Tuesday, June 13, 2006

more musings on "cultural fallacy"

I know I posted on this a few days ago but it still just keeps nagging at me ....

[from] Michael Alexander’s “Competing Against America” (Wiley, 2005): “…multiculturalism does not achieve what should be its most important goal: to demystify the other. The views of cultural life presented by multiculturalism are uninspiring and uninteresting (…) because they present culture in the form of mind-numbing displays of folklore. (…) Canada is sorely in need of cohesion, but we are unlikely to achieve it because multiculturalism discourages individuals from different backgrounds from truly engaging with each other on the street, in neighbourhoods and in the workplace.”

What I find so offensive is the claim that the "views of cultural life presented by multiculturalism are uninspiring and uninteresting (…) because they present culture in the form of mind-numbing displays of folklore."

Uninspiring and uninteresting to whom? As I pointed out in my previous post, many people disagree enough with the author of that piece of drek to spend their hard-earned money on those "mind-numbing" folkloric festivals.

But what really irks me is the hasty generalization (there's that fallacy again) that "multiculturalism discourages individuals from different backgrounds from truly engaging with each other on the street, in neighbourhoods and in the workplace.”

Give your head a shake, bub. It's not "multiculturalism" that discourages that kind of social interaction. Rather, it's the mindset responsible for the birth of the concept of multiculturalism in the first place, a concept which was not and is (obviously) still not welcome by the ruling elite. It's the mindset that produces the kind of nativism that sneers at the folkloric cultural expressions of others ... and attempts to discourage such wholesome and innocuous entertainment, not least of all by promoting cultural uniformity as some sort of patriotic sacred cow.

Ever notice that it's not the people attending folk festivals raising a stink about the supposed evils of multiculturalism?

Such common folk are too busy "engaging with each other on the street, in neighbourhoods and in the workplace" (after having enjoyed a plate of perogies or potstickers together while at some multicultural festival) to notice whether or not multiculturalism policy is achieving "its most important goal" to the satisfaction of its critics.

Meanwhile, those self-appointed champions of cultural diversity are just itching to dismantle and further hobble an approach that, much to their chagrin, has been achieving that very goal... albeit on streets, neighbourhoods and workplaces that they probably don't frequent.

2 comments:

Slavko Kokodyniak said...

I agree,

Biggest problem is that the intended nature of multiculturalism has been perverted by political realities. The Liberal Party of Canada has used multiculturalism as a tool to reward communities who play ball with them and punish communities who do not. Ukrainians who tended to be anti-communist tended to drift towards the Conservatives.

The scary part is the rhetoric that is being thrown around now in the media about muslim clerics matches what was used as justification to intern thousands of Ukrainisn during WW1. It was a Ukrainian Catholic bishop that made a coment that Ukrainians should support the Austro-Hungarian empire -- an occupier of Western Ukraine. This was the "justification" to intern 5000+ Ukrainians between 1914-1920.

We never seem to learn from history. Mass hyteria is starting to attack the principles of multiculturalism and civil liberties.

slavko

Pawlina said...

I agree, multiculturalism was long ago hijacked by parties actually intent on maintaining the status quo.

I'm not sure the parallels are that clear between muslim clerics of our time and Bishop Budka during the WWI era.

Budka exhorted Ukrainians to support Austro-Hungary against Germany and Russia, but that was before Canada/Britain joined the war. Once that happened, Budka immediately recalled his previous statement and very adamantly urged Ukrainians to support their adopted homeland and fight Austro-Hungary. But that wasn't enough for Canadian bigots looking for any excuse to maltreat Ukrainians.

In today's situation, I have heard of muslic clerics praising the suicide bombers and Al Queda, but have not heard of muslim clerics denouncing them and urging their congregations to stand against them.

Granted, if they actually are, and we're not hearing about it, then you'd be absolutely right that history is repeating itself.

At least we can be reasonably certain that the Canadian gov't won't be setting up internment camps for muslims.