Multiculturalism, as defined as the idea that multiple cultures can co-exist within the same nation, seems on the face of it to be a rather benign idea. The concept that someone living in one culture finds a way to tolerate the cultural practises of other ethnic systems appears to lead to a more peaceful world as conflict between differing groups is set aside.
Yet there is a paradox to this idea. Suppose that it is the cultural standard of one group to be intolerant. Is a multicultural society supposed to accept that? If so, then this breaks down the basis of the multicultural identity as at least one group violates that. If not, then the multicultural ethic does not exist in the first place.
However, I do not see cultural exchange as being always a two-way street, nor is multiculturalism an all-or-nothing dichotomy. That is, a culture can choose to accept other cultures on a tolerant basis to a certain point, while other cultures will respond in a different manner. In a sense, there is pretty much a single meta-culture, where most rational beings with find agreement, but then again there is but one Human species.
I suppose that where multiculturalism shows its importance is in the idea that no culture is inherently superior to all others, and no culture is truly inferior to the rest. Every human culture has the possibility of contributing positively to the human condition, and the benefits of multicultural thoughts give us all the humility to not be so judging of a whole culture that we ignore that idea.
This does not mean we blindly accept all aspects of a cultural system. It simply means that we take each aspect on its own merit and determine if it can be acceptable in the whole. Fortunately, most things, such as language, religious belief, celebrations, and foodstuffs, are totally acceptable, while the ones that cannot be included are usually self-evident to the whole.
Perhaps the greatest importance is found in the idea that a mono-cultural...
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