Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The real meaning of "Multiculturalism"

Josephus sent me a link to an excellent article in The Spectator entitled "What multiculturalism really means." Written by Shiraz Maher, it is a riposte to an earlier post in the Guardian attacking "Right-wingers" for their "intolerance of 'non-indigenous' people chosen to represent Britain in the Games." Rightly, Shiraz Maher takes the author of that article to task. As he says, she is conflating two separate issues here. No one is opposed to immigrants from anywhere, what the majority are opposed to is those who come to the UK with no intention of adapting - note, I do NOT say changing - to the British culture. The sportsmen and women who are representing Britain in the Games are a perfect example of the kind of immigrant everyone celebrates.

Unlike many native born football "stars" who can't even sing, never mind recite, the National Anthem, all of those I have had the privilege of seeing receiving their medals have sung it with the crowd. This, as Maher says, is where the left-wing proponents of "Multiculturalism" go so wrong. They confuse the debate about 'diversity' with the desire to have a single 'monoculture' in Britain and equate any attempt to debate the real problems - and there are some very big problems - of 'Multi-Kulti' with 'racism' and immediately start screaming 'fascist' or any other epithet they think fits. The problem with 'Multiculturalism' in any form is that it looks remarkably like 'Apartheid' when examined closely. Especially when anyone starts legislating to enforce or enshrine the 'rights' of one group or another within a wider society.

When you strip away all the emotive stuff around "Apartheid" and look at the philosophy underlying it, you discover that, like the objective of "Multiculturalism" it was supposed to allow different cultures and different peoples to live in the same space, but not their cultures. These were supposed to be kept separate and to be allowed to develop separately. The English translation of "Apartheid" is "Separate Development," which is what multiculturalists promote in the UK today. In their books, someone from any non-indigenous group must be allowed to keep their own language, their own customs and traditions regardless of how this affects everyone with whom they interact. This has seen the importing of such things as female circumcision, "bush meat" (in reality chimpanzee), "muti" killings, "honour" killings and the sanctioning of abuse of women under the guise of "culture."

As the Chief Rabbi, quoted in the Spectator article, says, a "Multicultural" society is like living in a hotel. Everyone comes in, keeps to themselves and eventually leaves. Apart from paying the bill (the hotelier hopes) no one interacts or contributes anything to the overall life of the place. To create a society, everyone must subscribe to the common mores, language and customs, even if, in private, they may practice a different religion or preserve some aspect of their cultural background that is particularly important to them. To contribute to a society we have to sign on to that society, not retreat into some littel enclave where we can pretend to be 'preserving' the life and culture of the society we left behind us. This is what the "multi-kulti" proponents miss. A working society must have cohesion, it cannot function as a 'hotel' does.

What does concern me about those, particularly on the left, who rant about "multiculturalism" is that they are determined to preserve separation and cannot accept any form of integration as being a basic requirement of living in a host society. In more and more legislation pushed to "promote" multiculturalism minority "rights' are promoted at the expense of the majority. As someone who lived in the apartheid society that was South Africa, I am deeply uncomfortable about that. It looks remarkably like the legislation that enshrined the "rights" of the white population, giving them first choice at everything, from selection for jobs to residential land to education.

When I read the sort of article to which Shiraz Maher refers in his piece, I am also struck by the impression that, for the Left, multiculturalism has become a control mechanism in the same manner that apartheid was. It allows its proponents to keep minorities in tight little groups, separated from everyone else. The argument is that this way they can be "protected" and form "support groups" to maintain their cultural norms. It also means they can be manipulated and patronised.

The one thing that does strike me as very strange among those who promote this failed and dangerous policy is that while they want it enforced for the 'protection' of minorities in the UK, US and 'developed' countries, they couldn't give a damn about the 'minorities' now suffering under the likes of Mugabe. Odd that.

I know there will be many readers who will disagree with me, as there will be others who don't. I ask only that you consider carefully what I have written and what the reality around us is becoming under this policy. I want to live in a society of equals, where race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, creed are all irrelevant to how we deal with one another. I want to live in a society where the only consideration in the workplace is competence not who you know, your ethnic group or your sex and sexuality. I know this is probably Utopian and unattainable because it is not 'natural' to the human mindset. I am equally certain that this 'top down' legally enforced and unworkable 'Multi-Kulti' approach is not the way to achieve it.

All it does do is polarise and deepen divides - especially when it is exploited by individuals masquerading as "campaigning for equality" when what they are really doing is manipulating the system to their own benefit. And that happens among all sections of the population!


  1. The act of integration is lost nowadays as too many groups use their personal identity as their face identity when described in terms of, say, Britishness. From a language viewpoint, things were done in the past on these isles that should be used as examples of how it can go wrong.

    1) Celts came over from the north of Ireland and annihilated the Picts, and stamped out their identity in the survivors, their language, dress, music, culture. Pictland became Scotland.

    2) The Romans were over extended and couldn't get into the Celts in Wales and Scotland. They made forays in but were beaten back each time. During a period the Lower Highlanders were taken and they again were made to lose their dress, language, music and customs.

    These things must be preserved, but not kept at the fore where they turn the subjects into museum pieces, or used for political purposes. Academics know these things must be preserved sensibly.

    I got lent a bedsit in London to attend some events a couple of Autumns ago and getting on the bus to the centre for the first time I asked the woman with a child sat next to me when I needed to get off the bus for a certain area and she stared at me for a full minute and then shyly smiled and turned away. I asked again and got a very short response in what seemed to be a French accent, "No....English." It amazed me that someone would want to live, work and/or raise a family in England and not learn English. But then I heard of two Turkish female HE students in York, who when they had finished their degrees, were on the points system to work. They both spoke fair English, but one of them brought her husband over and if we disclude their illegal living conditions here, I was related something the husband said (paraphrasing), "I don't like the English, I'm not going to learn English, I am going to work/live illegally and take the money home."

    Integration, immersing yourself in the culture you live in, is vitally important for long term living in that environment. You need about a thousand words to effectively communicate in a language, which can be difficult to attain, but it's doable if you're more than a short term tourist, particularly since language learning is something that can usually be done at any age of life (except the extremes.)

    All nations and cultures have a built in fear of the Other, sometimes stirred up by their own government in the name of Identity. Skin colour/genetics can be erased as a form of Other if enough intermarriage is carried out in the next few generations, but there will still be fear of the Other. The next village over, those that wear red, or blue in their national dress or work uniforms.

    It's interesting to look at the Gulf States right now and see how they are paving the way for moderate and controlled change on a firmly managed timetable. Because a book (collection of fanfic/slash writing) has just become the fastest selling book in British history which has a male 'anti-hero' who surely is, through so much propagation, going to put back feminism, or at least equalising of the sexes at work and home, back decades and cause society to crumble a little bit more (I've not read it, just synopsis from fanpages describing the storyline/characters)

    It's hard to 'keep up' with the Left. Always have to be opposing something, always seeking change, and ultimately damaging advances that were already on their way. I have yet to meet one Leftie who has read Michael Youngs: Rise of the Meritocracy, and I wish they would, because they'd see what they are doing to education.

  2. Slim Jim says:

    I agree with much of what you write/quote. What is being described is what cultural marxism is all about. 'Equalities' is more about equality of outcomes, rather than opportunity, at least from the leftist point of view. Unfortunately, this mindset (and the unfortunate legislation is has produced), is leading us to oblivion. Since meritocracy has taken a back seat, we are witnessing a dearth of good leadership, and we are much worse for it. One recent example is the resignation of Louise Mensch, the Tory MP who has resigned to be with her family. A laudable move perhaps, but why on earth did she stand in the first place? Just one example of parachuting people into positions who really ought not to be there.

    You, Josephus and I witnessed this lunacy at close quarters in previous employment. Was it real, or just a bad dream?...Another triumph of stupidity by committee over common sense! Tim is correct - the left keep on changing position to suit the times. Witness how they dropped economics after the fall of communism in the USSR, and have hijacked social issues, as well as the climate change agenda.