Multiculturalism

Even though I speak nine languages I am quite opposed to multiculturalism, or at least the ideology of multicultualism. The ideology of multiculturalism in Western countries promotes the position that immigrants should hold on to their ancestral culture rather than integrate or assimilate to the culture of the country to which they have emigrated. I think that promoting separation over integration is wrong.

People should be allowed to choose what they want to do. There should be no forced integration but there should also be no official encouragement to stay separate based on ancestry. The premise of multiculturalism is that ancestry, or assumed ancestry, should dictate your culture. This idea has many serious disadvantages.

First of all it works against the development of an inclusive sense of community within the host country. It encourages people to only see their original ethnic community as “their community”. This weakens solidarity in the host society.

Second, multiculturalism suggests that someone of a particular ethnic origin has an obligation to learn his/her ancestral language and culture, even in the second generation. There should be no such obligation. If I want to learn a language not related to my ancestry in preference to the language of my ancestors, that should be a matter of free choice.

There is an inherent contradiction in multiculturalism since the cultures that are promoted as being worthy of preserving are usually themselves the result of cultural blending. If French or Chinese or Moroccan culture is already the results of various cultures blending together, why should this blending process or assimilation in a new country be considered undesirable.

As a linguist I consider that I am free to learn any language and to enjoy any culture. I oppose the bureaucratic imposition of the parents cultural identity on a new generation of citizens. What is the connection to language learning? I will cover that in another post where I will point out that tying ancestry to language is a major obstacle to language learning.

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