multiculturalism

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
I'm a believer in multiculturalism, I raised was in it, I think it makes a society richer, more vibrant, stimulating and tolerant. I've always believed the benefits far outweigh any potential negatives. It's a vision of how I've always thought the future of the world should be, multifarious identities mingling and hybridising.

I have a couple of Japanese friends (though they could be from anywhere, the fact that they're Japanese isn't that important) who currently live over here, and while they appreciate some aspects of of British multiculturalism, they do not agree with me that the benefits outweigh the problems. One common argument they make is that our various peoples cannot live as harmoniously together as people in Japan can and they point to recent terror attacks. There might not be many terrors attacks, they agree, but they still believe Japan is safer for not having large communities of people who hold beliefs in foreign religions and supposedly different value systems.

The second, and more interesting, argument they make, is that the UK's multicultural society has not turned out to be an equal one. They point to the racial discrimination of British born minorities, and to communities of immigrants who end up stuck doing the lowest paying work our country has to offer (not unlike @ayase said in the other thread). My friends say that they don't want to live in such an unjust, hierarchical society. They are even able to point to the historical racial rioting that occurred in this country as evidence of both the dissatisfaction of minority British people and the risks that come with multiculturalism. They claim they have no faith in either the Japanese government or people to integrate immigrants any better than Britain did (and Britain didn't do it very well in their opinion) and thus it simply shouldn't happen.

What I've realised, is that I have no idea how to possibly counter their effective two pronged assault on multiculturalism. It's not so much about wanting to convince them they are wrong, I would never say they are wrong or that Japan definitely should follow our multicultural example, it's more that I feel completely unequipped to defend one of the tenets I've always believed in. All I can seem to do is point out some of the cultural examples of multiculturalism at it's best, and just accept that it has been a messy process at times to get here. But my friends completely trounce me basically.

Any ideas?
 
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Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I don't especially gel with a lot of the 'British' value systems (which are themselves patched together from centuries and centuries of influence from other cultures in the first place...) so I don't agree that losing multiculturalism would make things more harmonious as a society. Japan's situation is unique, with its isolationist history, and the chain of events which brought their society to its current place are not comparable to what we have here.

I live in an exceptionally multicultural area and I love it. I grew up in poor white communities and lived in a middle class white area for a long time, and never before have I felt so at home as I have since I moved away from all of that. I don't care if one of my neighbours celebrates one festival while another celebrates a different one, or if I don't understand what they're saying when they gossip under my window on their way to town because they're not speaking English. I don't care if my town has no traditional fish and chip shop when it has manakish zaatar and callaloo and tikki chaat on offer instead. Why does it matter?

I'm a product of multiculturalism myself; almost all of my roots lead straight back to other countries and I have people from all over the world in my family tree. Where would I fit in now that we already have this society?

It's true that there are a lot of problems integrating, but I don't think the idea itself is flawed. Most people are perfectly capable of getting along just fine on a daily basis. Systemic biases and injustices are something we all have to tackle, and it's complicated further by the people actually making the decisions often living on a different planet to those who live with the consequences from those decisions; some areas are integrated relatively smoothly, others are hotbeds of active tension. It's not as though we have proof that people with a shared (white British) background can all live together without some wanting to kill others, though. Quite the opposite, from what I've seen.

R
 

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
Excellent post, Rui! That's how I feel too.

I don't like everything about the British value system, I certainly don't like everything about the city I live in, but I do love it's multiculturalism. I can't imagine ever fitting in in a place that wasn't multicultural. And maybe that is because I'm such a product of it, but I don't think the idea is flawed either. As you say, the biggest problem is often how barmy our decision makers are, rather than the normal people.
 

Denny Fisher

Thousand Master
Excellent post, Rui! That's how I feel too.

I don't like everything about the British value system, I certainly don't like everything about the city I live in, but I do love it's multiculturalism. I can't imagine ever fitting in in a place that wasn't multicultural. And maybe that is because I'm such a product of it, but I don't think the idea is flawed either. As you say, the biggest problem is often how barmy our decision makers are, rather than the normal people.
My brothers friend lives over there and even though he loves it there, they don't treat foreigners well. For instance, he can never become a manger of a japanese business, he is asked to leave shops without any explanation, even Koreans are treated unfairly.
He told me once he was arrested for buying a prop sword from an anime shop. They said he needed a license, they wouldn't release him until his japanese girlfriend arrived.

A friend of mine who has just moved back over here after 7 years said, some of his best experiences were over there, like meeting the cast of aldnoah zero, or going to the place where anohana was made was beautiful. Yet he said the same thing and said alot of people treated him bad over there for not being japanese.
 

Dave1988

Thousand Master
My brothers friend lives over there and even though he loves it there, they don't treat foreigners well. For instance, he can never become a manger of a japanese business, he is asked to leave shops without any explanation, even Koreans are treated unfairly.
He told me once he was arrested for buying a prop sword from an anime shop. They said he needed a license, they wouldn't release him until his japanese girlfriend arrived.

A friend of mine who has just moved back over here after 7 years said, some of his best experiences were over there, like meeting the cast of aldnoah zero, or going to the place where anohana was made was beautiful. Yet he said the same thing and said alot of people treated him bad over there for not being japanese.
Wow did not see this to be honest as Japs seem so friendly and always after foreigners especially English to go to there country
 

Denny Fisher

Thousand Master
Wow did not see this to be honest as Japs seem so friendly and always after foreigners especially English to go to there country
I have japanese friend, one of the nicest guys I know. He was unaware of this too. Yet he doesn't know any foreigners in japan.
 

Denny Fisher

Thousand Master
I have japanese friend, one of the nicest guys I know. He was unaware of this too. Yet he doesn't know any foreigners in japan.
From what I understand, japanese women like foreigners because men actually talk to them. For some reason japanese men have a hard time talking to women as they are shy.

A report last year said the average japanese man to go on a date with a women is 26.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
When people are talking about multiculturalism, I think we have to define "culture" as really encompassing four main areas: Race & nationality, tradition, and religion. On the surface none of those things should matter in the slightest, the fact people are subject to racial and xenophobic discrimination (as you mention Vash) is a problem but it's also one I think is gradually being solved - People are generally becoming less racist down the generations in the same way they're becoming more accepting of gay people, and this is all good because it means people are becoming comfortable with the fact others are and should be allowed to be "different" from themselves.

Traditions, similarly are largely harmless swappable DLC skins for humanity. You celebrate Christmas? And you celebrate Hanukkah? Diwali? Yule? Great. It's all the same sh*t really isn't it? It just looks and sounds a bit different and that's kind of nice. Just like what someone wears and eats, what business is that of anyone else, and why on earth should anyone have a problem with any of that? And if someone does, they're probably the same sort of people who'd have a go at people of their own culture for having a particular haircut or dress sense anyway - Intolerant conformists.

And then we get down to, let's be honest, the real thing people are discussing (especially in the press) when they're talking about "multiculturalism" these days - Religion and isolated religious communities. And this, I think, is where multiculturalism hits its biggest stumbling block. Can we get along if we all look different, eat different things, wear different things? Sure. Can we get along if some people think anyone who doesn't act like them is inferior and this fact is ordained by the invisible, intangible supreme power in the universe above all human laws and everybody outside their group is godless heathens? Hmm. Of course not all religious people are a problem, but I'm willing to say very religious people are a problem. Whether that's crazy religious Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland or crazy religious Jews and Muslims in Israel and Palestine.

I think multiculturalism is great. But I think it's only possible in a secular society where everyone has respect for one another and recognises everyone is equal. When you bring religion into the mix, when someone is told they belong to a group that is right about the very meaning of life and existence and everyone else is wrong it becomes a hell of a lot more difficult to get them to respect other people. Of course you can teach people to be more tolerant. But perhaps not if they're being educated in a religious school (which criminally is still allowed in this country - Honestly what is the difference between having a school that only educates students of one religion and a school that would only educate students of one race? Somebody please tell me) and perhaps not if they never mix with anyone outside their culture.

The same point about never mixing could also be made with regards to racism (and is probably particularly pertinent in the case of Japan) but I think that's proven to be solvable. You can be reprogrammed from believing the daft things your racist parents/grandparents believed through education and experience, but they were only human. Can you be reprogrammed from believing the things your God tells you, and how do you do that when religious communities sometimes isolate themselves from each other of their own volition without going full Soviet Union on religion? I don't think I have an answer to that.
 
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Vashdaman

Za Warudo
@ayase On your point about religion, I'm not so sure that a similar thing to what you describe happening to racism, a mellowing and slow but gradual improvement in tolerance, can't also happen to religions as well. If you compare where Christianity is in this country today compared to 100 years ago for example, it's surely a lot less extreme and much more tolerant than it used to be. I suppose different religions will mellow out at different paces, but ultimately head in that same direction over time, with the number of bigoted zealots decreasing. Well, that's the hope anyway.
 

Watanabe Ken

Magical Girl
Multiculturalism only works when the quantities of people are manageable and the culture they bring is compatible with the culture there integrating into.

I'll give an example one the largest waves of immigration into the uk was in 1683 about 50000 French protestants came to live in the UK. Compare that to imigration from 1997 onwards and you find 50000 is about six weeks worth of immigration alone. Not only are the numbers unmanageable but some of the culture's they bring are so backwards they belong in a museum.

Your Japanese friends sound smart unlike the UK Japan is a very safe and peaceful place to live free from many of crime and violence found in today's multicultural societies.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
@ayase On your point about religion, I'm not so sure that a similar thing to what you describe happening to racism, a mellowing and slow but gradual improvement in tolerance, can't also happen to religions as well. If you compare where Christianity is in this country today compared to 100 years ago for example, it's surely a lot less extreme and much more tolerant than it used to be. I suppose different religions will mellow out at different paces, but ultimately head in that same direction over time, with the number of bigoted zealots decreasing. Well, that's the hope anyway.
I'd like to think so but I'm not particularly hopeful. When you look at say the racism point, it was just over 150 years ago that black people were slaves in the US. It's only 50 years since they were still subject to segregation. Now things are far from perfect, but a lot of those outdated notions were able to be moved past through people thinking rationally and reasonably about the things they believed and realising it was all rubbish. I'm not sure religion and the very religious are capable of the same kind of rational questioning of their beliefs. It gets people very defensive and worse, people who do question them can be accused of racism themselves (that certainly happens with Judaism and Islam, which is stupid because it's not like religion is specific to race).

As for Ken's point about the general, I dunno, level of civilisation of different cultures or some such, again I think that's a factor for education. I certainly think it shouldn't be ignored and swept under the carpet that people from cultures where perhaps women and gay people aren't widely respected do need to change those attitudes in a culture where such respect and equality is important. But equally by demonising people from those cultures (who are not all going to be the same - some will be perfectly respectful) you run the risk of isolating them even more.
 

crashmatt

Death Scythe
Problem with the UK is that we dont celebrate our own culture. Due to political correctness and it generally not being the done thing were repressed.

If you go to Brazil, Japan, Italy etc they have festivals, flags and parades that celebrate local cuture and traditions. We are made to feel ashamed of anything like that so when we see other cultures celebrating of going about thier daily lives its looked down on or frowned on.

Maybe if we were more embracing of our own culture wed be more willing to embrace other cultures.
 

Watanabe Ken

Magical Girl
The UK is just a place where different ethnic groups live parallel lives Like a hotel with lots of strangers renting out rooms. This self inflicted isolating partly caused by the mollycoddling certain communities has had huge negative affects on our society.

If you had said that two British citizens would hack a British soldier to death on the streets of London twenty years ago no-one would have believed you. Now no-one is surprised at all, indeed we expect it to happen at any time.

So what will become normal and unsurprising in a further twenty years ? :(
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Problem with the UK is that we dont celebrate our own culture. Due to political correctness and it generally not being the done thing were repressed.

If you go to Brazil, Japan, Italy etc they have festivals, flags and parades that celebrate local cuture and traditions. We are made to feel ashamed of anything like that so when we see other cultures celebrating of going about thier daily lives its looked down on or frowned on.

Maybe if we were more embracing of our own culture wed be more willing to embrace other cultures.
I hear people say this (mainly in tabloid newspapers, admittedly) but I see no evidence of British culture being suppressed by the PC brigade. What is actively being looked down upon? Flags? I see plenty of those. Morris Dancing? Maypoles? I don't know what aspects of British culture are supposedly being suppressed because from what I can see, all local traditions are alive and well and often even joined in with by people of other cultures as they're generally happy for us to join in with theirs.

If you had said that two British citizens would hack a British soldier to death on the streets of London twenty years ago no-one would have believed you. Now no-one is surprised at all, indeed we expect it to happen at any time.
Uh, you don't remember the Northern Irish paramilitaries then?

And at risk of going off at a tangent I would far rather anyone who wants to fight the government targeted people who've chosen to be soldiers and follow their government's orders than civilians whose only crime is going shopping or seeing a concert - Soldiers (along with politicians) are, I would say, legitimate military targets in any conflict.
 
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Dave1988

Thousand Master
Problem with the UK is that we dont celebrate our own culture. Due to political correctness and it generally not being the done thing were repressed.

If you go to Brazil, Japan, Italy etc they have festivals, flags and parades that celebrate local cuture and traditions. We are made to feel ashamed of anything like that so when we see other cultures celebrating of going about thier daily lives its looked down on or frowned on.

Maybe if we were more embracing of our own culture wed be more willing to embrace other cultures.
To be fair this is probably the reason I want to move abroad..England is very poor and doing there things where as like you say places like Japan have all sorts of festivel etc going on. It's a proud thing do do and being in england....my thoughts only. Doesn't make me proud and it's getting worse
 

Watanabe Ken

Magical Girl
Uh, you don't remember the Northern Irish paramilitaries then?
I must have been busy climbing trees or whatever 6 year olds did in the nineties. But can you really compare people fighting for an united Ireland with people who believe in an magical guy in the sky, who told a guy with lots of wife's some of them children, who apparently split the moon and then wrote a book about the stuff the magical guy in the sky told him, which tells people who read it that's it's ok to kill people who don't believe that magical guy in the sky is real.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
I was must have been busy climbing trees or whatever 6 year olds did in the nineties. But can you really compare people fighting for an united Ireland with people who believe in an magical guy in the sky, who told a guy with lots of wife's some of them children, who apparently split the moon and then wrote a book about the stuff the magical guy in the sky told him, which tells people who read it that's it's ok to kill people who don't believe that magical guy in the sky is real.
Well they both killed off duty soldiers and blew up innocent civilians with bombs so yeah, I think they're pretty comparable. Do the motivations matter when the resulting violence is the same?

And let's not forget that's also a sectarian conflict - Protestant and Catholic. Two other communities that didn't mix which helped fuel their sense of distrust of one another. That was only solved by dialogue and ultimately co-operation between the two, and that's the way we'll solve any problems with other isolated communities.
 
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Watanabe Ken

Magical Girl
Do the motivations matter when the resulting violence is the same?
Well Yeah if they didn't have the motivations that drives them to violence then there's a good chance that the violence won't take place. It's like if you catch a guy in bed with your wife, your not beating him up because you like violence your doing it because he defiled your wife.
 

crashmatt

Death Scythe
Its also worth noting that many comunities isolate themselves. Integration is a two way street. When you have certain streets or areas which have one particular ethic minority it does little for integration.

I hear people say this (mainly in tabloid newspapers, admittedly) but I see no evidence of British culture being suppressed by the PC brigade. What is actively being looked down upon? Flags? I see plenty of those. Morris Dancing? Maypoles? I don't know what aspects of British culture are supposedly being suppressed because from what I can see, all local traditions are alive and well and often even joined in with by people of other cultures as they're generally happy for us to join in with theirs.


Uh, you don't remember the Northern Irish paramilitaries then?

And at risk of going off at a tangent I would far rather anyone who wants to fight the government targeted people who've chosen to be soldiers and follow their government's orders than civilians whose only crime is going shopping or seeing a concert - Soldiers (along with politicians) are, I would say, legitimate military targets in any conflict.
We are not very good at celebrating what were good at or have achieved. I grew up in the 90s and were far too sensitive and less comfortable with who we are. Theres a lack of confidence that prevails throughout the UK.
 

kuuderes_shadow

Thousand Master
I'll give an example one the largest waves of immigration into the uk was in 1683 about 50000 French protestants came to live in the UK. Compare that to imigration from 1997 onwards and you find 50000 is about six weeks worth of immigration alone.
As a proportion of the population at the time (which is the measure by which it is one of the largest waves of immigration the UK has seen), though, it's far higher than any year in recent times.

And on a global level, the UK is not particularly high on the ranking of levels of net immigration, and countries with high levels of net emigration are invariably worse than those with high levels of net immigration.
 
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