July 14, 2005

Is "British-style multi-culturalism ... failing"?

The BBC Islamic Affairs analyst writes about this question, which is being asked around Britain these days:
Multiculturalism was designed to bring different communities together, but its critics argue it has only served to keep them apart.


StrangerInTheseParts said...

Something I have never understood:

Multi-cutluralism is a very leftist crede that is all about tolerating and respecting alien belief systems and cultures.

M-C has lead leftists to do all sorts of apologizing and defending of rather un-liberal cultures, e.g. modern political Islam.

So why, then, are so many M-C Liberals so quick to tear the Right to pieces and decry it as inhumane, fascist, racist, and evil?

It's like the whole M-C philosophy goes out the window when it comes to the LOCAL political enemies of the Left. Are liberals only liberal when it comes to foreigners and the 'underclass'?

DirtCrashr said...

I always thought Multiculturalism was designed to force other communities together, whether they like it or not - intolerance won't be tolerated, etc. and by that interventionist approach provide jobs for Professional Multiculturalists who then moderate all the disputes which arise - welfare for Sociology-school graduates.

Goesh said...

The two 'cultures' in question here could coincide much better if the one prohibited the sale of alcohol and made women wear veils. The terrorists, or as many are wont to call them, insurgents, made that rather evident I should think.

Bruce Hayden said...

But really what is the difference over there in the UK and here in the US? After all, in the name of MC, etc., we no longer can have creches at any sort of public building at Christmas, though we can have stuff from other religions and pretend religions (whatever that holiday is that the African-American community invented awhile back).

As far as I can see, the difference is assimilation - we are better at assimilating peoples who come here. Or, rather, we ultimately coopt them into the American way.

In any case, the theory seems to be very similar on each side of the pond. So why and where is the difference?

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh, now I remember, Quansa or something like that. Invented a couple of decades ago out of whole cloth, and ignoring that the vast majority of African Americans are Christain, many extremely devout.

leeontheroad said...


what inherently is "very leftist" about "tolerating and respecting other belief systems and cultures"?

The BBC article defines British Multiculturalism as a set of liberal policies it doesn't choose to enumerate. I expect I could guess at some number of lax immigration controls as among them, but I'm not especially comfortable talking about the "moving target" of a term folks won't define.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Lee -

Nothing exclusivly leftist (hopefully) about toleration and respect. But the forms such beliefs take when 'enforced' are often troubling, or even hypocritical (to say nothing of self-destuctive). With M-C types, the focus is often not on toleration and respect, but on attacking or undermining anyone perceived to be intolerant.

Contemporary Lefties often seem to have a hard time accounting for wicked behavior. To me, they can seem to only see Euro-centric governments as capable of true evil/injustice. Everyone else's aggression is just a 'response' to the cruelty/excesses of Republicans, capitalism, imperialism etc. etc.

Everyone knows who the Left hates. It's always a little off-putting when the Left tries to sell their rage with idealogies like M-C that purport to be about love, understanding and respect.

Uncle Jimbo said...

Dear Ann,

The truth of this required a horrible tragedy. It did get our legislature to extend the Patriot Act which was vital. The one thing that seems to be coming from the front is that change needs to come from inside these Muslim communities. We can't win the war in any way unless they become active in denying the radical Imams a place to preach their hate.

Since the attacks in London specifically targeted a Muslim station, they are in the cross hairs as much as the rest of us.

I wrote this yesterday on the topic.

Wake up call for moderated Muslims


Uncle J

Joseph Angier said...

I agree that this BBC article is unclear on exactly how "multiculturalism" is keeping British communities apart. So I'll be overly presumptuous and assume they mean Britain's laissez-faire attitude towards immigrants' non-Western ways amd mores ... as opposed to America's subtle insistence on assimilation (which I don't think is such a bad thing). If anyone has some more informed insights into UK vs. US multiculturalism, I'd be glad to hear it.

Richard Fagin said...

Mr. Angier, the difference between US and UK multiculturalism is that in the US it has force of law only in places such as universities, whereas it seems to have force of law nationally in the UK.

Multiculturalism is not what its title suggests. It is not respect and tolerance for other cultures. It is denigration of Western European culture with respect to non-Western European cultures based on the real and imagined historical misconduct of Western Europeans and their cultural heirs, Americans and Israelis. It is denigration to the point of cultural suicide. It is a belief that such histotical misconduct (real and imagined) is prima facie proof of the moral unsuitability of Western European culture to survive. Accordingly, multiculturalists believe that Americans, Europeans and Israelis have no right to defend themselves from assault by followers of other cultures, because Western European culture is morally unacceptable, and worse, is morally unredeemable. Western culture is unredeemable because it once practiced insitutionalized racism, and because it promotes environmental degradation, consumes too much of the Earth's resources, and allows people to be slothful and blasphemous.

Multiculturalism is little different from the racism practiced by racial and ethnic minorities who had themselves once been victims of racism. I supposed we could include Western women in this category as well. The former victims institutionalize their status as victims to absolve themselves of any guilt for their current misconduct. So we have the likes of Jesse Jackson ("New York is Hymietown"), Louis Farrakhan ("Judaism is a gutter religion"), Al Sharpton (I wish I could remember the name of the detective he slandered), Ruben Bonilla ("gringos suck"), and Andrea Dworkin (sorry, Prof. Althouse, I needed to sully her name just one more time - "men suck") spitting vitriol against the white, European male to no criticsm whatever.

I think many Americans are real multiculturalists, that is, they do respect other cultures. As for the university kind, I think we are more inclined to suggest to 'em the advice of Lewis Grizzard - "Go soak your head in a bucket of obloquy."

Joseph Angier said...

A bit more apocalyptic than I was looking for, but thanks anyway. And I think Steven Pagones was the name you were looking for re Sharpton (unless it was the policeman who killed himself - Harry Crist).

Kathleen B. said...

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with you Richard, but to say that any of the people you listed have faced "no criticsm whatever" is just totally ridiculous.

cobra verde said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cobra verde said...

Multi-Culturalism is not about tolerance and respect, it's about sanitization. Many foreign cultures, most American sub-cultures, espouse values middle Americans, on both sides of the spectrum, find repugnant. We don't want future generations of recent immigrants from the four corners of the globe to retain any significant degree of their forebearer's cultures, from language to obscure religious beliefs or even dress. Do we respect polygamy? How about the subserviant role of women in virtually every developing country? How about forced marriage of 12 year old girls? Like it or not, these are aspects of several foreign cultures. There is simply no way to divest them of what they consider intergral while keeping the culture we're allegedly tolerating intact. We want people of different colors, claimed religions and "diverse" backgrounds who walk and talk like Anglo-Americans - window dressing for the American dream. So let's not kid ourselves. We never lost that arrogance about the superiority of our culture and never will.

Richard Fagin said...

A real honest to goodness newspaper person appears to agree with me:


and Kathleen, of course, literally, the persons I mentioned have in fact faced criticism. Cut me some license, though, as it is clear that the degree and scope of such criticism has been exceedingly small, particularly when contrasted with what the same media outlets think is important to criticize - the effect is the same as if there were literally no criticism at all.

Oh yeah, in my tirade I almost forgot to mention New York mayor Dinkins attending a celebration for an acquitted murder defendant from the Crown Heights riots. Did anyone complain? A pox on all of them!