The belief or the idea that distinct cultural groups be included as well as embraced by societies in the modern times is known as multiculturalism. It also holds the claim that these cultural groups should also be granted with equal political and cultural standing as diversities in the cultural and ethnic level of societies is held to be a reinforcing element in the identity of a culture or the nationhood of any given society (Berliner, 2002).
For example, multiculturalism in Canada is maintained as a fundamental principle in the belief of the equality of all citizens inasmuch as each citizen is granted with the right of keeping their identities. It emphasizes the significance of being able to take pride in the ancestry of individuals and the importance of having a sense of belonging to a certain cultural group. In the universities and other educational institutions in America’s public life, multiculturalism’s force is expanding as it also views all cultures as equal in value, from tribes that worship spirits to a civilization engrossed over the advanced industries.
The debates on multiculturalism There is the standing debate on the credibility and the usefulness of the views on multiculturalism, especially when juxtaposed in the face of industrialized and developed countries. The point of comparison between advanced civilizations to that of ancient tribes reflects the notion that multiculturalism attempts to obliterate the value achieved by the former generation.
This crucial idea rests on the belief that multiculturalism brings down the achievements of an industrialized civilization by pursuing the precept that such a civilization is, nevertheless, still equal to primitive tribalism or that such a civilization is no better than the ancient tribesmen that are way below the technological aspect of development. Moreover, there is a standing sharp criticism on the principles being put forward by multiculturalism.
Although it may appear that what multiculturalism holds is a sacred duty towards other men, it is criticized for breaking the capacity of the mind to differentiate the things that promote the life of citizens from those that degrade the quality of living (Hull & Berliner, 2002). There is also the standing belief that multiculturalism has been an imposed doctrine on people without their consent, often feared for the possibility of it bringing forth cultural ghettos inasmuch as it is feared as well to undermine national unity in the process.
For example, opponents of multiculturalism in Europe see its doctrines as a straightforward assault on the identity pf the nation and, far more devastatingly, on the nation itself as it is held to be a sort of conspiracy to “Islamise” the rest of Europe. Another illustration of the existing debates over the concerns being brought forward by multiculturalism can be observed from the perspective of the United States.
Among the dominant criticisms that are existing in the minds of a number of Americans include the perceptions of liberal individualism, national unity, and conservatives in America having great concern over values. One of the many critics of multiculturalismj include Ayn Rand. She maintained that the tenets of multiculturalism will bring the ethnic “Balkanization”, or the fragmenting of the society into several ethnic factions, derived from the ethnic revival during the latter part of the 1960s.
This “Balkanization” is feared to eventually destroy societies that are industrial in the modern world. As she holds that multiculturalism is a form of a culturally determinist collectivism, it has been maintained that in such case the individual person are deprived of free choice on their actions and that they are irreversibly conditioned by the society at large (Tracinski, 2002). In essence, Ayn Rand argues that multiculturalism destroys the notion of free will in the process of the development of individuals in the societies they exist.
Multiculturalism and parenting In societies where there is an existing discrimination on the part of several ethnic and religious minorities, there are problems that beset the status of parenting and childcare process. For the most part, the rearing of children in small societies where there is a perceived discrimination on the racial background of individuals is seen to be hardly achieved in the sense that there are factors that limit the capacity of parents to expose their children to what lies beyond the walls of their residence (Institute, 2002).
In communities where there are quite a number of existing ethnic minorities that thrive and meddle with other races, it is a usual sight to observe children being treated as non-equals. For example, in a society where the standing majority is composed of a certain ethnicity, it is apparent that those children that belong to ethnic minorities will have a difficult time adjusting to their environment composed of individuals who are not of their own kind. Further, the issue of employment among ethnic minorities in urban territories is also of a great concern when analyzed throughout the process.
When a given society takes much priority of employing citizens who naturally belong to the majority of the society in terms of racial background, it results to a displacement of ethnic minorities to certain degrees. This, in turn, results to a poor employment status of the minorities thereby diminishing their chances of being able to provide for the needs of their families especially the needs of their growing children. The effects of multiculturalism is perceived to include both immediate and long-term effects where the consequences are felt in varying levels.
Nevertheless, the argument remains that no matter how big or small the degree of the racial indifferences existing in these societies the economic displacement of racial minorities in multicultural societies is one problem that beset childcare and parenting (Locke, 2002). There are also disturbing effects to the rest of the population of a society when certain races are mixed with the rest of the citizenry. For example, when tribesmen are placed quite literally within the proximity of the urban people, the effects can be quite appalling.
There are certain practices of tribesmen that are “unusual” to the status quo of the modern societies that in turn create a negative impression on the part of these people coming from a tribal background. The positive side Apart from the negative implications brought forward by multiculturalism on the issue of parenting and childcare, it also has positive effects. These positive consequences of having a population of individuals coming from a number of different cultures are rooted on several factors.
One primary element in bringing up a positive consequence to parenting is taken from the observation that in raising children from a community of various racial backgrounds the child essentially learns how to interact with the presence of children from other races. At a young age, the child begins to have an understanding on how it is to live with “other” people, having a sense of “oneness” amidst ethnic differences (Schwartz, 2002). Once this is instilled at such a budding age, the child eventually grows with a heart for people who are different from his or her cultural preferences that include religion and race.
Building positive relationship with parents Constant interaction between parents coming from a variety of ethnic backgrounds can be a big help in fostering the relationship between them. It preempts possible conflicts in the future inasmuch as it establishes a form of bond between the, most often through mutual means such as exchange of thoughts and ideas through expression and direct communication. When parents are prompted to raise their children in the presence of other ethnicities, they learn as well the other side of looking at the crucial roles of parenting, that there are other ways of rearing children as well.
Though these types of child rearing may appear unfamiliar and quite odd in ways that are beyond the usual practices within the society, nevertheless it instills in the minds of these parents that there, too, are other approaches in parenting. Inasmuch as these “new” strands of childcare may also prove to be one learning experience for these parents, it opens up their sensibilities and minds in bringing into consciousness an unbiased and unprejudiced perception towards other ethnicities. Critical insights
The two opposing poles in the perception towards multiculturalism are weighed in such a manner that both have impacts on both the short-run and in the long-term process, especially in the context of parenting and childcare. Quite apart from their perceived variations and contrasting consequences, it must be noted that the relative value of multiculturalism in the field of parenting and childcare are contextually dependent. That is, several factors are yet to be considered in order to realize a substantial analysis on the effects of multiculturalism.
It is not always the case that the principles being upheld by multiculturalism are engrossed with hues of racism inasmuch as it can also be seen as one that is imbibed with all sorts of negative implications (Schwartz, 2002). For the most part, the concept of a multicultural society can be flexed according to the needs of the community and of the parents. It can be utilized as a tool in acquiring a broader understanding on the prerequisites of parenting, especially in societies where its borders are slowly diminishing and that “outside” citizens are slowly pouring in.
The inevitability of having a society of varying cultures is as clear as crystal. Especially during these days wherein the population growth has exceeded the rate from the past decades or so, the theoretical issues of multiculturalism are becoming a major concern in the practical aspect of communities trying to cope with the expansion of its borders.
Berliner, M. S. (2002). On Columbus Day, Celebrate Western Civilization, Not Multiculturalism. Impact, 2-3. Hull, G., & Berliner, M. S. (2002). Diversity and Multiculturalism: The New Racism. Impact, 9. Institute, A. R. (2002). Multiculturalism: An Assault on the Individual. Impact, 1-2. Locke, E. A. (2002). The Greatness of Western Civilization. Impact, 4. Schwartz, P. (2002). Back to the Dark Ages? : Today’s Attacks on Reason, Individualism and Progress. Impact, 3. Tracinski, R. (2002). The Assault on Ability: Jesse Jackson’s Campaign for Racial “Right to Capital” Favors Race Over Ability. Impact, 5.