Reaction Paper on Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism, historically has been a source of conflict especially when cultural difference is used as a basis for determining who gets what, why and how. So it is good to give a definition: multiculturalism can at best be described “as a broad set of mutually reinforcing approaches or methodologies concerning the incorporation and participation of immigrants and ethnic minorities and their modes of cultural and religious difference.”
Multiculturalism is not new, because countries have lived with several cultures, sometimes for centuries, and it was a way of living without problem. But there is a new question of multiculturalism which is clearly linked to recent migrations. The end of the colonial time, and the movement of population which followed, the globalization of the economy and increased movements of migrants, all this had many countries to think in terms of multiculturalism.
Cultural differences do not and should not mean “cultural battle. Multiculturalism does not mean: accept everything and teach nothing. Multiculturalism means integration with respect. Multiculturalism is a way of living together peacefully. But this statement does not say how this is possible and on which issue we have to be careful, and which should be the policy of the state.
Each country has to find its own system. Multiculturalism must be translated in practical measures. There is also the transformation of cultures themselves, which can be more or less open to multiculturalism. The religious factor is here very important in many contexts because of its relation to culture. It becomes a political issue, because it is linked to cultural identity, and sometimes to national identity. It often revolves around the question of separation of state and religion. This separation is an essential principle, but it’s not always practiced, and sometimes, it is even rejected. And when rejected, religion tends then to get more importance. Religion tends to become more fundamentalist in the face of social crisis or national frustration, which often makes multiculturalism impossible.
When we talk of the ideal of multiculturalism in enabling social change, the question of leadership. Only when we factor in this historic process of the struggle for hegemony (and, by extension, for state power) among groups can we really begin a substantive discussion on the cognitive and pedagogical value of multiculturalism for “third world” societies where, in most cases, the violence of the neocolonial state often supervenes over a polymorp