Multiculturalism

Some see multiculturalism as a positive end in and of itself, arguing that the sharing of beliefs, ideas, customs, and cultures will lead to greater respect for our differences and aid in human flourishing by ensuring the best among all cultures is shared. Others, however, argue that too great a diversity of ideas or cultures in one place together can lead to competing values systems and belief systems trying to operate in the same space, thus creating chaos or violent power struggles, or the eradication of one culture altogether.

Some warn that multiculturalism actually leads to homogeneity — that without firm boundaries, one culture will dominate, effectively eradicating other cultures and beliefs. Others argue that multiple cultures can and should exist together in harmony in order to impart benefits of shared ideas and customs to all.

Liberals tend to embrace multiculturalism, while conservatives are often concerned that multiculturalism may mean eradicating established value hierarchies, customs, beliefs and standards. Liberals tend to emphasize the importance of recognizing the value and contribution of all cultures to societies, and the importance of being culturally literate and inclusive and accepting of people of all backgrounds. There is an emphasis on protecting and honoring those who are marginalized in a mainstream culture. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to caution against multiculturalism, as they see the mixing of numerous cultures under one "roof," so to speak, as really being a pathway to homogeneity, in which one culture will naturally come to dominate, eradicating all others, or a new type of culture coming to dominance altogether. In this view, truly preserving multiple cultures requires maintaining clear boundaries between them, particularly geographically.

Contributors: 

John Kesler, Julie Mastrine

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