; if you bother to research the turn of the century - the LAST century, Circa 1900 - you will find that Terrorism was a huge problem then, mostly by Eurpoeans and Whites. Our society got through that and we'll get through this, but the answer is not to insulate ourselves from the rest of the world.

Cycloptichorn

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:16 am
Nice that you gave an attribution for that screed . . . not . . .

Michael Barone, according to his own web site, is "a regular panelist on the McLaughlin Group, and is a contributor to the Fox News Channel."

It always helps to know who is writing something, and whether or not they might have an agenda.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:17 am
Ebrown wrote:
Any society that has been exposed to other cultures has flourished. Societies who close themselves off with a smug sense of superiority degenerate.


The first sentence is correct and the diversity of the American culture is proof of that as we continue to welcome immigrants of other cultures but the key to a healthy culture is integration and assimilation into one homogenous culture. The road to degeneration is creating and encouraging little enclaves of segregated cultures within the main culture which encourages contempt for the values of the main culture while placing the values of the segregated culture above those of the parent culture. This is the sure road to disintegration and divisiveness.

What has happened in the UK is evidence of what I speak and you willfully ignore that evidence. Since you obviously want to ignore evidence there is no way in hell that I can ever persuade you. Your first sentence using idiocy as a blunt battering ram is proof of your closed mind.

If you insist on presenting a closed mind.....please don't respond any
further.

The second sentence in your quote above may or may not be true. Japan is very near to being a closed culture because they discourage immigration and they certainly do not tolerate anyone who does not want to assimilate into their culture. They show no signs of degenerating into the tribal culture which you think is so bad.

What is so bad about America maintaining the status of the melting pot of the world where each new immigrant transforms into an American but is still welcome to practice their own religion but is loyal to their new neighbors and is loyal to their newly adopted country?

The death of our country will when it becomes the mosaic of Willy Dinkins, where each culture stays the same and no one wants to be an American.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:33 am
(First, If it matters to you, My blunt assessment is the sign of an open mind, not a closed one-- I read the article through and considered it before I decided it was idiocy.)

Your response does not reflect American history. New immigrants to the United States have often formed enclaves for a generation or two as they dicided how to assimilate.

Look at the Jewish immigrants (who had quite a difficult time in the US until recently). They accepted some of American culture, but much of it rejected (i.e. Christmas, easter and prayer in school). The Jewish "culture" including funeral rituals, kosher rules, holdiays are still quite strong, and quite distinct from other parts of America.

There are Jewish enclaves. I live near Brookline, MA which is an important community for Orthodox Jews. The community receives a lot of support from those of us who are not Jewish.

Do you remember Sandy Koufax-- and the problems he faced as a Jewish ball player? Do you think he should have done more to "assimilate"?

Is the fact that immigrants have remained Jewish-- with very different customs and practices- a bad thing, or a good thing?

This story has been repeated by Chinese, German, Irish and Cuban citizens. Each community had to decide how to assimilate and which parts of its culture to keep.

These distinct communities make America a much better place. The fact that we have bagpipes at funerals and kielbasa and egg rolls is a testament to that.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:43 am
EBrown

I have no argument with your last statement as long as those in the enclaves Have A Desire......to assimilate.

Do you agree that new immigrants should want to assimilate into our society and should want to become Americans?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:49 am
Quote:
EBrown

I have no argument with your last statement as long as those in the enclaves Have A Desire......to assimilate.

Do you agree that new immigrants should want to assimilate into our society and should want to become Americans?


You should realize that it is generally children born in America, 2nd generation+ immigrants, who do the assimilating.

My girlfriend for example is ethnically Hindi; but she was born and raised here in Texas and is an American.

It is a slow process! Culture takes time to change within familial groups, which leads to change within societal groups. Trying to force people to change rarely works, but giving them positive reasons to do so (re: acceptance in society for youth) is a huge motivator.

Cycloptichorn

ps Japan may discourage immigration, but they are hardly an insular society; they have taken some of our best ideas into their fold and profited immensely from them, a huge change from their previous Imperialist status in just a short time; generally this is seen as a sign of flexibility and adaptability, not weakness.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:49 am
BBB
bm
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:49 am
Quote:
If you insist on presenting a closed mind.....please don't respond any further.

Gotta love that statement, it's such a acceptance of assimilation.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 10:56 am
The entire assumption here seems to be that "assimilation" means becoming a carbon copy of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant white boy. I am reminded of the scene in Shaw's play about Joan of Arc in which the prosecution claims that Joan was in league with the devil, as shown by the fact that her "voices" spoke to her in French. That was too much even for the shill running that kangaroo court, and he asked if it were expected that St. Catherine and St. Margaret would have spoken in Latin. To which the startled prosecurtor replied no, they would have spoken English . . .
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:01 am
Rayban,

What do you mean by the phrase "want to assimilate into our society and ... become Americans"?

Can Jewish people celebrate Hunnukah instead of Christmas and go to Synagogues instead of Churches? Can Muslims have space for prayer? Can we still visit Chinatown? What about green beer at St. Patricks day.

Which one of us is American? Some of my family has been in North America for over 300 years-- I think I can claim "Americaness" as much as anyone. Yet, I bet the traditions of my family (which include infusions from rounds German, Irish and Mexican migration) are quite a bit different from your.

I don't know what you want me to agree with. I like the fact that you can still find distinct cultures within the greater US.

But what are the practical consequences of your point of view?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:07 am
Setanta wrote:
Nice that you gave an attribution for that screed . . . not . . .

Michael Barone, according to his own web site, is "a regular panelist on the McLaughlin Group, and is a contributor to the Fox News Channel."

It always helps to know who is writing something, and whether or not they might have an agenda.


Of course it always easier to just dismiss the author instead of discussing the article. There must be some term for that, I wonder what it could be?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:11 am
For that, i couldn't say . . . maybe you could give a name for the false suggestion that someone has not addressed to topic, as i did . . .
0 Replies
 
rhythm synergy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:14 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Rayban,

What do you mean by the phrase "want to assimilate into our society and ... become Americans"?


I agree, ebrown. How would you absolutely know that an immigrant has assimilated the prevailing society? Is it when the person knows English, then you can say, 'that person is american or candian or british, for sure!'

I can speak from experience. I immigrated to Canada 10 years ago. I still feel like a filipino, talk like a filipino, eat filipino food. But I go to a Canadian Univesity, speak English fluently and on the way to speaking french. Have I assimilated the Canadian society?

But I think we're getting off topic a bit. There's no doubt that terrorism has impacted the way people perceive and accept multiculturalism. After 9/11, Canada started limiting accepting immigrants from Philippines (i don't know abt other countries) . It's much harder to get Visas.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:19 am
rhythm.synergy wrote:
ebrown_p wrote:
Rayban,

What do you mean by the phrase "want to assimilate into our society and ... become Americans"?


I agree, ebrown. How would you absolutely know that an immigrant has assimilated the prevailing society? Is it when the person knows English, then you can say, 'that person is american or candian or british, for sure!'

I can speak from experience. I immigrated to Canada 10 years ago. I still feel like a filipino, talk like a filipino, eat filipino food. But I go to a Canadian Univesity, speak English fluently and on the way to speaking french. Have I assimilated the Canadian society?

But I think we're getting off topic a bit. There's no doubt that terrorism has impacted the way people perceive and accept multiculturalism. After 9/11, Canada started limiting accepting immigrants from Philippines (i don't know abt other countries) . It's much harder to get Visas.


Do you enjoy poutine? I do not believe you will be truly assimilated until you do...
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:28 am
Quote:
What do you mean by the phrase "want to assimilate into our society and ... become Americans"?


Your are dodging my question with this answer .......... I think you know exactly what I mean.

Quote:
But what are the practical consequences of your point of view?


What is "my point of view"? You infer you already know my point of view and therefore you know the consequences. I am therefore supposed to fall into some imagined trap that you have laid for me. Come on.....get real.

You are instead narrowing the parameters of your claim that the article is idiocy. Would you please give us an intellectual dissertation on why you chose the word Idiocy in a non-intellectual attempt to bludgeon me into accepting your argument
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:43 am
No. Rayban. I am not dodging your question.

I am half asking a sincere question -- i.e. "how do you define American and what does an immigrant have to give up to become one"? ... and half pointing out that your definition of what it means to be American is different than ours.

There are Cuban Americans in Miami who have trouble speaking English (and go for months without needed to)... they like Salsa, eat Arroz con pollo-- yet they are Americans.

You would probably feel "foreign" if you spent time in their community, yet they are citizens and have every right that you or I do.

I suspect that when you say all immigrant should desire to "assimlate and become Americans" means that the Cuban community should become more like Topeka, Kansas (i.e. English, hot dogs and football players who carry the ball in their hands).

If that is what you mean... then I strongly disagree with you. I like the fact that Miami is different than Brooklyn which is different than Germantown and Salt Lake city.

What makes America for me is our freedom-- namely the freedom of speech and religion.

The ability of immigrants to retain distinct cultures and live in communities that support them is part of this freedom.

Is this what you mean?

P.S. I retract my claim that the ideas in the original article are idiocy.
0 Replies
 
rhythm synergy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 11:52 am
McGentrix wrote:

Do you enjoy poutine? I do not believe you will be truly assimilated until you do...


YES! I love them. Who doesn't?!?!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Aug, 2005 12:03 pm
I don't love the poutine you get at Burger King or Wendy's, but many small diners have excellent poutine.

Thomas Nast is still a well-known figure in American history for his political cartoons. He is touted for his opposition to Tammany Hall and "Boss" Tweed, a corrupt Democratic political machine. What isn't taught is that he was opposed to them because they were Irish and Catholic. He displayed no similar outrage against the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Republican machine.

I have an image below, which is unfortunately rather poor, but i had trouble finding it. I suspect that is because people focus on Nast and the Tammany Hall debacle. It shows American orphans under assault by crocodiles who are in fact Catholic bishops, their mitres being portrayed as the gaping jaws of crocodiles . . .

http://www.historyteacher.net/USProjects/DBQs2000/Images/AmericanRiverCartoon.jpg

There were no state- or city-sponsored orphanages in New York in his day. Therefore, orphans were often put into Catholic orphanages, with which the city was well-supplied, thanks to the generosity of the church and especially of the parishoners, many of whom were poor themselves, but nevertheless contributed to those institutions. Nast's objection was that these children would be subverted and polluted from the true Anglo-Saxon Protestant values of America. It seems to me that we have not progressed beyond such a mindset, if we still talk about assimilation, and suggest that there is a single standard by which one can be adjudged to have become American. Crucial to a discussion of this topic is what precisely any participant means by assimilation and being "American."
0 Replies
 
 

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