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Does multiculturalism help societies? Show more Show less
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While countries used to be united by commonalities - a common culture, religion, or even ethnicity - immigration and globalization have created blended societies, ones that are culturally heterogeneous. Increasingly, this diversity of culture is being celebrated, rather than focusing on assimilating. Does cultural heterogeneity benefit society? And at what—if any—cost?

Yes, if different cultures share a foundational commitment to logic and reason. Show more Show less

Multicultural societies will often disagree on how to run themselves. Protecting people’s rights to hold and express different views, and openness to criticism and rebuttal, are crucial for the benefits of multiculturalism to be realised.
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People will learn to respect each other and their respective cultures

In a multicultural society that protects people's differences, people will be forced to come together and learn to respect each other. Collective and productive discourse amongst everyone, regardless of background or culture, will cause everyone to become better together.
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The Argument

In a multicultural society, the numerous differences between people can either be a source of conflict or a reason to come together. The difference between these two scenarios comes down to how much respect and tolerance different groups have for each other. In a society where free speech and the freedom to hold different views from the majority are protected, people will eventually come to respect each other and their differences. Although there may be much dissonance initially (especially between older generations), some theorize that societies where "respect" for multiculturalism is taught in all schools would help to bridge the gap between different groups of people. Teaching respect for others’ differences from a young age is certainly easier than attempting to force acceptance or respect later in life. And when respect for others is the norm, then conflict between different groups becomes far less common. For example, in the United States, one of the most diverse nations in the world, people of the younger generations are typically more accepting of others’ cultures and differences. The Pew Research Center notes that Generation Z (those born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s) are not only the best educated and most diverse generation to date, but also the most accepting of others (racially, culturally, etc.). With respect to the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, 61% of Generation Z agrees with the protests versus 37% of Baby Boomers.[1] One possible cause for this generational difference is that Generation Z has been around such diversity for all of their lives while this was certainly not the case for the Baby Boomers. A multicultural society forces people to come to terms with others’ differences, and ultimately, with time, causes people to respect such differences. Multiculturalism helps society as it engenders acceptance and respect for all, and leads to less conflict between people.

Counter arguments

It is wrong to assume that all people will come to respect each other's differences. This certainly becomes a problem with respect to religion, where many doctrines have been at war for thousands of years and even call for persecution of other groups. One should consider the feasibility of everyone respecting each other. Unfortunately, as utopian as this ideal may be, it is not rooted in historical precedence. Another thing which must be considered is the indoctrination of acceptance and multiculturalism in schools. Which groups would be included in the syllabus? There are almost innumerable different groups, and unfortunately, it would be close to impossible to cover even the minority at a cursory level. Although it certainly is an admirable ideal, in large societies, for everyone to respect each other is currently unrealistic.

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Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/11/15/early-benchmarks-show-post-millennials-on-track-to-be-most-diverse-best-educated-generation-yet/

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 23 Jul 2020 at 15:47 UTC