Monday, 23 November 2015

Multiculturalism and why I love it.

Phew, this will be my first blog post that is not related to technology this year. I have gone 11 months without writing about anything that is not related to technology.

Well... What I want to write about is why I am such a big fan of multiculturalism. To talk about multiculturalism first we need to define what exactly it is:
Multiculturalism describes the existence, acceptance, or promotion of multiple cultural traditions within a single jurisdiction, usually considered in terms of the culture associated with an ethnic group. This can happen when a jurisdiction is created or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada) or through immigration from different jurisdictions around the world (e.g. Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, United States, United Kingdom, and many other countries). 
Multicultural ideologies and policies vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group to which they belong. - From Wikipedia-multiculturalism

I would just add one more thing, multiculturalism is a goal, not a means or a process. This is not a discussion on how well multiculturalism currently functions in place XY. In recent events it certainly takes a lot of strong will to keep your hope in humanity and the idea of multiculturalism.

I think that the best way to explain on why I like multiculturalism is to mention some of the opposites of multiculturalism. So, what do we have at the opposite side of multiculturalism:
-prejudice, intolerance, inhumanity, brutality, isolationism, misunderstanding, wars, authoritarianism, big brother, dictatorships and ultimately all of that leads to nazism. And that is only just among other things.

Also the argument that some cultures are superior to or more valuable than others is moot. Firstly it is very subjective on which culture is superior. Secondly, sure the west might be superior in some ways to other cultures but only at this moment. 1000 years ago for instance the Islamic world was more progressive both culturally and technologically, there was tolerance to atheists, different religions and tolerance to different cultures.  Meanwhile in Europe at that time we had forced baptizing, an all out war against heretics and everyone who was "different". It was a culture of violence back then. What happened to islam is that all the bad things that I have mentioned in the paragraph above had take over. So, you can't guarantee that western culture will be 'superior' in 100 years. Furthermore if we let the bad things take over we might become just like modern islamic culture, defensive, stuck in our ancient ways and aggressive.

But that is enough about the negatives, let's talk about the positives. 

Multiculturalism promotes peace. Let us look at the example of Europe. Before WWII, Europe was the continent that was the most riddled with wars and with intercultural hate and misunderstanding. After WWII the people in Europe(myself included) and their leaders have finally learned their lesson and they decided that they must do something to stop the wars in Europe. So they decided to form the European union, with multiculturalist policies at its heart. As a result Europe became maybe even the most peaceful continent of modern civilisation.

Another very important and my favourite reason on why I like multiculturalism is that multiculturalism 'expands' my perception of the real world. I.e. if you were born in the English speaking world, you probably know English. And you know your way with people in the English speaking world. Everything else is actually pretty closed for you. However, I who also know German, I also know my way around the German speaking world.  I can go to Berlin as a tourist and enjoy everything that Germans do. I can read German newspapapers, I can read German web sites. I can go to German forums and take part in flame wars on German. I can even make German friends, easier than to force them to speak English. I even took part in a beginner class of Japanese, though my Japanese skills are still not that good.

The conclusion about multiculturalism is that you should think long term. Very long term. You should think in decades and centuries. You should also think about, how could we ever reach the famous "star trek society".

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