Culture is a private thing, one’s private beliefs and private way of adhering to them. Why is the border between the private sector of one’s life and the public sector of it so vague? The traditionalists often feel as the ‘new arrivals’ should be pressured to conform to the mentality on which the country, which is meant to be their new home, was built. However altering one’s values and assimilation with the majority is a soul-selling act and it collides with the concept of Human Rights to practice one’s own religion and culture.
Obviously the immigrants have decided themselves to change their homeland and so are meant to try to integrate into the new society without causing any conflicts, but to a certain extent. There was a case in France, a few years back when the disallowance of wearing veils and head scarves in school for Muslim girls, who immigrated into there, was considered. The proposal was accepted, which was added as a part of the French policy of integration of the foreigners into the country. In this situation a conflict between the state and the minority religious group appeared.
There was no agreement on this case. The girls’ parents and the girls were practically prohibited to express their own religion. It also brings other questions after it. Why were the Muslim girls disallowed to wear a veil, when there was nothing mentioned about the Jews scull caps? There was an answer to that given that the veils represent imprisonment of women and the feminists objected to that. However, it should be the girls’ opinion. There should be no force used to make somebody alter his culture if it doesn’t disturb anyone.
Is it actually the various cultures that are standing on the way to a multicultural society? I wouldn’t agree. It seems to me that there are two main problems. One of them is the immigrants not willing to enter the country’s mainstream. Therefore, often organizations are set aiming to restrict bilingual education and eliminate all the problems caused by lack of interest of the immigrants to mix with the citizens. Some of these organizations also restrict foreign-language signs within the country, what may be portrayed as a way of disqualifying the others.
In Poland there was a debate going on a few years ago, whether the signs on which e. g. English words were used should be translated into Polish. Attempts of translating such international words as for example bar/pub/hamburger ended rather unsatisfactory. The version of Polish names for all those words borrowed from the English-speaking country’s sounded ridiculous. The problem actually appears not because of the foreign words used, but it is the mean-spiritedness of the idea of needing such an alteration that people disagrees with.
How does it concern anyone that immigrants also use their mother-tongue when communicating within their cultural group if they still talk in English with all the others? USA and UK can obviously no longer be called a melting pot. I think that everyone agrees that these countries today are multiracial. However, it is not multicultural in the sense of harmonious living together of different cultures, who, while agreeing on a core set of values, still uphold their cultural identity. Instead of being harmonious the relations between the different cultures within a country are characterized by the fear of being undermined by the others.
Natives worry that immigrants might take their jobs, what is proven to be false or might want to dominate their world and finally push the natives out of their country. This is the reason that caused most of the wars and disputes in the past. Considering for example the conflict that arose in Yugoslavia in 1990; Yugoslavia might have been considered a multicultural society before this 90’s conflict, since there were three nations living there with no problems, nor discords. Croats, Serbians and Slovenes shared a piece of land for a while, but soon it bothered them.
Serbs have decided they wanted independence, this thought was circulating in their mind and soon they started a war against practically “their brothers. ” Yugoslavia was only an illusion of a multicultural society, but beyond doubt the hatred was always there. A feeling of unfairness and fear of the other nations in Yugoslavia dominated and a ‘pointless’ three-years-long war began. Conflicts concerning the lands division followed and brothers turned into enemies. We are thus dealing with two extreme positions and a difficulty to compromise.
I think it will prove very difficult to agree on shared values. The ideal of a harmonious living together and interaction without the need of cultural assimilation is impossible between most of the cultures. It might be likely for those who, while having different traditions and customs, share the same ideas regarding human rights and important moral values. Many cultures however, differ already in the most basic opinions, for example regarding the persons to whom human rights apply (discrimination of women).
Only by a minimum of assimilation, which of course means to give up a part of one’s culture, can an agreement be reached about these important matters. Aside from these core agreements however, the members of different cultures should be allowed to pursue as much of their own culture as possible and to sustain their mother tongue. A perfect way to reach an agreement between cultures is through such unions as for example the European Union. It doesn’t require giving up the country’s language, religion, moral values, traditions, nor customs. On the other hand, it draws the countries closer together.
As there is practically no need for big assimilation and integration, the Human Rights are preserved, but a peace is hopefully going to survive on the world for longer. Another pattern appeared which might be called as the roots of establishments of multicultural societies – Globalisation. “Globalisation is throwing up a new elite whose power lies in their ideas, connections and sheer chutzpah. ” The term, the globalists is applied to all those, who travel, go abroad, move there, go to school there and finally marry someone from another culture, but no conflicts arose during all that.
They are also called ‘cosmocrats’ from cosmopolitan and aristocrat joined together. I find as the reason while these types of people successfully live their lives in another society surrounded by other cultures, is their understanding and acceptance for others. However, there is another way of portraying their culture – it could be argued that cosmocrats’ culture/religion is the “cult of money” and it barely interferes with any others. Globalisation exceeds very fast and might lead to many multicultural societies found. However would they really be multicultural?