Every human being is born into a community with particular social and cultural practices. Multiculturalism gives people the opportunity to interact with people from diverse cultures and exchange ideas and share beliefs. Many countries are made up of people from different cultures who freely carry out their practices and pass them down to their young ones (Kauff et.al, 2013). However, multicultural societies experience benefits and challenges which are a result of the many cultures. Ethnocentrism by the communities of a particular society has proven to have advantages such as patriotism and cohesion. On the other hand, ethnocentrism has side effects as it may encourage prejudice among the different communities and lead to racism.
Culturally diverse communities are open minded as they respect all cultures and are open to new ideas from their neighbors. The fusion of cultures leads to the adoption of positive aspects of different cultures and replacement of inhumane practices with those which are in line with human rights of individuals (Garcea, 2008). It is through cultural integration that people divorce has become popular as people are not forced to stay in abusive and unhappy marriages. It has also brought equity where men and women have a voice unlike in many cultures where females are considered inferior to the men. Open mindedness brings about positivity as people can see the good even in dire situations.
Multiculturalism has led to the loss of national and cultural identity. People have forgotten their beliefs and replaced them with practices from other cultures which may be considered immoral. Many young people could be described as lost by the elders who are strict about their cultural practices. Individuals no longer value their roots and view them as backward and ancient. People display a fusion of practices where it is difficult to promote the cultural heritage of the people living in such communities. Adoption of cultures such as alcoholism and drug abuse has had adverse effects on the society as it promotes crime (Richeson et.al, 2004).
A community with people from different cultures promotes diversity. It is evident that diversity has many advantages such as entrepreneurship. Diversity also reduces discrimination of minor groups as every group is represented in all areas of the society from business to government. A society that is well represented promotes equity in the distribution of resources, and the rights of all people are respected. The diversity of individuals promotes peace and harmony, and thus the society is productive (Amin, 2002). Peace promotes trade and reduces poverty and social injustices. Multiculturalism encourages globalization which has advantages like provision of labor and expands the markets for products made by businesses.
Multicultural societies experience a lot of problems in the education system. Many syllabuses were designed to fit the original habitat of a community (Phillips, 2009). However, with migration and diversities, teachers have a difficult time to incorporate a system that includes sources from all the cultures presented in the classes. Critics and cultural activists are often on the move to ensure that the education provided in schools are respective of all cultures represented in the schools. In many cases, this is a challenge to tutors and teachers since they have to study about many cultures and consider works of literature from diverse cultures which are not easy tasks to accomplish.
The existence of people of different backgrounds in the society has advantages when it comes to the sustainability of an economy. People from different cultures are known to have certain skills which are important in the business environment. The casual laborers provide services that cannot be offered by the corporate officials and having both parties ensures sustainability of a community (Amin, 2002). Cross-cultural business expertise provides a window to come up with new ideas and how to tap into new markets. Availability of specialists in a market leads to the production of quality products and services. Moreover, the availability of people from diverse cultures ensures markets for products.
Despite the advantages, multiculturalism can cause racism and division among people. Some people are ethnocentric and may view the cultural diversity as an impurity to their cultural practices. It may create boundaries between individuals and encourage prejudice along cultural lines. Some people may see themselves as the superior culture and discriminate against the minor groups. Racism brings disunity in a society and promotes hatred among the people (Garcea, 2008). It makes people disrespect the rights of others and cause pain by saying hurtful words or doing harm to others. Racism leads to social injustices where a particular community or a person is mistreated and not offered an opportunity to perform to their full potential.
Multiculturalism promotes peace and unity among the members of society (Kauff et.al, 2013). When children from different cultural backgrounds are brought up together, they become used to living with different people and thus do not discriminate against each other. People from various communities intermarry, and the division is reduced since the members of the two families are united. Interracial marriages and children do not identify with a particular group and thus cannot discriminate on racial lines. It is hard for children who grew up together to draw racial lines amongst themselves. They instead love and support one another because of the friendship between them.
Bringing together people from different cultures leads to innovation. People from various cultural backgrounds have a way in which they handle situations or even carry out different tasks. Individuals living in a multicultural society put together the different practices to come up with a new way of handling tasks. Modern fashion which is enjoyed all over is a combination of different ways of dressing by various people to come up with a more acceptable way of dressing (Phillips, 2009). Different practices such as tattooing are gaining popularity with young people embracing it. Exchange of food by the people of such a society can bring about a new diet which is healthy and boosts the immunity of the citizens. Moreover, different medical practices have been put together to come up with ways to boost the health system.
People of distinct cultures speak different languages. It thus provides people an opportunity to learn foreign languages which are exciting. It also allows individuals to understand one another as they can communicate is the same language. The knowledge of a foreign language encourages one to visit many places and adopt new ways of socializing and performing duties. Learning other cultures makes people understand and respect why certain people do particular things. It is easy to criticize practices such as polygamy if one does not know that the culture of those people allows men to marry more than one wife. On the other hand, understanding the culture of other people can help one in correcting his/her neighbor to do the right thing (Richeson et.al, 2004).
Multiculturalism is inevitable thus people should embrace the change of culture and respect each other (Amin, 2002). It is important to note that everyone plays a different role in the society which ensures the smooth running of things. Everyone is significant from the rich to the poor, casual laborers to the formal sector employees. As long as mutual respect exists among the people; peace, love, and harmony will prevail.
Amin, A. (2002). Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity. Environment and planning A, 34(6), 959-980.
Garcea, J. (2008). Postulations on the fragmentary effects of multiculturalism in Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 40(1), 141-160.
Kauff, M., Asbrock, F., Thorner, S., & Wagner, U. (2013). Side Effects of Multiculturalism the Interaction Effect of a Multicultural Ideology and Authoritarianism on Prejudice and Diversity Beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 0146167212473160.
Phillips, A. (2009). Multiculturalism without culture. Princeton University Press.
Richeson, J. A., & Nussbaum, R. J. (2004). The impact of multiculturalism versus color-blindness on racial bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(3), 417-423.
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