Is Multiculturalism Getting Racist? All Signs Point to Yes.
And why Interculturalism serves our communities in a more meaningful way
If the first thing that pops in your mind after hearing the word “multiculturalism” is your standard Benetton ad, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Despite its good intentions, the multiculturalist model has been stagnant -not only as a field of study- but mostly as a way to pursue societal peace.
Communities that can easily be described as multicultural (in the sense that their residents come from different cultural backgrounds) are more than often being treated with absolute disgrace. While all these human beings strive to gain their lives back and fight for their right to equal opportunities, political leaders around the globe abuse the term “multiculturalism” to promote their white savior agendas.
Is multiculturalism racist?
I would hate to give the term such a bad rep, but in the modern times that we live in, it’s important to be able and detach the current presence of said term from its original intent. And that original intent of promoting communal peace has long been replaced by a much more ominous set of values.
My opinion? Multiculturalism is not racist, but something far worse. It’s a societal model that thrives on pretentious clichés about diversity and the way we should deal with it. Their practices seem more like a way to blow smoke in POC and immigrants’ faces instead of taking action against the privilege gap some communities face. It’s like employing the only Indian dude on your show for the sake of being inclusive, just to poke fun at said character for his race.
Of course, many countries that use the multiculturalist model as their official policy to govern diversity are still doing good by their promises. And obviously, there’s a large number of researchers out there who stay true to their values and whose work needs to be looked at and appreciated for what it is.
So, what’s the real problem?
It’s also quite obvious that multiculturalism is being turned into a marketing strategy. Other cultures are only celebrated as long as we can make fun of them when we want. People of color are wonderful for pictures on your company’s career page, as long as you don’t ACTUALLY have to employ them or even talk about it. While social justice movements around the world are trying to keep up with the fight against discrimination , large corporations are hiding behind multiculturalism to avoid backlash. In practice, inclusion is often disregarded since co-existence is a given, and minorities are being looked at from afar.
Interculturalism as a replacement
Having taught in Greek classrooms where racial diversity is a given in almost every community, we talk about Intercultural education as a replacement of Multiculturalism quite a lot. Both terms are based on the premise of many cultures co-existing and for that reason they are intertwined and often get confused. By taking a look at both models’ objectives it’s easy to locate all these little things that differentiate them from one another.
The model of Interculturalism turns its interest on meaningful interaction between the people who belong in the same community. Instead of focusing on a “sovereign” culture in which minorities have to be integrated, intercultural models shift their attention to all the different benefits that can be enjoyed if all cultures are being celebrated equally.
While the phenomenon of cultural pluralism defines the 21st century, it seems like some people have trouble accepting it, and the current system pushes them to do so without explaining the reasons why this is a good thing. And this is exactly why racists all over the world feel like they are being terrorized by “Big whatever” to accept diversity as if it is part of some billionaire dude’s agenda. The result? Once again, everything becomes about who’s right or wrong instead of millions of people’s basic human rights.
Interculturalism, on the other hand, finds another way to deal with that. By pushing to create opportunities for interaction and open dialogue while reinforcing critical thinking, mental health support, and advocacy, cultural pluralism is being celebrated as a wonderful privilege for a human living in the year 2022.
While both Multiculturalism and Interculturalism began as a way for human beings of different cultural backgrounds to co-exist peacefully, we can safely state that Multiculturalism has long been succeeded and its goals are no longer of any importance. It’s just a given gift that has -quite frankly- stopped giving.
Interculturalism is more than anything a new, and reformed look into the previous model that recognizes the need for social change. A fresher look into how the modern man can positively use his place in the world of the one true race.
The human race.
Chow, B. (2022). Multiculturalism. Salem Press Encyclopedia.
Nesbitt, E. M. (2004). Intercultural education : ethnographic and religious approaches. Sussex Academic Press.
Thank you for reaching all the way down here! As this is part of my beginning on this platform, your feedback is very important. My main goal is to present all the knowledge I’ve gained from my educational studies through the lens of a young adult who strives for social justice and equal opportunity.
I would really love to hear your thoughts, whether those are negative or positive. I’m here to listen and take notes.
Disclaimer: The linked articles are shared to provide context, and they do not necessarily reflect my own opinion on the matter .