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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

cultural fallacy

I was so appalled to see this in a comment on a website post about the Islamist terrorists arrested in Toronto over the weekend.

Quoting 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.”

This belief is a prime example of a common fallacy taught to first-year students of philosophy. Given the number of university grads who hold this view (and go on to become teachers) it’s no wonder the practitioners of this fallacy can’t seem to recognize this classic example in real life.

It is sad how strongly this antagonism to cultural differences has prevailed over the past century. Just because you don’t like folklore, doesn’t mean others don’t. Just ask the people who flock to multicultural festivals like this one and this one.

It is troubling that there are still many Canadians who so dislike ethnic folklore that they actually believe it is necessary to take that harmless pleasure away from others in order to achieve (their idea of) a greater good.

That attitude is just plain mean-spirited. It used to be called nativism in days gone by, but that label has since become politically incorrect. And yet for many Canadians, all that matters (still) is labels.

Meanwhile, the cycle of violence and mutual-suspicion continues. Innocent (and helpless) people are getting hurt while the truly evil get away with their villainy. Why? Because so many of those with the power to stop evil are too blinded by bigotry to see past the superficiality of cultural differences. When you're so blinded, it's hard to tell the difference between good and evil.

Such people will, I am sure, hate Kobzar’s Children.

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