Multicultural Diversity day takes place annually on 15 October. The term multiculturalism (Multicultural Diversity) has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for “ethnic pluralism”, whereby various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist (such as New York City) or a single country within which they do (such as Switzerland, Belgium or Russia). Groups associated with an aboriginal or autochthonous ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus.
In reference to sociology, multiculturalism is the end-state of either a natural or artificial process (for example: legally-controlled immigration) and occurs on either a large national scale or on a smaller scale within a nation’s communities. On a smaller scale this can occur artificially when a jurisdiction is established or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada). On a large scale, it can occur as a result of either legal or illegal migration to and from different jurisdictions around the world (for example, Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain by Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the 5th century or the colonization of the Americas by Europeans, Africans and Asians since the 16th century. The term multiculturalism is most often used in reference to Western nation-states, which had seemingly achieved a de facto single national identity during the 18th and/or 19th centuri. Multiculturalism has been official policy in several Western nations since the 1970s, for reasons that varied from country to country, including the fact that many of the great cities of the Western world are increasingly made of a mosaic of cultures.
Multiculturalism as a political philosophy involves ideologies and policies ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, policies of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, and policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group to which they belong. Multiculturalism that promotes maintaining the distinctiveness of multiple cultures is often contrasted to other settlement policies such as social integration, cultural assimilation and racial segregation. Multiculturalism has been described as a “salad bowl” or “cultural mosaic”in contrast to a melting pot.
Two different and seemingly inconsistent strategies have developed through different government policies and strategies. The first focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures; this approach is also often known as interculturalism. The second centers on diversity and cultural uniqueness, which can sometimes[quantify] result in intercultural competition over jobs (among other things) and may lead to ethnic conflict. Discussions surrounding the issue of cultural isolation may address the ghettoization of a culture within a nation and the protection of the cultural attributes of an area or of a nation. Proponents of government policies often claim that artificial, government-guided protections also contribute to global cultural diversity. Another approach to multiculturalist policy-making maintains that society avoid presenting any specific ethnic, religious, or cultural community values as central.
In the political philosophy of multiculturalism, ideas are focused on the ways in which societies are either believed to or should, respond to cultural and religious differences. It is often associated with “identity politics”, “the politics of difference”, and “the politics of recognition”. It is also a matter of economic interests and political power. Recently political multiculturalist ideologies have been expanding in their use to include and define disadvantaged groups such as African Americans, LGBT, ethnic and religious minorities, minority nations, indigenous peoples and disabled people. It is within this context in which the term is most commonly understood and the broadness and scope of the definition, as well as its practical use, has been the subject of serious debate.
Most debates over multiculturalism center around whether or not multiculturalism is the appropriate way to deal with diversity and immigrant integration. The arguments regarding the perceived rights to a multicultural education include the proposition that it acts as a way to demand recognition of aspects of a group’s culture subordination and its entire experience in contrast to a melting pot or non-multicultural societies.
The Canadian government has often been described as the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. The Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is often referred to as the origins of modern political awareness of multiculturalism. In the Western English-speaking countries, multiculturalism as an official national policy started in Canada in 1971, followed by Australia in 1973 where it is maintained today. It was adopted as official policy by most member-states of the European Union. In light of recent terrorist attacks Some right-of-center governments in a number European states have returned to an official monoculture. A similar reversal is being debated in the United Kingdom, among others, due to evidence of incipient segregation and anxieties over “home-grown” terrorists. A number of heads heads-of-state or heads-of-government have expressed doubts and voiced concerns about the success of multicultural policies for integrating immigrants including United Kingdom’s ex-Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia’s ex-prime minister John Howard, Spanish ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy
Many nation-states in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are culturally diverse and are ‘multicultural’ in a descriptive sense. In some, communalism is a major political issue. The policies adopted by these states often have parallels with multiculturalist policies in the Western world, but the historical background is different, and the goal may be a mono-cultural or mono-ethnic nation-building – for instance in the Malaysian government’s attempt to create a ‘Malaysian race’ by 2020.
People of Indian origin have been able to achieve a high demographic profile in India Square, Jersey City, New Jersey, US, which is known as Little Bombay, and is home to the highest concentration of Asian Indians in the Western Hemisphere and one of at least 24 such enclaves which have emerged within the New York City Metropolitan Area, with the largest metropolitan Indian population outside Asia, as large-scale immigration from India continues into New York, through the support of the surrounding community.
Multiculturalism is seen by its supporters as a fairer system that allows people to truly express who they are within a society, that is more tolerant and that adapts better to social issues. They argue that culture is not one definable thing based on one race or religion, but rather the result of multiple factors that change as the world changes. Historically, support for modern multiculturalism stems from the changes in Western societies after World War II, in what Susanne Wessendorf calls the “human rights revolution”, in which the horrors of institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing became almost impossible to ignore in the wake of the Holocaust; with the collapse of the European colonial system, as colonized nations in Africa and Asia successfully fought for their independence and pointed out the discriminatory underpinnings of the colonial system; and, in the United States in particular, with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, which criticized ideals of assimilation that often led to prejudices against those who did not act according to Anglo-American standards and which led to the development of academic ethnic studies programs as a way to counteract the neglect of contributions by racial minorities in classrooms. multiculturalism in Western countries was seen to combat racism, to protect minority communities of all types, and to undo policies that had prevented minorities from having full access to the opportunities for freedom and equality promised by the liberalism that has been the hallmark of Western societies since the Age of Enlightenment. The contact hypothesis in sociology is a well documented phenomenon in which cooperative interactions with those from a different group than one’s own reduce prejudice and inter-group hostility.
Many argue that multiculturalism is valuable because it “uses several disciplines to highlight neglected aspects of our social history, particularly the histories of women and minorities and promotes respect for the dignity of the lives and voices of the forgotten. By closing gaps, by raising consciousness about the past, multiculturalism aims to restore a sense of wholeness in a postmodern era that fragments human life and thought and it is form of integration” that best fits the ideal of egalitarianism, and has “the best chance of succeeding”
However others argue that multiculturalism equates to racial minorities “demanding special rights” and to see it as promoting a “thinly veiled racism And that multiculturalism is not about minorities” but rather the proper terms of relationship between different cultural communities. The standards by which the communities resolve their differences, should also come “through an open and equal dialogue between cultures rather than just one culture. multiculturalism has also been described as “differentialist racism”, that is a covert form of racism that does not purport ethnic superiority as much as it asserts stereotypes of perceived “incompatibility of life-styles and tradition. There is research that suggests that ethnic diversity increases chances of war, lowers public goods provision and decreases democratization, however there is also research that shows that ethnic diversity in itself is not detrimental to peace, public goods provision or democracy.