Multiculturalism Has Failed, Say European Leaders

Can anyone actually define multiculturalism for us ignorant people and give some examples of multicultural policies that countries typically follow?

As is, I get the sense that the phrase “multiculturalism has failed” is actually just code for being anti-immigration and believing that “bigotry should be used to defend culture”. Is this correct? I think it is but I want to try my best to be open-minded.

Multiculturalism could perhaps be defined as the formation of entire neighbourhoods where people from a specific region live, and maintain the culture of the old country instead of assimilating into the host country’s culture. I’m thinking Little Italies and Chinatowns and the like.

Personally, I don’t see what the problem is? In fact, if my definition is right, I kind of like being able to stroll through ethnic neighbourhoods, shops, restaurants, etc.

Why is this bad, and how is this a failure?

Also, I think this what people do if they are allowed to be free in a new country. So how do policies further enhance this behavior? (Not asking you specifically)

This term is seriously nonspecific, which automatically means talking at cross purposes and nothing is learned.

I’d say that the ideal is to not have a “host” culture at all, but to have an overall culture which is entirely composed of distinctive subcultures (one or more of which could be “native” ones) and the interstices between them.

Right. The original such places were established as ghettoes–the opposite, really, of the “melting pot.” Ghettoization isn’t nice because it’s negative and enforced, but similarly distinctive neighborhoods can also be allowed to form naturally, and cherished as such. And yes, they make certain cities a lot more fun than a genuinely successful melting-pot approach would.

“Multiculturalism” has always been a bad word in France, and the concept of “integration”, specifically depicted as opposed to “multiculturalism”, has always been stressed.

Sarkozy has the lowest level of popular support since the beginning of the 5th republic in 1958. He’s facing a variety of scandals and protests (he managed these days to have the judges in the streets, an unheard of situation, and some time before the police. That for a politician who’s permanently putting emphasis on law and order).

With the preidential elections coming next year, he is fishing for far right votes, as he has done a lot recently (most notably with the “expulsion” of Roms). That of course requires negative depictions of immigration.
I pay less and less attention to the statements of this failed and failing “omni-president” (as he is sometimes called) who’s crumbling under so much criticisms that it’s not even fun anymore.

Based on your first response, you seem to pooh-pooh the notion that we can judge some cultures to be superior to others. Did I misread you. Your response here seems to confirm my reading, that, on whole, we cannot make a judgement. This matters because if we cannot, then there’s little rational reason for people to want to protect one culture over another. It’s all just, I prefer football over soccer.

Let me rephrase, “do the citizens of a country have the right”. Better? So the question is, do they have a right to protect the culture they have. either because they prefer football over soccer or they think that one culture brings in bad things. For instance, do they have a right to reject a culture that might subjugate women or allows slavery?

As I understand it, multiculturalism is the idea that multiple different cultural traditions should be allowed to coexist and perpetuate themselves inside a single society or country. As some people in this thread have pointed out, it is in opposition with the melting pot approach to diversity, where immigrants to a country influence the substratum with their own cultural particularity, but at the same time are expected to assimilate to this substratum culture.

Of course, there is no such thing as “pure” multiculturalism in the real world. Immigration countries put into place multicultural policies (these can be many things, from the general, such as mandating cultural diversity teaching in schools, to the specific, such as accommodating minorities’ cultural or religious needs even as they conflict with the laws in place or offering services to residents in many different languages, with everything inbetween) in order to be attractive places for immigrants and because they simply cannot ignore the cultural diversity that actually exists on the ground. But at the same time, they expect all citizens to fulfill their part of the social contract. They would demonstrate this, for example, by expecting people to respect the law of the land, even if it may be different from the one in their country of origin, and to be able to communicate in the national language (at least eventually).

What it usually means when someone says that multiculturalism has failed is that they believe the government should put more emphasis on integration than on maintaining diversity. Both are important parts of immigration policies, but when people start to have trouble recognizing their society (i.e. the substratum is changing too fast) they believe someone should step on the brakes. It’s really that they believe their country should be somewhere else on the continuum, rather than an indictment of the ideology of multiculturalism as a whole. Well, except for Arcite who seems to believe that ending all immigration is necessary.

Moreover Sarkozy was minister of the Interior for most of Chirac’s second term 2002 to 2007). But what he says and how it is being reported here is fundamentally dishonest.

There never was multiculturalism in France, it was either assimilation (the children of immigrants shed off the culture of their parents, usually get French first names, sometimes last names too, and often dont speak the language of the country the parents are from) or integration (same but with a link to the former culture, what is getting rid off is anything in direct conflict with France’s customs and culture, the children might still have names from the old country and they might speak the old language, especially at home).
Multiculturalism, as exemplified by GB, that is you do what you want provided you respect the laws of the country, and you decide how much you want to go native. Well, that has never existed in France. There always was en effort from the State to either assimilate or integrate. The only guy that advocated multiculturalism in France was…


He’s just trying to get back the far right audience that made possible for him to win the presidential election last time. Doesnt look like it’s gonna work a second time.

The prime ministers are using a little bit of code when they talk about multi-culture.

What the actual problem is, right now in western europe, is the Islamisation of Europe. No country in Europe have been able to integrate/assimilate their muslim population. This is what the argument is about and nothing else.
It is the non-european immigration that is causing the problem, people from Iran, Iraq, Somalia etc. Sarkozy is not worried about Finnish people coming to France.

You can accept other cultures, but when that culture doesnt respect you back, then you need a more muscular liberalism. That is what Europeans are waking up to know. The fact that you can not and should not let Bronze/iron age mythology dictate your way of life.

Homophobia, fascism, anti-semitism, anti-americanism, anti-capitalism, anti-democracy. These are tendencies that never should be tolarated in Western Europe, and should be treated with contempt.

The problem here is that the European leaders (apparently, according to the OP, Australia’s in Europe, but never mind) didn’t say anything of the damned sort.

Here are some of the quotes from the OP:

Saying a policy concerning multiculturalism has failed is not the same as saying multiculturalism has failed.

Many crime control laws are flawed or fail, but that does not mean that criminal law has failed. Many tax laws have wildly unintended consequences, which doesn’t mean that the revenue system is wholly broken. Losing a battle doesn’t mean your army is totally incompetent.

It’s quite possible that the countries in question have taken on policies that didn’t work, or which weren’t cost effective, or which had unintended consequences. That doesn’t mean those leaders are calling for cultural uniformity.

You’re projecting your fantasies here. It doesnt have much to do with Islam as it has to do with providing poor areas with possible jobs. That will always be the one factor if you want the disenfranchised to integrate. You got the same problems with immigration families (I wont say immigrants because we’re talking about second or third generation people here) of Muslim or Christian culture (or anything else). The riots of 2005 were a good clue that religion is not factor. Culture might be, but in the end it all comes down to the prospect of being able to get a job and a life.

As for anti-americanism not being tolerated, we still have to “invent” something of the same level as the freedom fries and the anti-French hysterics of 2003.

From the vantage point of Toronto, “multiculturalism” seems boringly normal and successful. It certainly does not appear the case that having many cultural or ethnic enclaves is necessarily a recepie for disaster.

Be careful here. Many of the characteristics of multiculturalism are visible in Toronto, but it is not the quintessence of multiculturalism either, as such a thing doesn’t exist. You may have separate ethnic enclaves in the city, but all of them share in a sense the “Torontonian” identity. They are integrated, even though they retain part of a distinct identity.

I don’t think Toronto is the “quintessence” of multiculturalism, or indeed of anything; merely that it is a counter-example to the notion that the multi-culturalism thing cannot work.

Obviously, any geographic entity is gonna have some sort of corporate identity.

Except for the “afro-american” bullshit. If you have a dual citizenship, fine, if you were born here you are an american. Same goes for “irish-american”, “polish american”, “italian-american” Fine, I get you are proud of your antecedents coming from somewhere, but if you are born here you are american.

Hell, my antecedents are Welsh, Manx, Scots, German, Dutch and a few lonely English. I am a classic Heinz 57 style American mutt. Viva hybrid vigor.

If you go with multiculturalism, you end up with a little ghetto of Ashkenazis over here, a little ghetto of Italians over there, a swatch of Chinese over here and nobody learns from each other, they are too concerned with being themselves. That is how ghettos started in Europe, the Jewish clustered into a small community that wanted nothing to do with anybody else, wanted to obey their own laws and only maintain the amount of trade to get rid of surplus and get what they didn’t produce. All that accomplished was centuries of misunderstanding, suspicion [both ways] and hatred.

Okay, but how do you define this multiculturalism thing? Would you agree with my definition in [post=13457245]this post[/post]? I don’t think you can choose to have a multicultural or a non-multicultural society. Any society has to deal with cultural diversity, and will do so by adopting some policies that are more multiculturalist, and others that are more integrationist.

For better or for worse, blacks in the United States have their own ethnocultural identity that is distinct from the (mostly white) majority. History created this and has perpetuated it to this day. This is what “African American” means, and I think it’s mostly benign. After all, African Americans still have a sense of being Americans, just ones that are part of a subculture.

One of my favorite poems, by one most American poet.
Do good fences make good neighbors? I’ve never found it so.

A “ghetto” in its original meaning isn’t the same as a “Chinatown” area or an Italian “little Italy” neighbourhood in a modern NA city. The difference is force. Ghettos were not the spontaneous outcome of Jews “wanting nothing to do with anyone else”, they were imposed by the majority. They were a product of hatred, not its cause.

To my mind, having ethnic neighbourhoods which developed spontaneously adds flavour to the city - it is one possible antidote to everywhere looking like suburbia.

It’s the French way.

'sides, it’s what we’ve been doing while pretending we gave multiculturalism a fair shot, so it’s not like major restructuring is needed. Win-win.

Everyday, my loathing of Sarkozy grows deeper. It’s a sickness, it really is.