This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Christopher Haynes
Acknowledgements A big thank you to all those who helped me write this book: George, David, Craig, Mo, Peter, Carmen, Derek, and especially Deniss. This book is dedicated to Derek, perhaps the most interculturalist man I know, for putting words and structure to the central idea it describes. Introduction Not long ago, I was watching the Canadian national news and heard people complaining yet again. Complaining, you see, is the favourite pastime of those of us living in what I may be permitted to call the privileged world. These particular complaints were about different cultures. The news was full of them. Some members of the cultural majority were giving a girl heat because she was wearing a headscarf while playing football (soccer). I wondered why anyone would complain about this. Is it a problem for you that someone wears a headscarf? Or only during a game of football? In fact, is it any of your business? It seemed a strange thing to worry about, and was perhaps a complaint made because everything else in the complainant’s world was fine. Other complaints were coming through the screen from every city and town of the world every day. It seemed that our world was becoming less and less friendly to difference. How could this be? Could it be that the locals of our globalised world are, ironically, less tolerant of outsiders? Are we getting tired of words like “multiculturalism” and “diversity”? Are we
afraid that, with this rapidly changing era, our values and ways of life are at risk? Or are we just poking our noses in where they don’t belong? But the biggest question I had was, what can be done to make the world unafraid of and, if possible, benefit from difference? As I watched the story and the simplistic arguments for and against the headscarf, I realised that I knew the answer. I had known it for years but never thought of putting it on paper. I suddenly became afraid that, if I didn’t present my idea, my solution to cultural conflict, we could engage in more than just the wars of words that we are accustomed to in the privileged world. How could I have the answer? As someone who has spent the last nine years in international teams and organisations and seeking out crosscultural situations, I have known the answer for some time. One turning point in my life was at the age of seventeen when I went on a cultural exchange to Uruguay. I worked on a team of Canadians and Uruguayans carrying out numerous projects to improve the community we lived in. I learned how to communicate across cultures and why it was such an important way to solve the world’s problems. I learned how to understand culture and realised how much I could learn from the rest of the world. And I got my first taste of working on an intercultural team. I have been interacting with people from different cultures ever since, promoting interculturalism not through my actions. The biggest challenges in my life since then have come from differences in culture, and I and everyone involved in them with me have overcome them and become stronger and wiser every time. The title of this book comes from the title of Martin Wolf’s book Why Globalisation Works. We can know that globalisation works, Mr Wolf says, because it has been tried and has succeeded. This book’s name contains the word “will” because interculturalism has not been attempted on a wide scale. “Will work” contains the same conviction as “works” that interculturalism can succeed in creating a more peaceful world if given the right push by schools, governments, businesses and everyone else who stands to gain from it. As for the apparently rare lack of colon and subtitle, I prefer the simple hope that interculturalism will work even without a subtitle.
This book outlines a vision. It is a book for not just philosophical discussion at the ivory tower level but practical application in daily life. Justification of what you already believe is good: preaching to the converted is much underrated. But this book also provides a practical side in order to help you foster interculturalism beyond those open to reason, such as children. Readers should think carefully about the arguments I make. How does it apply to you? How can you apply my suggestions in your community? What cultural conflict do you see around you? What actions could and should you take to address them? How can you personally change? Who else should be reading this book? When you have answered those and your own questions, you have thought critically about your role in an intercultural world, and I will have achieved my purpose. If you change your attitude and those of the people around you, you have achieved much more.
Chapter 1: The Wrong Debate "Embracing diversity is one adventure after another, opening new paths of discovery that connect an understanding to caring, listening, and sharing with others who are different than ourselves." April Holland Multiculturalism is in ruins. What was once seen as a wise way to organise society around the groups that make it up is now considered dangerous. People are blaming multiculturalism for the loss of national values, ghettoes, riots and even terrorism. In Europe, multiculturalism has practically become a dirty word. In Canada, Australia and other places, many still cling to multiculturalism in support of its ideals: preserving culture (1) and collective rights in the face of pressure to assimilate. The news brings us heated debate among politicians, “experts” and vox populi on the subject. We are asked questions such as, is it okay for the Spanish Olympic basketball team to make their eyes look slanted for an advertisement? Is it wrong that Arabs are singled out by airport security? Is it fair to change established practices to accommodate difference, and if so, to what extent? Unfortunately, these questions miss the point. Answering them will not bring us any closer to solutions to the problems of cultural differences. It will only scratch the surface and provide band aid solutions to the problems these questions are really asking about. Instead of merely scratching the surface, we could address the roots of our problems. But how? What are the roots of these problems? What, indeed, are the problems? Too many immigrants? Not enough integration or conformity? Does the naturalised majority expect too much? Do immigrants take too much? Or do we simply not know how to organise a society to minimise cultural conflict? We continue to debate multiculturalism versus assimilation, and attempt to implement them either in small parcels at local levels, or disastrously at national levels. But this debate is also beside the point. The only reason we are having it is that we do not know of
a worthwhile alternative and can only choose the lesser of two evils. But surely we do not want society to crumble due to a simple lack of ideas. The anti assimilationists assert that, if we are all thrown into a melting pot, we lose much cultural knowledge that could benefit society. Moreover, assimilation simply does not work on people who staunchly resist it; those people resent attempts to make them assimilate and are in turn resented. Many of the anti multiculturalists oppose the implication that citizens who do not identify with the majority do not have to conform to the same rules. They believe that, in the name of multiculturalism, we have elevated the rights of minority groups above those of the majority. We have moved from equality under the law to special treatment if you are different; individual rights to collective rights; and from belonging to a nation state with well defined laws to belonging to an ethnic group that has the option of living outside those laws. I agree with both groups and will take a further step: there is a way to solve the problems our cultural differences create. It is not assimilation and it is not multiculturalism. It is interculturalism. There is a need for a model to organise society that realises the hopes with which multiculturalism was crafted. To think that different people cannot live side by side in harmony is ridiculous: people do it all over the world. And many of these societies, that today we would call multicultural, do not need official government encouragement. But multiculturalism does not integrate and can, in fact, speed disintegration. When people do not integrate, they separate, segregate, isolate and grow suspicious of one another. Our superficial reading of culture does not foresee the dangers the racially designated cluster attitude can create. How could we? We want the best of other cultures as long as it does not make us uncomfortable. But groups overlap so they should learn how to live and work together. For that reason, the demise of multiculturalism is not to be lamented but taken advantage of. The model to organise society must be sustainable and add value to the society it creates. Interculturalism can be that model. Here is a practical definition of interculturalism. Interculturalism is interacting with people of a different culture or mother tongue; moving into a neighbourhood with people
from a culture with which you are unfamiliar; attending religious ceremonies of a faith different from yours; making an effort to learn about different customs, languages and histories (and not just eating foreign food or conversing with your “of colour” neighbour); teaching or learning from people with learning and teaching styles that are influenced by the different cultures they come from; and making friends from other countries. You have likely performed some of these actions before and will do so again. You have already begun your intercultural education. While all these examples are interculturalism, I envision a planned and organised system of intercultural education, leading to an intercultural society. This system is what this book proposes. I will outline my vision and its benefits in the coming chapters. If you want to eliminate cultural conflict in your lifetime, and create a society that is not split but unified and strengthened by its differences, then read on. To have interculturalism, there must be respect and understanding. These are two words one is hearing more and more today. Heaven forbid they become mindless clichés used to describe some kind of ideal state of humanity decades out of reach. They are not fuzzy ideals: they are tools. Those of us who have learned how to use these tools to create a better world will nod heads as this book makes clear some things they already knew. For those who may not quite comprehend what power respect and understanding can have, read on. I and my fellow interculturalists, who may go by the names cosmopolitanists, humanists and so on, want to see kindergartens full of children with different upbringings; elementary schools where children are learning different languages and the cultures behind them; middle school students arranging for exchange students to give presentations about their country and culture; high school students starting clubs to spread awareness about religions and big groups of their classmates joining; and teachers teaching about religious festivals as they come up, inviting people who celebrate them to explain their meanings. We should be able to work in offices that hire with cultural diversity in mind, filling desks with the widest available range of backgrounds;
employees that look for a place to work based on their opportunities to expand their minds; companies that hire from overseas and keep all the new ideas they get from their international employees; and businesses that value intercultural experience because they know it will help their bottom lines. You may ask what all this effort would be worth. Interculturalism accomplishes two basic goals: learning and preventing conflict. As the basis of this book, there will be more on both of those themes throughout. Through creating diversity and learning from it, we will change our attitudes toward the world and each other, be more competitive in our work, open our societies to new ideas that will help them grow smarter and stronger, and create synergy in our teams to reach new heights of greatness. We now have a basic idea what interculturalism is. But interculturalism must not become a catch all term for all interaction between people of different backgrounds. You could say hello to your Arab neighbour every day, but until you try to understand him you will not learn or experience the benefits of interculturalism. Being friendly across cultures is not quite interculturalism. Superficial interactions between groups happen all the time; it does not mean we are learning anything. Interculturalism is also not sensitivity training. Sensitivity training is a reactionary idea that conjures the image of a few hours sitting in a classroom, reading slogans about how everyone is equal and we’ll never single out blacks or homosexuals for attack again. Sensitivity is not learned through force. In fact, forcing it is the antithesis of interculturalism and will lead to widespread resentment. Culture seems the most divisive aspect of our identity around the world (with the possible exception of skin colour). Many believe that in multicultural countries, there are privileges inherent in being an aboriginal, an immigrant or another group that does not identify with the majority. We are socialised to see ourselves as members of groups in competition for scarce resources. Whether or not these things are true is irrelevant: it is not fact that approves policy and determines elections, but public perception and opinion. All that is needed is a militant opposition party or media to tell citizens something is happening for them to believe it. Because a few powerful groups have so much influence
over public opinion, and because multiculturalism is failing, there is a moral vacuum that could be filled by anything from racist nationalism to interculturalism. What would you rather see? We attempt in the name of multiculturalism to balance the narrow interests of the majority (mainly conformity to values) and the disparate interests of minorities. But that is compromise. Multiculturalism fails because it is viewed as a compromise. Instead of compromising, we can have interculturalism, which is synergistic and win win. A win win attitude is required to see the benefits of interculturalism. Seeing life as zero sum leads to attitudes of territoriality (this is ‘my’ country and hence my resources). (Imbert, 2) On the other hand, a win win attitude leads to integration, as when ‘mine’ becomes ‘ours’ and everyone benefits. We do not want to lose one of the biggest strengths of the modern world: pluralism. Like diversity, this is an oft cited and little understood idea. In basic terms, pluralism means letting everyone have a voice and actually listening. Since everyone is different, we will get many different opinions. Interculturalism positions us to take fullest advantage of pluralism because we will be closely integrated with those with the most different viewpoints, those of different cultures from our own. But assimilation mixes and blends these different perspectives, and multiculturalism reduces us to the single opinion of our cultural group. (Incidentally, the conventional wisdom is that the United States and France are assimilationist and Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom are multiculturalist. It may be better to conceive of societies being on a spectrum, with assimilation at one end and multiculturalism at the other.) Pluralism is essential for diversity, and thus central to interculturalism. The world of globalised communication and migration in every direction will enable us to gain pluralism where it is lacking. This pluralism, this swell in our potential to understand other perspectives, is one factor that leads to more border crossing loyalties. But if better ways of thinking and living are not concrete enough benefits for you, how about your career prospects? Intercultural experience is similar to international
experience in that your linguistic ability can increase, you find new ways to solve problems, you can take advantage of differences brought on by changes and you can work more smoothly with more people. You can pass all of these benefits on to your teams and your children. More people in a globalised world will be interested in interculturalism. Our loyalties stretch beyond the boundaries of our country or ethnicity and will no longer be simplified as they once were. (2) George Simons of Diversophy France told me that our thinking, communication and cultural competences are all based on our ability to listen to realities and continually make distinctions. He meant that, it is tempting to stereotype and label, and to assume that people are just like you without considering the contrary, but we must avoid it. Holli Thomas of Deakin University, Australia, writes that
states are increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-national…. Individual identity is not bound within the state alone. Rather, individuals are recognized as also being members of communities that stretch beyond the confines of states…. Identity is not static and fixed but fluid and changing and identities are increasingly becoming global in nature. (Thomas)
The challenge, Dr Thomas tells us,
is to acknowledge and embrace the reality that individuals have multiple belongings and divided loyalties and they co-exist with other individuals of different cultures with similarly divided loyalties and complex identities…. As individuals are increasingly exposed to other cultures and seek to learn, experience and perhaps even adapt and interfuse different cultures with their own cultural traditions and understandings, interculturalism is promoted. (Ibid.)
The following chapters will explain how interculturalism can not only give opportunities to bring different cultures together but to take advantage of our differences to solve our problems.
There is no doubt that this vision will be a threat to some. Traditional and conservative people who prefer not to change, not to know other types of people and adopt different ways of life may see interculturalism as a threat to their comfort. The same people want and foolishly expect their children and grandchildren to think the same and will go to great lengths to preserve what they value for them. This view of change as a threat goes back to the zero sum mentality of which I wrote earlier. Cultures are “doomed to adapt”. (Imbert, 7) Those threatened by change may believe that, not only do cultures change through intercultural education, but even any small influx of immigrants is enough to force unwanted changes that, if not assimilated mean the death of that culture. The same thinking legislated the laws in Quebec designed to protect francophone Canadian culture and language through reducing the freedom of private business to operate in the language of their choice or citizens to choose schools. How myopic. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (and just about every psychologist you could meet), learning another language helps a child’s intellectual growth (and yours, too) in several areas of the brain and expands their thinking beyond their own community. Improvement of memory, creativity, problem solving ability and analytical skills could be called the side benefits of learning a foreign tongue. Moreover, when you learn a new language, you see a different perspective on your own culture and first language, which can make you appreciate it more. (ACTFL) (Read more about learning languages in the following chapter.) If zero sum thinkers see no benefit in interculturalism, they can opt out. Interculturalism should not be forced on anyone. Individual freedom, such as the freedom to pull one’s children out of a school that promotes interculturalism, should remain central to a democratic society. But an open mind should have no fear of interculturalism. It is a new idea that should push aside the old ideas of assimilation and multiculturalism: ideas that make sense on paper and do not work in practice. Why Interculturalism Won’t Work
Those who do not want new perspectives for themselves or their families will work against this vision of interculturalism. They may have a zero sum approach to the world, or simply despise difference. Those who cannot see beyond the assimilation multiculturalism debate will need clarity. New debate is necessary to rid people of their fears and preconceptions of interculturalism before it can work. Why Interculturalism Will Work Interculturalism will work when most people recognise the potential benefits to themselves and society: better understanding of each other, minimising cultural conflict and even better career skills. The debate must begin soon, before we dissolve into camps divided along cultural lines. A final note before we open the case for interculturalism. Do not judge harshly those who disagree with this book. A plurality of opinions is healthy and debate is necessary to move society forward. Moreover, it is easy to brand others as racist, segregationist or simply closed minded, and harder to listen to their arguments and include their voices in the debate. Accept other arguments, agree to disagree, and inform them gently that they are not losing anything.
Chapter 2: You Are Not Losing Anything “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.” Mahatma Gandhi During the final days of communism, unobserved by the outside world, Yugoslavia was disintegrating. Josip Broz Tito, the hero of the revolution, had died. The power of the central state and the ideology of communism was evanescing. The politics of fear emerged to take the place of the politics of unity. Groups whose names had, until then, only been historically relevant, were becoming points of conflict. As the protections the state offered receded, people retreated to the safety of the remaining source of identity they had: their races. (3) Having lived in the former Yugoslavia and met young people from each of its republics, I can testify to the divisive effects of splitting into differently named groups. Even those who were children during the war are filled with hate today. The details of the ethnic war are sketchy to outside observers (though the identities of the good guys and bad guys are starkly obvious to the participants) but the result is hundreds of thousands dead and millions alive still simmering with racist anger. The ethnic nationalists wanted their own state and were willing to kill everyone they had to get it. People were whipped into frenzy by elites who would gain from the break up of Yugoslavia. They told stories of the evils of the other side, even if the story went back hundreds of years—if they were bad then, they could be even worse now. And today, instead of trying to heal their wounds, they hold them up and say “never forget”. The majorities got what they were told they wanted. Any majority can become tyrannical. The tyranny of the majority does not happen often in the rich world but it seems to be on the rise, particularly in the mythically homogeneous lands of Europe. Nationalist sentiment may not be taking the frightening forms it assumed in Yugoslavia but it is something to take careful note of nonetheless. If
left unchecked it could reverse all the progress of these countries’ becoming immigrant friendly, and with it possibly even the ideals that make them world leaders in human rights and freedoms. The first and highest hurdle is our understanding of culture. Culture is like an iceberg. What you see on the surface may be attractive, but it is by far the smallest part. Food, traditional clothing, greetings, symbols: all are on the surface of culture. But some of us, when talking about our or others’ culture, do not go any further than these things. Real culture is under the surface: the values and virtues, the beliefs and assumptions, the things people do without realising their culture is influencing them. And with time, cultures evolve.
Culture itself is conservative.… When two different cultures come into contact, the force of competition and comparison can partially destroy the resistance and conservatism of a certain culture.… In this process of survival of the fittest, there is no absolutely reliable standard by which to direct the selection from the various aspects of a culture…. There is always a limit to violent change in the various spheres of culture, namely, that it can never completely wipe out the conservative nature of an indigenous culture…. No matter how radically the material existence has changed, how much intellectual systems have altered, and how much political systems have been transformed, the Japanese are still Japanese and the Chinese are still Chinese. (de
And you are still you. Your culture will evolve, but it will not likely disappear. A majority begins to fear the “loss” of its culture when a) the values that hold the majority together become less clear, and b) the changes in or evolution of that culture coincide with, and may be the result of, the arrival of outsiders. Outsiders come and go, as do locals, and when the outsiders are visibly similar to the locals, there is less argument over the changing of the culture because it is taken in stride. Outsiders come in and leave their mark through their contribution to our monochrome little society. But when the outsiders are visibly different, for example of a different religion, made visible by the appearance of new temples, new religious symbols or even just a new hat, the
suspicion begins. It is quite possible that these people are very different and will thus have a significant effect on the local culture; but it is only a bad effect if you let it be. And many do. Canada’s majority continually clashes with its native population because it is easier to send in police than resolve a dispute. India, historically a country of great cultural understanding, has long faced cultural conflicts in Punjab and Kashmir, and has seen ethnic conflict kill thousands elsewhere. France has been at war with the headscarf since 1989, when a demonstration was held to protest the expulsion of secondary school students who wore the scarves contrary to the ban on “ostentatious religious insignia” in French schools. (Seljuq) Though France has had a close historical relationship with Muslim countries, the government has neither defused nor escaped the terrorism of Islamic fundamentalism. Germany has had endless trouble integrating Turks because of the two sides’ lack of motivation to see the other’s point of view. South Africa, keen on branding itself as a beacon of enlightened multiculturalism since Apartheid, has recently suffered a spate of violence directed at immigrants from Zimbabwe. All this while people of almost every culture claim to value peace, justice and equality. And yet interculturalism is alive in the most unlikely of places. In the Middle East, you can find towns where Christians, Jews and Muslims have lived together in harmony for generations. These are people who have trouble understanding what all the fighting is about. In China, I received no complaints from fearful parents as I taught children about festivals such as Christmas that they do not celebrate. People are secure that their culture is not about to die at the hands of barbarians. All they ask in return is the chance to laugh at the funny mistakes in your Chinese. Why would members of countries rich in diversity take issue with attempts to learn from it? Perhaps China is used to change and its inhabitants do not fear change like the privileged world, where head scarves and veils menace the headlines. Nick Gillespie of Reason appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, a popular, controversial (hence the popularity) current events talk show in the United States to speak on immigration. He all but laughed at the senator who was proposing to pass a symbolic law
that all saying of the pledge of allegiance, which schoolchildren say every morning, and singing of the national anthem, must be done in English. Gillespie’s point was that, in spite of two hundred years of bombardment by immigrants, the country’s main language was English. And yet at this point in its history, many Americans wanted to make English the official language. (Reason) He also cited the first amendment to the constitution, which protects Americans’ rights to freedom of speech, and the Pew Hispanic Center’s research that finds that 100% of third generation immigrants (whose grandparents moved to the US) spoke fluent English. (The Press Enterprise) Reason printed the transcript of the show and dozens of emails that followed his appearance. Here is a selection of what was fit to print. “You are a man with no honor. The NATIONAL ANTHEM should be sung in English you smug, arrogant jerk. The changing of the words to be sung in Spanish by these invaders are making fun of the American Citizen only you are too stupid to see it.” “As an American, I am fed up with your bleeding-heart, leftist, communist view-point [even though Reason is a libertarian publication] and I'm fed up with it shoved in my face [even though he chose to watch the show]!!!!! You are an idiot and are out of control.” “No I am not against any race but enough is enough. Mexico and Africa are both countries that are falling apart and we are supposed to help them or we don't care but then we cannot be a people who are American, why? We are supposed to tolerate everyone and everything but we cannot have our own rights, again why? I am a Baptist preacher and many think that Jesus was a tolerate LORD and that is deadly wrong. Jesus loves us all but He hates sin and does not tolerate sin at all and we should not either.” And so on. I am afraid that these people, who seem to think not only that they are losing their native language somehow but that, thanks to immigrants, their country is coming apart at the seams, are not just extremists but the people we see every day in the office (and at church, apparently, too). Why would the inhabitants of a country so rich in
linguistic diversity want to neutralise this strength, one wonders. What do they have to lose? To one man, the answer is clear. Ruben Navarrette, Jr., editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, believes that the arguments about border security, lower wages and overburdened schools are nonsense. There is plenty of evidence that these fears are highly misguided. (4) No, he says, it is cultural change that makes us shiver, and any rhetoric disguising that fact should be exposed.
It conjures up the alarm bells that Benjamin Franklin set off about German immigrants in the late 18th century, who he insisted could never adopt the culture of the English, but would "swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours." It popped up in the mid-19th century amid worries that Chinese immigrants were "inassimilable," which led to Congress approving the explicitly-named Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. And it helped welcome the 20th century when Massachusetts Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge warned that immigrants (read: the Irish) were diluting "the quality of (U.S.) citizenship" and others complained that Italian immigrants were uneducated, low skilled, apt to send all their money to their home country and prone to criminal activity. (CNN)
These conflicts keep happening because no one explains that the nativists should not be frightened of new cultures. Interculturalism can turn fright into understanding. The real racists will be against all immigration that produces any more than a few easily bullied minorities. But the reactionary anti multiculturalists forget, conveniently, that most immigrants were brought to their country for economic reasons. Immigration is not a drain on an economy, and it may be a buoy. Many immigrants become entrepreneurs. They create jobs (mostly for other immigrants), and “[b]ecause of their links to suppliers and customers, immigrant entrepreneurs can be useful in constructing bridges to other networks outside the inner circle,” which brings immigrant communities closer to native ones. (Amsterdam, 2) These entrepreneurs bring their unique expertise and thirst to make
a new life for themselves to the business world, and should be encouraged. (More on immigration in the following chapters.) But we let conflicts fester when we could work harder to understand each other and give each other opportunities to be heard. It is easier to conflict than to work to understand. It is easy to look down on other cultures as inferior and harder to see them on their terms. To be able to do so, we should be integrated from the start, from school. Instead, we are kept apart until we find ourselves together, and instead of adopting openness we adopt suspicion of the unusual. And we blame when we should be looking inward. How easily we fail to see the true nature of conflict. Most conflict of any form or scale originates not with anger at the differences of others but within groups and inside ourselves. There is rarely a true good guy-bad guy division in a fight: both parties are equally guilty of violence. One need not view a stack of statistical data to understand this point: look at your own behaviour. When we pick people to fight with, it is because of our insecurity: not because we are strong but because we are feeling weak. Michael Ignatieff, former director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights and Policy at Harvard University, after visiting war zones around the world, wrote
Everywhere I’ve been, nationalism is most violent where the group you are defining yourself against most closely resembles you. A rational explanation of conflict would predict the reverse to be the case. To outsiders at least, Ulstermen [from Northern Ireland] look and sound like Irishmen, just as Serbs look and sound like Croats—yet the very similarity is what pushes them to define themselves as polar opposites. Since Cain and Abel, we have known that hatred between brothers is more ferocious than hatred between strangers. (Ignatieff,
We see (or fail to see) things in ourselves that we do not like and instead of admitting and resolving our own problems, we project them onto others and find scapegoats. Anyone threatened by the appearance of new cultural practices feels that their practices are fragile and weak. If practices and traditions were strong, they would withstand the slings and arrows of outsiders; if they are nothing more than statements everyone is told to follow,
they will collapse under scrutiny. Likewise, in the words of Irshad Manji, “faith is strong enough not to be threatened by questions; dogma is threatened by all questions.” (CBC) Since interculturalism should start in school (if not the home), it would be a good idea to teach religion in school. True, religion is not the same as culture, but it is a very important source of difference in the world. Many children will learn about Christmas from their families; and they will go to school and learn more about it and celebrate it with other children. But in recent years, in politically correct and easily offended circles, there has been a move to separate religion from clearly religious events like Christmas. (Bissoondath, 49) Some even suggest a total avoidance of instruction on Christmas in schools. But Christmas is such a big part of the Christian faith, the most popular religion in the world—why sweep it under the rug? In Singapore, the public holidays reflect the religious and ethnic diversity of the city. Chinese New Year, Vesak Day, Eid ul-Fitr, Diwali and Christmas Day are all celebrated. Sensible idea, in a country of four official languages and ethnic groups, plus several other non official ones, somehow crammed into one of the most densely populated countries of the world. Instead of hiding religious celebrations, celebrate them. And don’t stop at Christmas. At other times of the year, teach about Ramadan and Holi and Chanukkah. What are they? How and why are they celebrated? If the children believe what their parents tell them, their parents have no reason to worry they will lose faith or (gasp!) convert. Many people find their faith not weaker but stronger after learning different perspectives on god and worship. But nonetheless, many parents will not want their children participating in interreligious instruction and will want to opt out. They should have that right: freedom is more important than interculturalism. Many conservatives will see interculturalism as an evil that brings the poison of critical thinking. Others will see benefits in it only if their culture retains its superior position. Equally, some parents do not want their children learning about evolution. They are doing their children a disservice but freedom is more important than education. But education is still the only known cure for dogma.
The Forgotten Tyrannies The dogma of the majority can become the tyranny of the majority; but in much of the rich world we have seen the rise of two other forms of tyranny. The first is the tyranny of nationalism. Nationalism can take on frightening proportions, as anyone who has seen newsreel of the millions of young Nazis listening raptly to the ranting from the balcony can attest. But why do we fall so easily for its promises, its generalisations, its exclusivity, its simplicity and its logic? Because it satisfies a deep need within us to belong to a tribe. Our tribe is just as good as any of the others—better, even, and we can never be separated. “Nationalism…is a language of fantasy and escape…. Nationalist rhetoric re-writes and re-creates the real world, turning it into a delusional realm of noble causes, tragic sacrifice and cruel necessity.” (Ignatieff, 187) Tyranny of the nationalist ideal is perhaps the biggest concern, but we are also threatened in multicultural societies (Canada will serve as a particularly relevant example) by a tyranny of competing ethnic, religious and cultural groups. Since these groups are demarcated by the blurred lines of the Canadian constitution, it is apt to call these issues the tyranny of multiculturalism. Examples of the tyranny of multiculturalism abound— every day, every conceivable medium tells Canadians how something is wrong with Canada because it gives too much or too little to its cultural groups. Neil Bissoondath’s book Selling Illusions: the Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada is a superb read for anyone interested in these examples and their consequences. I go more deeply into instances of the problems that official multiculturalism creates in other parts of this book; for now, I will content myself with the recommendation of Mr Bissoondath’s book. It demonstrates the problems the tyranny of multiculturalism can bring. But I will say here that multiculturalism will breed ignorance and resentment. Here is a related example of well intentioned thinking gone wrong.
“Tolerance” is spotlighted as an ideal that should not be. Tolerance means putting up with someone, to the extent that they do not change your culture. If we only put up with people, or “accept” them, we are susceptible to feelings of superiority. When we put up with others, it is often newcomers to the community. If too many newcomers arrive, we get scared that we will have to do more than just tolerate a subservient minority. We forget that we were once newcomers, or that we may have opinions that differ from those of the community, and turn on our superiority to look with tolerance at newcomers. Tolerance is incompatible with interculturalism. And yet it is idealised. (5) I am not a tolerant person. I do not tolerate racism, for instance. I do not tolerate intolerance, though many well meaning people suggest we do so by letting, for example, radical religious people change laws, whether just for them or for everyone. I have no time for the intolerant or for those who tolerate them. Tolerance is even hijacked to silence any criticism of nationalism and religiosity. You can’t question my faith, you can’t say that about my country, said the traditionalist with the house of cards. You must tolerate all my opinions, even when my stating so is intolerant of yours. If we were taught in school to question these things, we would rely more on reason and inquiry than on baseless faith. Because of its emphasis on varying perspectives, interculturalism could, in the right conditions, be a vehicle for teaching not only other cultures, but how to look critically at the world and let it change. Letting it change, of course, is not what nationalist or religious conservatives want. We work too hard to save and preserve things, rather than letting them evolve with time. Even better, we could embrace change and reap the benefits. Nation states are no longer homogeneous (if they ever were), and even if they were, our contact with people in other countries would lead us to adopt new practices, learn new languages and watch our cultures change. I object to policies of “cultural development”, or national ministries of culture or “heritage”, because culture is not created or directed by a government ministry. Culture is in the minds of everyone. Preserving it, guiding it, encouraging this and
banning that: all are tactics that artificially push culture in one direction when people tacitly decide that direction themselves. Some complain about losing traditions, but if anything effects the loss of tradition, it is the people who once celebrated them and no longer do. As Kwame Anthony Appiah said, “[s]ocieties without change aren't authentic; they're just dead.” (NYT) Al-Yassini Ayman, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, says that minority rights should be accomodated “as long as that doesn't infringe on the rights of the majority.” (Globe and Mail) He is right; but when do “rights” become narrow preferences? Does the majority really have a right to make someone remove a headscarf or veil? Do minorities really have the right to stone women for adultery? Does anyone have the right to impinge on an individual’s rights? A majority has the privilege of believing it is upholding its supposed values, such as individual freedom, and object on apparently unrelated grounds that someone else should change. This is the assimilationist argument. But how does it stand up to reality? Nearly 10% of the counties in the United States are now majority minority. In other words, of the 3141 counties in the US, minorities outnumber whites in 303 of them. (Washington Post, 1) The Washington Post wrote that local communities and immigrants (using towns in Virginia as the example) should work together and learn the common language of the community. However, when, Spanish speaking immigrants form the majority, does it not make sense for the English speaking minority to learn Spanish, rather than telling the majority to learn English? Surely, if we are going to assimilate anyone, it is the minority. Moreover, we should not ignore the benefits one gains from the challenge of trying to communicate across languages. (Ibid., 2) Communicating As important as respect and understanding, and a big part of it, is communication. Communication could be as simple as listening, perhaps to someone’s grievances at discrimination, or even to racist rantings: everyone has a point to make, and freedom of
expression is essential to democracy. Communication could mean dialogue between leaders of conflicting groups in a war, or neighbours in an argument over lawn boundaries. It should happen everywhere there is conflict and should be taught everywhere in order to minimise the threat of conflict. What if your neighbours do not speak the same language as you? You could expect others to change when you will not, or you could try learning their language. According to National Geographic’s Wade Davis, language is more than words with rules about where to put them: “a language is a flash of the human spirit. It’s a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world.” (TED) To those who say it would be better to discard inefficient linguistic diversity and all speak alike, he says “great. Let’s make that language Yoruba [from Nigeria]. Let’s make it Cantonese [from China]. Let’s make it Cogui [from Colombia], and you’ll suddenly discover what it would be like to be unable to speak your own language.” (Ibid.) It is very difficult for us to properly understand a different culture, and thus both resolve conflicts through communication and gain a culture’s different ways of perceiving the world and solving its problems, if we do not understand its language. Some take these benefits to mean we should try to preserve language. Preserving language is not quite the same as preserving culture, though the two are similar and may be equally dead ended. That said, there is nothing particularly wrong with interculturalists trying to keep languages, as long as we learn from it. Diversity is great and all, but if we are not benefitting from it, there is no reason to save moribund languages or resurrect dead ones. But living languages are our primary modes of communication. If you like the idea of learning a second (or third if you are from Europe or Africa or South East Asia, or fourth if you are Belgian) language, here are some tips. A) Expect a challenge. Languages can be very difficult to learn for the smartest people and impatience is fatal. You’re not going to understand
everything, but don’t lose faith in your ability. Everything worth learning takes a lot of time to get good at. Study an hour a day, speak it to yourself out loud and speak it to others whenever you can. B) Just do it. Being nervous is natural but it’s a barrier. You will make mistakes. Learn to laugh at them. You will often find that you yourself are your best source for comedy. Push yourself to overcome your fear or you won’t practice. C) Use the internet. Read newspapers, watch videos, listen to podcasts, download music. I download mp3s and listen to them while I’m on the bus and subway. Just getting to work means two hours of learning a language every day! Don’t give the excuse they used to give, that you have no access to “living language”, when you’ve got internet access. D) Ask for help. Don’t be shy. Most people are happy to help and love to teach others their native language. In fact, it’s a great way to start a friendship. If you are learning without a teacher and outside a place where it is spoken (which many do, so it’s not impossible), use the internet to find a conversation partner. (Try http://www.language-exchanges.org/, for one.) E) Use your imagination. If your memory has the right trigger, you can recall anything. If you connect the sound of the word to a clear image in your mind (the more familiar or exaggeratedly humourous or sexy the better), you are far more likely to remember it than constantly repeating it to yourself. Here is an example. When trying to learn the word for cake in Mandarin, dan gao, I first pictured my friend Dan, imagined him falling into an enormous cake and then flying upward (‘gao’ sounds like the word for ‘high’). When I want to recall the word for cake now, I imagine the cake and my short scene with Dan comes to mind. Here is another example, and this time I want you to remember it. If you ever meet me after reading this book, tell me this word: jezik (pronounced ‘YEAHzeek’), Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian for language or tongue. If I wanted to remember it, I would imagine a tongue sticking out at someone
shouting “yeah!” and then some comically stereotypical hillbilly named Zeke that the person is shouting at. You may have a much better way of remembering the same word. F) Learn the culture. Yes, believe it or not, I advocate learning about culture. Culture and language are two sides of the same coin. They reflect and reinforce each other. And the more you are interested in the culture, the more easily the language will come to you. G) Enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, why are you doing it? For your career? Learn to enjoy it. But language learning is not the only way to communicate. Communication is about understanding each other. It is about expressing meaning. Just because I know how to say the word “heart” in another language, it does not mean my understanding of the heart is the same as yours. One culture may speak of the heart as where the mind comes from; another may say the heart is useless and the hands are our greatest asset. One group might say “my heart hurts” to mean I feel pain in my chest; another might say the same thing to mean I just lost my brother in law to a tiger attack while he was farming almonds. If you want to communicate, you can learn the language, or you can learn to communicate in other ways. Smiling is a universal form of communication. So is glaring. Pictures communicate at least a few hundred words. And if you have a translator, ask the new people to tell you stories about how they perceive the world. Miscommunication is common. Do not get angry. Do not get impatient. The word’s path from the brain of one person, through the lips, into the ear and then the brain of the next person, requires interpretation, and we do not always hear what others want us to hear. So the more different you are, the more likely are miscommunications. They may use different words to express the same thing or vice versa. Tone down your strong statements if they may end the discussion, because they may not be appropriate in the culture you are dealing with. And try saying things in different ways if you think you will be misunderstood, eg. “my friend and I are close; we are good friends” instead of just “my friend and I are close”, which could mean you live near each other or you are more
than just friends. (6) I used to say I was sorry a lot until I did my exchange to Uruguay. My best friend at the time, Miguel, whose English was only slightly better than my Spanish (poor), was trying to give me directions. Instead of listening to him, we went the wrong way and came late to our team function. I said I was sorry. He told me that “sorry” was not enough for him. If I really felt sorry, I would need to show, in whatever way, that I was sorry. The difference in our cultures, partly because of the difference in use of a simple word, nearly caused a rupture in our friendship. We only got over it when I saw his side of the argument because I learned to listen. Communicate to learn the ways of thinking of other people. When you learn about the very different, your mind expands and grows, and you realise more about yourself and the world around you than you ever thought there was. The next time you feel “threatened” by another group, like the anglophones in Virginia, try to avoid the simple thinking that divides. “I’m not a racist, but… “…but why can’t those damn Asians drive?” “…but what’s wrong with telling them they should conform?” “…but why is it that all blacks…”(insert stereotype here) “… I’ve got nothing against those people, but one of our kind should not marry one of them!” “…but this is America for goodness sake! Don’t you foreigners understand that?” In fact, if you have ever said the following sentence, you may want to rethink your stance: “I’m not …, but I wouldn’t want to live next to a…for fear of….” But then, we can’t blame you for any hard feelings, as you were there first. That is an argument you could hear anywhere in the world: we got here first. It is such a widely accepted source of prejudice that it is generally taken as a given. A society is seen as benevolent if it lets people into its country and gives them rights. If that were an excuse for discriminating against minorities, everyone descended from immigrants in the
Americas should be sued and relocated for stealing the land that once belonged to indigenous people by putting houses, roads, offices, libraries and recreation centres on it. If we were to apply the rule without double standards, white people should all move back to Europe. We should but we won’t; but what we will do is target groups that do not conform to all of our rules and tell them to conform or move. The majority becomes hypocritical without realising it (or perhaps without caring), and as the majority it has the power to impose its will. The principles behind this kind of discrimination are hard to defend: treating a group as one (sometimes as big a group as to include all arabs or all immigrants), which is stereotyping; asking others to do something you would not do yourself (leave their culture behind or go away), which is hypocrisy; judging people on their culture or community leaders rather than their contribution to the community. For a more understanding world, we should 1) treat people as individuals; 2) accept immigrants to our community for the benefits they bring and 3) measure one’s contribution rather than their differences. I will take these up in the next chapter. Why Interculturalism Won’t Work Interculturalism will not work if we are not more relaxed about the development of our culture. Protecting culture is not protecting ourselves. Let it evolve. That might mean shedding our fear of outsiders and even learning more about them. Our fears of losing our language could push us to eliminate the very diversity that keeps us integrated with the rest of the world. Our fears of losing our culture lead us to forgo any real benefits other cultures have to offer. And we may recoil into our ethnic groups in fear of the outside world, when we could embrace it. Why Interculturalism Will Work You are not losing what you want to keep because you will always be able to choose. If you are going to lose anything, worry that it is the potential benefits of diversity, not some rose coloured mythical history that never really existed. Culture will change, beliefs
will change, and as we learn from each other we will realise how valuable difference is. To extract the value, however, we must look beyond the superficialities of culture— especially our own. In the next chapter, we explore identity and how to recognise differences with more than a superficial understanding of them.
Chapter 3: The Ignorance of Reductionism “Unless we first see ourselves as different, we will never see ourselves as the same.” Dottie Blais The selectivity of race In Yugoslavia, when the state was crumbling, the various ethnicities retreated from it as from a cliff face. They sought out the next most obvious source of identity: their ethnicity. They held fast to the edge of the ethnic cliff and still do to this day. Why do we consider ourselves inextricably linked to an ethnicity? Protection, like the Yugoslavs? If we don’t need protection (except perhaps from the police), why do we cling to ancient ways of looking at the world? And perhaps more importantly for us, where do these ethnicities come from? We tend to be very selective of our identities, picking and choosing parts of our life and putting aside the ones that we do not want to be identity. We reduce our identity to simplistic ideas of religion and language. Well, what about shoe size? Why do we not organise ourselves around our favourite colours? Or our favourite television programs? (Sen) Certainly, the world would be more interesting if wars were started over which version of the Office, the American or the British, was superior. And yet, we do the same with our identities. And the ironic thing is, the parts of our identity we are most protective of are the ones we had no hand in choosing. Your skin colour probably has not changed over your lifetime. If you are religious, there is a good chance it was thrust upon you by your parents and your community. And how far do you go back to determine your nation? Back to the time your ancestors landed at such and such a rock? Back to when they bravely fought the battle of Big Hill, or after they assimilated and bravely fought the battle of Little Hill? Was that 200, 400 or 10,000 years ago? Right after your people conquered and subjugated another people, creating the borders your country claims today? Did your ethnicity that you are so proud of start when people bearing your name viciously slaughtered their slightly-different neighbours, or was it right after that, when the
neighbours took revenge? That is the humiliation you remember so well from history class, so that is where your ethnicity starts. We are so selective. Instead of being selective, why don’t we just consider ourselves all humans? Or perhaps I am being selective myself: I prefer to go back 200,000 years when humans all lived in Africa. Tribes were still fighting each other back then, of course, but they probably selected different criteria for whom to kill. The more we realise that is all we are, humans among animals, the more likely we are to realise that race is an illusion. But the illusion is an alluring one. Our brains did not evolve to understand the inner workings of countless cultural groups that populate the world and even our town. In response, we categorise everyone according to simplistic ideas of religion, skin colour, and so on, perhaps to make things easy for our simple minds. When white people arrived in Australia, they found a group of people they called the Aborigines. They assumed the Aborigines were one cohesive group; and since they found some who were conservative, they found it convenient to assume they were all conservative and backward. And yet, within the Aborigines, there were some subgroups highly receptive to change, some closed minded; some highly creative, some still using stone tools. (Diamond, 253) In fact, any kind of taxonomical division of the world’s people into six or ten or twenty types, while convenient, tends to be terribly reductionist. Samuel Huntington attempted to simplify the future of American foreign policy in The Clash of Civilizations at the risk of missing nuances that could otherwise have lead to diplomatic progress. A culture familiar with such nuances, however, whose members have interacted with people from the various places; or at least aware that such nuances could exist, through intercultural training, would be well poised to reap the benefits. Anyone brought up in an intercultural environment is a natural ambassador. The root cause of racism is collectivist thinking. A racist holds that a person’s race determines his or her morals, abilities and worth, and should be judged according to race. (CapMag) Creating a culture has a lot to do with stories of wrongdoing by others; if you
do not believe me, reread your history books and look for the defining moments of your nation. Racism has a lot to do with ignorance: not understanding another group leads many to fear them. Where the curious mind expands, the uncurious mind shrinks. This kind of collectivist thinking fuels such things as reparations and racial quotas. Since we black/yellow/red people as a group were wronged in the past, we should be rewarded today. That is a shaky premise. Are you really so disadvantaged today? If slavery continued until yesterday and suddenly stopped, yes, by all means, give the newly freed slaves the real jobs, the university spots and the back pay they are entitled to. But slavery is not the problem of modern black people. Imprisonment is not the pressing concern of modern North American Asians. And modern native North Americans are not punished and robbed and humiliated as they were until recently. They face discrimination, no doubt; but do you think if you get a job over someone more qualified because of your race that you won’t face more discrimination? Everyone will know you got your job because of the colour of your skin, and not by the content of your character. We do not judge people in court according to the sins of their grandfathers: we judge them by the actions they committed as individuals. Instead of affirming racism through affirmative action, we should end racism. That requires changing attitudes, not the piecemeal dismantling of a system based on individual merit. Reparations are a similar evil. Real reparations are a tool of justice to remunerate victims. But in the case of slavery and most other such historical injustices, victim and perpetrator are long dead. Who should be recompensed? Should the black, yellow and red people who are successful, who have six figure incomes and drive rolls royces be compensated? Moreover, should I feel guilty for the sins of other white people? Then why does the Reparations Assessment Group want me to? Perhaps it is not concerned with justice. Do not worry that your ancestors were victims, simply be glad you are not and use what you have to make sure no one is ever wronged again. In the meantime, beware of racial or community leaders that will attempt to manipulate your history for their own pursuit of power.
Slavery in the Americas was obviously worst on black people, but white people suffered as well. Labour costs were extremely low, which forced non slaveholders into unemployment. Perhaps whites should receive reparations as well. Apartheid, in South Africa, on the other hand, ensured that non whites were kept out of the formal labour force, so that white people were guaranteed jobs. Once the white quotas were filled, the other races could have what was left over. Though an extreme case, Apartheid shows what could happen when a strong labour lobby meets a collectivist political culture. Besides, quotas work against the very people they purport to help. According to Ayn Rand in the Voice of Reason, “[i]f a young man is barred from a school or a job because the quota for his particular race has been filled, he is barred by reason of his race. Telling him that those admitted are his ‘representatives,’ is adding insult to injury. To demand such quotas in the name of fighting racial discrimination, is an obscene mockery.” (ibid.) “...The quota doctrine assumes that all members of a given physiological group are identical and interchangeable—not merely in the eyes of other people, but in their own eyes and minds. Assuming a total merging of the self with the group, the doctrine holds that it makes no difference to a man whether he or his ‘representative’ is admitted to a school, gets a job, or makes a decision...” (ibid.) We are stripped of our individuality by institutionalised racism. In the previous chapter I suggested that we 1) treat everyone as an individual; 2) accept immigrants to the community for the benefits they bring and 3) measure one’s contribution rather than their differences. I will expand on each point. 1) Though it may strike you as ironic, the focus of interculturalism should not be
on the group but the individual. Perhaps I appear to advocate some form of cultural collectivism or treating people as members of their groups, but I do not. Intercultural education should emphasise the individual contributions each of us brings to the table. If it does not, we risk stereotyping, by assuming that our contributions can only be that of our culture, and reductionism, by assuming that we are only products of one culture, when the reality is that our cultural influences may be far more variegated. What, for
example, is my culture? My parents are from England, and thus so was my upbringing; I have lived most of my life in Canada, though in four different parts of Canada; I have also lived in Uruguay, Slovenia and China; and I have friends from some fifty countries around the world. All these are my cultural influences, so to reduce my potential contribution to that of “a Canadian” or “a Westerner” could be to lose everything I have learned from elsewhere. As an individual, on the other hand, I have much to contribute. 2) Immigrants bring so much with them: skills, cultural and religious knowledge,
hopes and dreams of a new life, food, clothes and new practices in everything. So why do we so easily forget these generous gifts to our community and focus on the problems they create? I worked for six years in an organisation called AIESEC. One of AIESEC’s biggest activities is bringing foreigners from anywhere in the world to your community to work in local businesses. Having witnessed the results of my and others’ work countless times, I can honestly say that everyone benefits from AIESEC. Businesses hire AIESEC interns in part because they bring different perspectives. Different cultures and systems of education will bring very different ways of doing business, and thousands of companies sign up every year to reap these benefits. Communities benefit because residents learn from the newcomers. Even the act of communicating with someone from a different place can be eye opening. Some Tibetan monks can warm up their bodies so much that they can withstand temperatures in which I would contract hypothermia. Why do I not know how to do the same? Because I have not tried to learn from them. Furthermore, immigrants could be the solution to dying old industrial or agrarian towns in rich countries. Skilled and unskilled workers alike from poor countries would bring development with them to the hundreds of so called zombie towns in North America that are poor because most of the natives are gone. Immigrants bring different languages or dialects that can teach you about your own, just as different cultural practices highlight your own. Immigrants and other newcomers abound with these opportunities for learning and other benefits, so welcome them with open minds. 3) As beneficial as difference can be, we often get entangled in fearful talk about
just how different everyone is, how wide the gap between us and them is. This talk tends
to ignore one’s contribution to the community. Ask not what THEY have brought to this community but what YOU have brought. Immigrants contribute the same things as you do: tax dollars, skills if they are professionals, innovation and jobs if they are entrepreneurs, new knowledge if they are scientists, new perspectives if they are policymakers, new clothing if they are tailors, and so on. Do not be so hasty to brand someone as different that you fail to realise that, deep down, all humans are very similar. We hold many of the same values across religions and cultures, we just have different ways of living those values. These steps are the first to appreciating and extracting the benefits from diversity. So it’s time to take the diversity bull by its horns! But wait. What’s so good about diversity, anyway? We hear about how great it is all the time, even that it is a part of our culture or way of life. But most of us do not realise its value. And if we do not realise its value, we will brush off the arguments as irrelevant to us. This ignorance must be reversed. Here is a primer from the Wisdom of Crowds. First, diversity contributes to pluralism because it “adds perspectives that would otherwise be absent” and “takes away, or at least weakens, some of the destructive characteristics of group decision making.” (Surowiecki) Groups that are too much alike find it hard to keep learning. Homogeneous groups are bad at investigating alternatives. Bringing in new people brings in new knowledge for problem solving; which means that, as communities and nations become more diverse, they have more capacity for solving problems, not more problems. The problems are invented by our prejudices. Even the “best” culture (which of course does not exist, as cultures have self reinforcing values) needs new people, brought up in different places, to refresh itself and not collapse. It also brings groupthink and pressure to conform in spite of good reason not to. (Ibid.) Any organisation can gain from a good mix.
Proximity to another cultural group, and willingness to learn from it, encourages borrowing advantageous inventions and thus to creativity, innovation and more invention. (Diamond, 254) Evidence for this is China during its period of openness, when it gave birth to numerous useful inventions, and then its stagnation and regression during its times of isolation. Barricading one’s people inside a country is usually disguised as our opportunity to do things our own way. It leads instead to poverty of pocket and mind. One easy way to bring yourself closer to those of other cultures is, if of course you have the opportunity, to mix with people from that culture. Phil Wood, who managed a project called The Intercultural City: Making the Most of Diversity, said in an interview “mixing is about growing, learning and realizing different world-views, and trading ideas and goods; it’s about working through disagreements to produce something new, some innovation. That's where the growth [comes from], through working out clashing ideas to produce something new.” (DFAIT) A British group called Race for Opportunity (RfO) says that 78% of organisations find what RfO calls “the business case for race” beneficial to their results. RfO cites recruitment, motivated staff, better productivity, advantages in globally competitive markets, greater understanding of customers and improved public relations as some of the reasons the 113 companies the RfO surveyed spend nearly $100m on diversity programmes. 40 of the 113 (some of the biggest corporations in the UK) attribute $26b in profits to these programmes. (RfO) A great example of a company that understands interculturalism is Lenovo. According to the Economist,
Lenovo went further than hiring international managers. “We are proud of our Chinese roots,” says Mr Yang, but “we no longer want to be positioned as a Chinese company. We want to be a truly global company.” So the firm has no headquarters; the meetings of its senior managers rotate among its bases around the world. Its development teams are made up of people in several centres around the world, often working together virtually. The firm’s global marketing department is in Bangalore.
A huge effort has been made to integrate the different cultures within the firm. “In all situations: assume good intentions; be intentional about understanding others and being understood; respect cultural differences,” reads one of many tip sheets issued by the firm to promote “effective teamwork across cultures”. Mr Yang even moved his family to live in North Carolina to allow him to learn more about American culture and to improve his already respectable command of English, the language of global business. In short, Lenovo is well on its way to becoming a role model for a successful multinational company in the age of globality…. Perhaps Lenovo and other new champions will become the first of a new breed of truly global companies, rooted in neither rich nor developed countries but aiding wealth creation by making the most of opportunities the world over.
At first glance, it is impossible to see how one can foster diversity without multiculturalist groupings or affirmative action style quotas. Diversity can be difficult to find where it does not occur accidentally (eg. through colonialism or open immigration policies) but it can be manufactured. Diversity of perspective is perhaps the most important way diversity will improve an organisation or community. Perspective is everything when dealing with customers, hiring or looking for a job, or in any kind of conflict. You say there are always two sides to any issue? I say there are always more than two sides to any issue. Diversity does not mean two perspectives but multiple perspectives, and one person may hold more than one point of view. One of belligerent groups’ favoured tactics is to polarise debate. Groups in conflict do so in two ways. First, they bait their enemies into committing atrocities in order to drum up support for the good guys. Second, they eliminate moderate voices in their own ranks so that the only options are “us” and “them”. Reducing an argument to two sides is at best losing something and at worst the beginning of a fight. But multiple perspectives promote new ideas, solutions and wisdom. So stack your town council or schoolboard with people of different backgrounds. Promote people with foreign business experience to your board of directors. Bring those
with different opinions, skills and perspectives into your team. And bear in mind that there is no benefit in sacrificing intellectual and cultural diversity for racial diversity. But benefiting from diversity of culture is a longshot if we do not understand culture. And to understand culture, we must begin with our own. What is my culture, anyway? We tend to over- or underestimate the importance of culture in its creation of the individual. Understanding our own culture is like looking at your own painting from close up. You see the details, the brushstrokes depicting what people eat, wear, do and to some extent, think. But you do not see the big picture until you back away, perhaps into immersion in another culture. And when you distance yourself from your own painting, you learn that there are other paintings in the gallery, with different merits from yours. To appreciate your own culture, spend time immersed in another one. The easiest way to do so could be to go down the street to the nearest community centre, and the most interesting could be to spend six months in Japan (or if you are from Japan, anywhere else). Interacting with or observing people from different cultures makes you realise how similar we all are, and yet how much there is to learn about the world. In an intercultural society (or even in a multicultural one), opportunities for this learning abound. Very briefly, culture is the shared premises, values, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes towards life, death, birth, family, children, god, and nature of a group of people. It is not limited to a geographically defined group and could be found in an organisation as well. Cultural identity can be used in a collective sense or the individual. No one has completely discarded cultural identity, but the rise of those with cross cultural identities is one of great interest. We hear much these days about “citizens of the world”. It is unrealistic to take from every culture in the world to create a person, as one might create a kind of robot; but that does not make the term meaningless. It is used in two ways: to show that our cultural
influences may be wide ranging, and to show that our loyalties are not with a state or religion but the world and its people (the term for which is humanism). On the former point, Peter Adler, President and CEO of the Keystone Center, says the following:
Human beings cannot hold themselves apart from some form of cultural influence. No one is culture free. Yet, the conditions of contemporary history are such that we may now be on the threshold of a new kind of person, a person who is socially and psychologically a product of the interweaving of cultures in the twentieth century. (Adler)
We need no longer be tribesmen, locked into one culture. Indeed, in some of our cases, it is imprecise to define ourselves in a few words related to language and nationality when we may be far more. On the latter point, humanists will grow in numbers as long as there are people who continue to think critically about their role in the world, while rejecting the aggression of appeals to patriotism and god. To foster this critical thinking, bring people together from all over the world and let them discuss the issues affecting their world. Common human values are the bridge. Bringing together people from different cultures will teach us not only about different people but about ourselves and our own culture. The fear of loss of culture, the clinging to old ways, the fear of outsiders is usually due to an ignorance of our own culture. If we spend all our lives in one community, avoiding contact with others, we have no reference points, nothing with which to compare or contrast our own culture, which makes it very hard to understand. But if people from different cultures work together and learn from each other, they will have the chance to see their own culture from the outside, and thus, to see its true form. Only then will they understand it enough to appreciate it. And yet, we fear losing our culture so much that we put on shallow displays of it, as if emphasising its superiority over others. We hold endless festivals celebrating our culture (or “our multicultural heritage”) when they may be encouraged as much by insecurity as by pride. We hold film festivals and bazaars and multicultural shows without going into
the depths of the culture. It is possible that the deeper layers of culture might be too much for people used to ethnic festivals that just display superficialities. (Bissoondath, 80) These deep layers of culture, our attitudes toward the world, toward life, death and others and the roots of these attitudes, are the real sources of difference in our world. If you were brought up in a multicultural environment and decide to go live somewhere else, discard whatever you learned at the food stand at your local festival. Do not expect to understand much about the culture for the first six months. And expect culture shock. To understand your culture, think about its symbols. The most ignorant people are the ones who cling to symbols but don’t know what they mean, such as those Americans and Canadians wearing flag hats and shirts and underwear with no understanding of the stars and stripes and colours on the sheet that brings a tear to their eye. Many individuals’ cultures are far deeper than we realise. While many or even most people in the world are most influenced by one culture (which has been influenced by many other cultures, of course), we ignore the fact that many among us have two or more major cultures or backgrounds. In great numbers, second generation Americans— children of immigrants—take advantage of their American-hyphen-other identity. A study which I have not read (Kasinitz et al.) called “Inheriting the City: the Children of Immigrants Come of Age” finds that immigrants to New York bestow gifts on their children in the form of a foreign cultural upbringing. Despite a lack of integration, “the second generation is rapidly moving into the mainstream…creatively combining their ethnic cultures and norms with American ones” into “hybrid minority cultures”. (Ibid.) The respondents of the survey upon which the report is based considered themselves Americans and New Yorkers in the ways they were different from their parents, such as (for better or worse) disagreeing with physically punishing children. The result is a big group of people well positioned to inherit a globalised world, not because they know two cultures but because they know culture and the world much better than their AllAmerican counterparts.
Traveling should not be taken so lightly, as you may only see the good (or bad) side of things without understanding why things are the way they are. If you leave your hometown, be careful about your expectations and assumptions. It is dangerous to go to another culture having already made your mind up about the way the world is. Traveling can of course open your mind; after all, as a Zambian proverb goes, a man who knows only the stream in his village cannot believe that vast oceans exist. But do not mistake rivers for oceans. Make an effort to understand the new place by establishing relationships and asking questions. Learning must acompany the experience or the incorrect assumptions you make will seem true and you will leave the culture knowing less than nothing about it. Many businesses, non profits and government agencies exist to help you prepare for your time abroad, or help you reintegrate and learn when you go back. Canada’s Centre for Intercultural Learning helps reintegrate Canada World Youth exchange participants (which I was in Uruguay) coming back from its 20 partner countries. They discuss the emotions of reverse culture shock, reflection on what the participants had learned of the cultures they experienced, and “decoding”, or identifying the role of culture in various situations they encountered. (CIL) So going abroad for long stretches is an excellent way to understand the world a little better, as long as we are truly learning about the deep layers of culture in the country we live in. But let’s get back to our own country. You don’t need to belong We are so nationalist. Most of us look at the country we were born in and get so proud of its achievements, as if you or I had achieved them. What are you proud of? The accident of being born there as distinct from anywhere else? And we talk about “my” or “our” country as if that in itself were an achievement. Most ridiculous of all, the most nationalist people tend to be the ones who do not understand the world outside their community. How can you appreciate something you have only seen from one angle? I know I like living in Canada because I can compare it with other parts of the world. I have done very little to make it the great place to live that it is, so what should I be proud of?
Cultures legitimise themselves. If you have grown up in a particularly traditional culture, you likely have a stock of reasons why tradition is the right culture value to embrace; and it is only a short step to deciding that your culture, which happens to be traditional, must be the best. Well, sure, those people are traditional too; but they do not have the right traditions, or we are more virtuous in other ways. Other values nationally proud people will claim as most important include independence, collectivism, political freedom, order, conformity, individualism, creativity, spirituality, oil or water based painting, cultural or racial purity, national accomplishments, and so on. These very proud people often speak about how god granted them their land and its bounty, how their ways of living are the wise or correct ways of doing things, it is more intelligent to use what we use to eat, or wear what we wear, and our ancestors would want us to live a certain way. But all our customs have historical reasons behind them: your ancestors, being very different from you, settled in that land thousands or tens of thousands of years ago; you eat that way because it makes sense for the food you eat; you dress that way because the conditions your ancestors lived in called for it; and you follow those traditions because they solved a problem your ancestors had that you no longer do. We believe so strongly in tradition, unconscious of the fact that it was precisely the far worse conditions our ancestors needed to adapt to that gave rise to the traditions. Since the purposes of most traditions are lost in the haystack of history, why are you still doing what you are doing? Your country has changed shape and composition a thousand times since it has existed, so why is defending it in its current shape so important? Likewise, how do you know what your ancestors wanted for you? They would probably just want you to be happy—not for you to honour your country. This pride blinds us to the advantages of other cultures and rejects their encroachment on ours. They are inferior, and we have no room. We then conflict because the majority feels threatened by a new culture, and then again when newcomers are expected to leave their barbarian culture where it came from. Is there no room for all of us without all the fighting?
So consider how valuable it is to you and the world if you can sing your national anthem, recognise your flag or recite the biggest exports of the country you come from. Be proud of your own achievements and question how you regard your country. There are those who will bait you into proving your patriotism, but patriotism simply doesn’t help anyone except political elites. (As the local church on the Simpsons asked when ostracised for the town’s apparent lack of loyalty to the flag, “is God patriotic enough?”) It is not necessary to discard all national pride, fear of change and feelings of superiority before one can value interculturalism; it is simply a natural extension of an intercultural education. It is not inevitable and many would say not desirable to do so. Nevertheless, opening your mind to good ideas found in new cultural perspectives and practices is hard when you are closed to any changes in your old ones. As a naturally social species, our identity is tied to our associations, or groups we belong to, and any association can be exploited by someone else when we are not looking. When some kind of conflict arises, as it inevitably will, we let one association become our defining characteristic, something to beat our chests and shout about. There are too many immigrants here; well, I’m American and they are changing my America. There is too much “Western” influence in my region; as a Muslim or an Indian or a Chinese person, I object. And we forget that we are not only a member of one big, amorphous group with a border around it, such as a nation, or a god, such as a religion, but have other associations as well. Finally, we have our own choices. When people feel insecure, they retreat to their groups. It makes sense: there is strength in numbers. But the groups we choose need not be our national, ethnic, religious or other groups. When that happens, we get what comedian Chris Rock called a “gang mentality”, saying I am this and you aren’t so you’re against me. But why would I choose one group over another? What do I have in common with another Canadian other than that we live in the same country? But perhaps that is unfair. A Serb is likely to have a fair bit in common with other Serbs, a Zulu with other Zulus and, despite all the jokes to the contrary, possibly even a black
American would have more in common with other black Americans. But again, why would we choose those groups to retreat to? Why do we not look for those with the same values, for instance? The main reason is because it is convenient. People who look like us or call (or label) themselves by the same name are simply the ones in the places we know where to look. Collectivist thinking crushes our individuality and leads the simple minded to retreat to symbols of groups they belong to, such as their nations or religions. Just because others in my group have been foolhardy enough to declare war, it does not follow that I should enlist. I will do what I think is right, not listen uncritically to heap of one-sided “discussion” that preaches hate. I would look for others who were against the war and ally with them to end the violence. I value peace and justice, not belonging. We must instead refuse to become victims of our associations and, in trying to be the loudest and proudest, become monomaniacal soldiers of our nation, religion or culture. Though it may be familiar to my readers, they might consider Rwanda. Colonialism brought with it the creation of two Rwandan ethnicities: the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Belgian colonialists based these groups on tiny differences such as the size of noses—the same way a European may differentiate himself from one from another part of the continent. Anthropologists find some differences between the groups, but the creation of the other, and the racially based power structure put in place came from outside. Any power the Hutus had was divested of them and the Tutsi minority was elevated as the leaders, making them easier for the colonialists to deal with. In effect, ethnicity in Rwanda was constructed. Since then, a million people have died in a struggle between two artificial groups. Rwandan leaders did not consider the option they had to integrate, talk, discuss their grievances candidly, throw away their disputes and become one again; a team, leading their country into the future. Am I stating an overblown fear? Well, before we go out and somehow correct everyone else’s behaviour and change the world and so forth, let us look at ourselves. I expect those reading this far into this book consider themselves unbiased toward race, religion and the other old bases for discrimination. But losing those biases is easy nowadays. We have more difficult questions for ourselves. What are your biases toward nationality?
Despite being perhaps the best possible way to alleviate global poverty (Pritchett) at a net benefit to almost everyone (ibid.; Washington Post 3), immigration is unpopular in rich countries. In Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Sweden, for instance, about 70% of people favour reduced immigration to their respective countries. And yet, in the same places, 80% or more believe in increased foreign aid. Most of these people want to help others. Why are there so many who oppose perhaps the best way to end poverty, low skilled labour migration? If you are a citizen of my country, you deserve protection from poverty, crime and discrimination; if you were born outside the border, too bad. If you truly do not discriminate against nationality (which is different from racism), you should favour open borders to immigration. (It is possible to have moral arguments for closing the border and not be against immigrants. If you are still convinced there is a moral case for closing borders, I suggest Lant Pritchett’s Let Their People Come.) If we are planning to rid the world of dangerous prejudices, we should start with ourselves. There is a certain flexibility, fluidity and mobility inherent in being a product of interculturalism. Flexibility is a hard won skill that enables us to hold squirming contradictions and absolutes without abandoning one’s affection for humankind. One does not own or jealously guard one culture, nor is one owned by it. One is open to change and difference and challenges, making it easier to experience new things and relieving one of the fear of change. (Adler) If we want to become this person, we need to learn about the rest of the world and pick and choose what we like from it. We will enrich ourselves. Fostering interculturalism gives everyone the opportunity for this kind of life. Why Interculturalism Won’t Work Most of us do not understand our own culture as well as we think. So we’d better learn. When we implement intercultural practices, they must delve deeper than the surface of culture. Parades with ethnic costumes, food and music may be fun but they do not teach. If we practice superficial interculturalism, we will not learn and may in fact understand nothing of the culture.
We need to belong. But if that is true, we must choose our associations carefully. Try to guide the groups you belong to in wise directions and retain the right to opt out of groups that make the wrong choices. Overall, we start with ourselves. Those of us who have lost the old biases against visible differences and so on should do more than just what is easy. Nationality is still an accepted bias that should not be. And interculturalism will not work if those who consider themselves citizens of the world mock those who do not. Arrogance among those who consider themselves enlightened (many of whom are not) is worse than ignorance among the rest. Remember that you were the same and it was only by chance that you changed. Let us give everyone that chance. Why Interculturalism Will Work An intercultural society would value not similarities (though it would in no way reject them, either) but differences. Those who become victims of their associations will succumb to groupthink. Those who seek out difference will find it and expand their minds in every direction they try. While I disagree with the idea of nationalism and dream of a world of globalism, we must be pragmatic when promoting intercultural ideals. The problem with an outright rejection of nationalism is that it will marginalise most of the world. It is much better to frame the debate in terms of the benefits to the individual. There is nothing unpatriotic about interculturalism, so there is nothing for the nationalist to lose, and everything for society to gain. Likewise, I do not particularly like religion, nor its tendency to conversion and polarism; but the truth is that interculturalism is not a threat to religion and all doubts to the contrary must be allayed.
Without understanding what culture is, what ours is and at least trying to understand that of others, we will fall into the trap of ignorance. We see only the surface of culture and treat it cheaply. And we will come to associate ourselves with the familiar rather than those who will expand our minds. A deeper understanding will help us foster diverse environments wherever we go, learning new perspectives and gaining immeasurably in the process. The common perceptions of culture do not teach us about other cultures, and some of us compensate for this lack of knowledge by trying to accommodate, or make room for others, so that they can live in the same ignorance we do. Accommodation takes such forms as political correctness, “tolerance” and affirmative action. The following chapter deals with accommodation, its limits and its dangers.
Chapter 4: The Perils of Accommodation "Men hate each other because they fear each other, and they fear each other because they don't know each other, and they don't know each other because they are often separated from each other." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Good intentions are paving a road to hell. Accomodation is reducing us all to our groups and treating us as such. The first problem with accomodation is one of mindset. Accomodation implies such things as tolerance, making room in our town for someone we wouldn’t want to make room on the couch for. Church leaders and their conservative followers speak along the lines of accomodating homosexuals. And we hear words such as “positive discrimination”. Isn’t this term an oxymoron? And if I discriminate in favour of person A, person B—and quite possibly me as well—is losing out. “Positive” in this case clearly does not mean positive sum. Accomodation is writing separate, favourable rules for minorities for no good reason. Affirmative action is a kind of accomodation, because minorities are awarded based not on merit but history. It is not enough to recognise difference as different. We must learn to learn from it. Accomodation relieves us of this responsibility. So where did accomodation come from? Accommodation is an inevitable consequence of multicultural policies that encourage ethnic enclaves. If everyone’s difference is emphasised without any learning to accompany it, we will not understand each other. If we do not understand each other, we will not know why a Muslim woman does not want men at her prenatal classes, or indeed why other women do. Instead of trying to understand, we will ask each other to do things that seem reasonable to us and wrong to them, leading to conflict.
Accomodation is not necessarily wrong. Think about a swimming pool in a minority muslim community that sets two hours aside in the evenings for women to swim without men around. This regulation is a form of accomodation, but since all you have to lose is two hours of swimming time and some people would not have set foot in the building without it, it is probably for the best. Part of the problem is not accomodation but the fact that its reasons and benefits are not explained to the people affected by it. In this community, you can be sure there are some people who say “they’re perverting our way of life” or something equally silly. It is not said out of hate but simply ignorance. Many of these people would be turned around by a conversation. What they mean may sound more like “I don’t understand why they’re perverting our way of life”, and in that case “we” can be made to understand. Where accomodation becomes perilous is when there is no trust. It is easy to forget how important trust is to a society. Some people credited a high amount of social trust with the uncovering of apparent plots to detonate bombs in Britain in August 2006. Suspecting citizens who trusted their local police, perhaps through knowing them personally, alerted the authorities. But trust is lacking in the multicultural world. A study by Professor Robert Putnam of Harvard evinced a significant lack of trust in diverse communities. His study was of multicuturalism: understanding how things are. My writings are principally on how things could be, based on how they are. Indeed, Professor Putnam says that, “[i]n the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits.” (Putnam) The fact is, diversity for diversity’s sake is misguided. Why do we want diversity? So that we can eat tacos and sushi in the same town? It is the benefits of diversity, which I dilate on above, that we want to take to make society and ourselves better. This misunderstanding of the purpose of diversity has been seized upon by political entrepreneurs. Political entrepreneurs exploit or create differences and sow discontent. Migration policies, multicultural and assimilationist, were and are often sold with misleading expectations, which lead over time to antipathy toward politicians and immigrants alike. Democracy is a good mitigator, because it provides outlets for
individual and collective expression. But it is not a panacea. Some political entrepreneurs attempt to grab as many resources as they can for their groups, and then complain as loudly as they can that their group is not getting enough. The best way to combat this populism is a well informed populace who understands the issues. The worst way is by appealing to “the latino community” or “the muslim community” as if these were homogeneous. Understanding will come from integration among groups. But instead, public money funds something that systematically removes diversity: segregation. Democratic societies decided at least forty years ago that segregation based on race was immoral. And yet, we continue to segregate on both race and religion today. There was outcry from the well meaning when, on June 28th 2007, the US Supreme Court decided that skin colour was not a legal basis for assigning students to their school. The outcry carried with it the assumption that race was a source of poverty. (Economist, 1) Race is not the barrier to “making it” that it once was. Certainly, I will not deny the existence of racial discrimination in the United States or indeed anywhere. But how will this form of racial segregation benefit anyone? Isn’t it better to know people of other races as well as your own? Much better to find a way to neutralise discrimination in communities, give a hand up to the poor in society and, for the schools, put all the students in one glass and stir. The government does not have a big role to play in interculturalism. Aside from living its values of inclusion, integration, creating and learning from difference, the government should not be giving money to groups for their intercultural virtues. The virtues of interculturalism pay for themselves. The changing face of some towns in the rich world due to big influxes of immigrant labourers is an example of where government is not necessary. The benefits are both economic and cultural; any disbenefits will only arise if the people—old residents or newcomers—retreat to their groups and begin to fear the different people. In Brooks, Alberta, there has been a push in recent years to bring in lots of immigrants to feed its labour market. The town should pay for the education and integration of the immigrants.
The town is the beneficiary, so it should also be the benefactor. Besides, education varies from one place to another, and since interculturalism is more about education than anything, the towns and cities, or even the schools themselves, should be in charge of intercultural education. By putting the responsibility on the smallest jurisdiction (school, town, city, etc), we avoid the undemocratic imposition of values (in this case, intercultural ones) on an unwilling population. Likewise, places that do not have any or do not want any immigrants should not have to pay taxes to finance the integration of immigrants in other communities when they do not benefit. In case I have not yet been clear, diversity does not mean hiring someone who is black over someone who is white when they grew up next to each other. More likely, you would pick a white New Zealander over a white New Yorker if everyone else on your team is a New Yorker. As Ayn Rand puts it, "[I]t is obvious that...a successful, self-made black businessman has more interests in common with white businessmen than with a black mugger." (Rand) Having worked in all manner of teams, I can honestly say that your number one priority when hiring should be the best person for the job. But hiring for diversity adds abilities that you may not have been looking for but can benefit from nonetheless. As an example, many people who grow up outside the rich world learn to negotiate better and in different ways than those brought up in lands of purely fixed prices. (How to hire for diversity is touched on in the chapter on education.) Public money should not be spent on religious education. Like with all accomodation, the use of public funds for a service that does not benefit the public will create resentment. As an atheist, I am against the idea of religious education altogether; but there is clearly a desire for it in society, and I do not advocate taking a hammer to something so many people want. Nonetheless, taxpayers are right to object when their money goes to benefit the “faithful”, simply because they wish to teach their children something that could just as easily be taught on the weekend. “Faith based” (a euphemism for “religious”) schools have sprouted up in the thousands in Britain (almost all Christian). Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize winning economist, has
declared himself “appalled” by the existence of faith schools. (Telegraph) “Even before a child begins to think,” he says, “it's being defined by its 'community', which is primarily religion. That also drowns out all other cultural things like language and literature.” Why would a country with the word “United” in its name be so quick to promote such disunity? One explanation may be political pragmatism: a political party that throws such a big bone (and millions of pounds) to religious minorities increases its chances of winning the next election. Another is that it is simply reflecting the desires of its religious constituents. Protection of minorities is important in a democracy—but when some two thirds of its citizens disagree with state funded faith schools (Guardian) and they are funded with public money, they probably should never have been started in the first place. Now groups are segregated and they are packaged according to their religions. (7) One symptom is political correctness. Political correctness’s time has gone Political correctness is the replacement of old words that may have reflected racism or sexism with softer sounding ones. This practice has got to go. First of all, political correctness does not change prejudice. Calling a rose a rose-scented flower does not change its smell and calling a man anything more or less than what he is will not change your attitude towards him. Understanding him will. Learn where he comes from and how he feels. That is insight. Political correctness would not be necessary if we followed those steps. Here is a strange fact. I am allowed to use a racist word for a white person such as “honky” or my favourite, “cracker”, because I am white. But if I use “the n word” (which I won’t write here because I’m not allowed to because I’m not black), I am considered racist. Isn’t that division inherently racist? White people can do this but not that because they’re white. But I’m not racist. I’m not spreading hatred. Why do we have these double standards? Do we really think they will correct historical injustices? Shouldn’t we all just be allowed to say what we want?
Most importantly, the political correctness debate tends to provide a single word for a group of people. That is called labeling. Labeling is another way of reducing a person’s identity to nothing more than a member of a group. Since the PC crowd tends not to ask individuals how they would like to be defined (assuming, also, that defining oneself is good), they stereotype. This stereotyping often accompanies the words “you could never understand” how a group feels about its collective past or present discrimination. In multiracial societies like the United States, labeling is a matter of course. If you have any African blood, you are African-American. If you have forefathers from Latin America, you are Latino. You have no say in the matter. Labeling is only useful in describing the single thing the label describes. We are white or black or red but that is the only thing one can know about us from that designation. We Reductionist labeling—taking labels to mean more than they do—is clearly ignorant. But that said, do not be too sensitive about labels. Try not to get too offended when you hear one, even about yourself. All this political correctness has turned us soft and easily offended. Remember that labels are just labels and do not mean anything. When I lived in Uruguay, everyone who did not know me called me “flaco” (skinny) and everyone who did know me called me “menso” (dumb), but in Uruguay everyone has a silly nickname to describe themselves and no one takes offense. (In fact, to this day I call myself Menso.) Moreover, with today’s advances in cosmetic surgery, I could change my skin colour (white, in case you were curious) to blue or green; but then I would hate the idea of being told “we respect your choice” and called a “green hued-Canadian”. At the University of Victoria, the Pride Collective, the campus association for non heterosexuals, had a very progressive policy. Their pamphlet gave some words that could be used to describe their members: queer, fag, twink, gay, and so on. It proceeded to say that these words are fine to use in context; they are not insults, however, and should not be used as such. I could not agree more. Late comedian George Carlin’s “official policy” is equally relevant: There is nothing wrong with words, even if they sound old fashioned, prejudiced or dirty. It is the values of the person using them you should pay attention to.
You see, getting offended is not inevitable: it is a choice. If something I say offends you, even if my intent was to make your jaw drop in anger, you have the choice to brush it off with a laugh. (And of course, if I wanted your jaw to drop, your laughing would defeat me.) Instead, many of us flare up in defense of our groups, which serves the interests of the prejudiced. Then we are told “I have the right to get offended,” as if, in this case, “right” meant “obligation”. Moreover, because of political correctness, we have people getting offended on others’ behalf. Instead of being actually offended by something, we take offence because we consider that someone else might take offence. This, in turn, gives the targets of the rude remark justification to get extra angry, and everyone ends up on the attack. Being offended is part of learning to think. (Bissoondath, 167) Let us put this in practice immediately: no more purging universities of racism and other opposing points of view. Not only do we lose the plurality essential to education (and the “diversity” that every university claims to value), but we risk a witch hunt. As I said, I am not tolerant of racism, but an opinion that could be interpreted as prejudiced does not make a prejudiced person. A professor at the University of Victoria, my alma mater, was kicked out for his ‘racist’ assertions that some American Muslims celebrated the terrorist bombings of 9/11. Having studied under this professor, I saw very little evidence of his trying to push a bigoted agenda. Nonetheless, the majority has spoken; my professor is no longer at UVic. (8) And the politically correct movement can be a tyrannical majority. How confused was I when the Student Society of the University of Victoria held a referendum to make the campus officially ‘pro choice’. How could any society call itself pro choice if it is drawing boundaries around the choices of the people it comprises? Why Interculturalism Won’t Work Interculturalism has no chance if the well meaning continue to spread affirmative action, if the easily offended do not lose their sensitivity or the proud do not accept their
essential individual equality to others. Tolerance and political correctness are reductionism and lead to angry reactions from those forced to put up with the nonsense they see. Interculturalism will not work if it becomes weak accomodation of everyone’s sensitivities. All this tolerance and sensitivity works to put up barriers. When people feel they are likely to offend another group because they do not know the correct vocabulary they must use, they will probably avoid the group altogether. I am not going to risk being called a racist or insensitive because I do not know what labels groups are giving themselves today. So I might not even venture into a new cultural group to learn from it. We are putting up barriers all over: invisible ones such as political correctness, and visible ones such as segregationist schools. Why Interculturalism Will Work It is more difficult for me to criticise faith schools than you may think. The proof is not in the recipe (the system) but the pudding (the students’ education). If the students get a good education and strong values of democratic citizenship from their schools, I will not stand in their way. My fear is that they will lose tremendous perspective by not getting the chance for intercultural education. If the only alternative to faith school is multiethnic or multicultural public school, in which each ethnic group associates only with its own members and learns very little (or too much) about anyone else, then faith schools are an understandable choice. The ideal is not a multicultural school but an intercultural one. Interculturalism will work if there are intercultural schools. Intercultural schools will only come when there are programs that integrate all self identified groups and strip them of their collective identity, even if just for a few hours a week. Other intercultural programs at community centres, libraries, town hall, and so on, will work as well. If you want a civic, intercultural society, think about what programs you can create (or already exist) to integrate newcomers.
Chapter 5: Integrating Newcomers “We didn’t all come over in the same ship, but we’re all in the same boat.” Bernard M. Baruch It is not easy being a newcomer. When one arrives in a new community, especially when one is a visible minority, one feels small and alone. With some exceptions, we do not like sticking out of crowds like Homer Simpson when he wore a pink shirt to work. Said an African immigrant to Ireland, “It's like you've been thrown into the sea, and you can't swim. So what do you do? You turn and you grab anything that will keep you afloat…. So when you see Africans around, you feel more comfortable." (Irish Times) There are various economic benefits to allowing immigration, and convincing arguments that the doors to a country should be flung open. But given the anti immigrant backlashes we see both in government offices and on the streets, we are unlikely to throw those doors open any time soon. Instead, we should focus on the long term effects of immigration and how to make the process help us reach our goal of interculturalism most effectively. Some do not want to think that we are selecting people to come in, or that it is wrong to select people with money over people who need help. The same people may also suggest throwing great deals of money into services for immigrants, granting amnesty to all illegal immigrants, or other love-in solutions. These arguments are idealistic. There is simply too much opposition to them. This chapter will instead offer a pragmatic approach to integration of immigrants that more people could agree on. Letting migrants into Europe from poorer places has been largely economic in reasoning: we want cheap labour, so let’s import it. We need people to do the jobs that are dirty, difficult and dangerous—better them than us. There was little attempt to sell citizens on the benefits. Ordinary people felt left out of decisions to bring in immigrants and saw no benefit, only that it was a prerogative of the elites.
As a result of economic benefits of immigration to those at the top and no buy in from those on the bottom, few corners of European society attempted to build multicultural states, the likes of which Canada and Australia were experimenting with. Multiculturalism, while deeply flawed, can produce the ideals that lead to interculturalism. Instead, there were guestworker programmes and assimilation. Guestworkers were supposed to stay temporarily, aiding the economy and then leaving (taking their culture with them), and assimilation was supposed to have former colonial subjects shed the cultures on the thresholds of their new homes. Instead, guestworkers settled and former colonial subjects did not realise they had to become new people. It is easy to judge people or cultures for their differences. One of the biggest sources of disagreement comes from another culture’s assumptions: how this culture sees the world, what is right and wrong and why, and so on. It is tempting to say “they are wrong because they disrespect women,” or “why are they so closed minded?” I have been guilty of succumbing to these tempting value judgments several times. But our assumptions about their assumptions could be wrong. As squeamish as I get at the thought of female genital mutilation, more often than not it is the mature women who insist on it as a right of passage for teenage girls. I played a game with some people from several cultures where we simulated being guests in the home of a very different culture than our own (an imaginary one). All the while we were in with our hosts, the woman knelt on the ground while the man sat in a chair; the woman served everyone and could not eat until all the men had eaten; and whenever a man wanted to speak, we needed to speak to the man, not to her. During the debriefing, a French girl said she was appalled at the way this culture treated its women, and was shocked to learn that, actually, women were revered in this culture. This was a culture where women sat on the floor to be closer to the earth, which is holy, and men could not because they were less useful. Women ate last because the men would give them their food if it looked as though there would not be enough; and women were not spoken to by men because men were not important enough to speak to any women but their wives. So our assumptions could be wrong. Sometimes we judge others for what we do not know
about them. But this game helped us understand by teaching us a new perspective. For a culture receiving immigrants, this kind of game can speed up and smooth out integration. Two way integration Integration is too often seen as a one way process: immigrants are supposed to integrate into our society, and there does not need to be any reciprocal accomodation. But immigration should be win win. For that to happen, the host society needs to adapt as well, to a two way process, and needs to keep an open mind to the inevitable changes immigration leads to. As integration is not a straightforward procedure like an instruction manual (insert the immigrant into the culture, turn until you hear a click), it is misleading to talk of an individual as successfully or unsuccessfully integrated. But we have a good idea how integration works. Integration requires access to jobs and services and social acceptance of immigrants. (Commission, 9) Social acceptance means making people feel welcome. Be honest with yourself: have you ever really tried to make friends with someone new to your neighbourhood? For some people, it takes a lot of courage; others are naturals. For all my international experience, I still have trouble welcoming newcomers. It does not mean I am racist, it just means I am shy, and that I must push myself to be more friendly. Making friends is something we have all done. Have you ever tried to make friends with someone visibly very different from you? Have you ever had people of a different colour, language, religion and strange customs move in next door? If so, don’t be shy! This is your chance to make a friend you can learn from. Start the relationship on the right foot not by talking but by helping, perhaps helping them move in or offering to show them around the neighbourhood. While doing so, you are sure to learn things about them that will help you build a bridge—perhaps you have the same hobbies or interests; perhaps they have the full DVD set of Luciano Pavarotti and you are his biggest fan. Don’t ask too many questions at first, but ask them round to dinner. You might be turned down— try not to get offended! People love to talk about themselves and where they come from. Ask them to teach you a bit of their language. Ask them to tell you about their hometown,
especially the food there. All these actions will increase the amity and trust between you and integrate the newcomers into the community. Integration is good. Integrated or inclusionary communities are ones in which no one feels excluded, no one feels left out. Thus, in a defined geographic area, there is no conflict between who is inside and who is outside. It is possible that an integrated community is not so much a happier community but simply one with one less problem. It is also possible that when people know each other, know how to communicate with each other, trust each other and trust the authorities, the community can reduce crime levels. In addition, more communication would make community leaders, policy makers and police understand all of the community’s stakeholders and the community would be more democratic. The little acknowledged point this chapter makes is that integration can be achieved without sanding all the edges off everyone’s culture as they integrate. What is the difference between assimilation and integration? Think of two communities, one assimilated and one integrated. Both have two distinct cultural groups. Attitudes in the assimilationist community are of one mindset: everyone is basically the same and we want to eliminate cultural differences. Makes sense on paper: there will be no friction when the two groups are mixed up in the pot. Attitudes in the integrationist community are varied: some want us all to be the same, some want to celebrate our differences, most want something in between. Integration also does not need to incur any friction and can still feel like a unified community; but an assimilationist community loses the option to learn from each other’s culture. More importantly, it also avoids the resentment minorities inevitably feel at the pressure we use to squeeze their culture out of them or their children. Diversity can be a blessing, but don’t force it. Forcing policies on unwilling people will not create diversity. If everyone buys into something, there is less diversity; and if they are forced into it, there is more conflict. If we are serious about eliminating cultural conflict, integrated but not assimilated communities are preferable. A survey called Love Thy Neighbour: How Much Bigotry Is There in Western Countries? found low proportions of bigoted people in Sweden (13% of people polled did not want
someone very different, such as an Arab, living next door to them), Iceland (18%), Canada (22%) and Denmark (22%). (Borooah, 11) Though I would call these figures unacceptably high, they do not reveal a dark cloud of racism threatening to swallow their societies up. It is not difference alone that people object to. We all reasonably object to incidences when differences lead to conflict. Others object to immigrants’ failure to integrate with the majority after long periods of residence. But is the latter objection justifiable? Is it our business? Does it affect us, as residents? Some certainly think so. The infamous town of Herouxville, Quebec, made a “clumsy”, as understated by the Canadian news magazine Macleans, attempt to design rules for immigrants that created a stir around the world. In January 2007, Herouxville held a town meeting and voted overwhelmingly to draw up a town charter. The town charter is a reaction to the excesses of Canadian cities such as Montreal and Toronto that appear to give free reign to religious and cultural minorities to have rules rewritten to suit their sensitivities. (9) We were quick to judge the 1300 inhabitants of a small town without no actual immigrants in it for their apparent judging of outsiders. The town council’s rules may range from the fearful (“In our schools the children cannot carry any weapons real or fake, symbolic or not”), to the insulting (the repetition of “don’t be surprised; this is normal for us”) to the downright ridiculous (“we consider as undesirable and prohibit… killing women by lapidation or burning them alive in public places, burning them with acid…”) (Herouxville) but it is their prerogative. They would not have done so if the town had been ready to accept the significant differences that immigrants with very different backgrounds would bring. Besides, as the town government’s blog says, excessive liberty, the pursuit of multiculturalist policies at the expense of integration has “generated extremely tensed situations in many great countries including Canada, situations linked to the massive arrival of newcomers whose integration suffered because of lack of vision and clear policies.” (Ibid.) The town council felt that the solution to disintegration was a clear
statement of the town’s culture, and that their solution appears the only viable one. (Ibid.) If, in one or two generations’s time, the town’s inhabitants want more diversity in their town, let them change the town charter and put up a banner saying “immigrants bienvenus”. Let them design a town flag with little people of all colours and headwear holding hands and singing. Until then, those seeking more than the town has to offer will move. My message to people that are afraid immigrants will change their town is in the preceding chapter; my message to those judging Herouxville is to put yourself in their shoes. This is a small town with traditional French Canadian values that it does not want to change. In case you find a disconnect between this and the preceding chapter, remember that I believe freedom, the freedom to be whom you want to be, is more important than diversity. The people could benefit from diversity but they feel it unnecessary. Who are we to tell them to accept what they are not ready to? There are plenty of other places one can move to that are more welcoming. Moreover, Andre Drouin, the town councillor who put the rules together, makes a point: “If I plan to live in Saudi Arabia or Patagonia, I’ll want information about what I’ll find there. Immigrants should be informed of what they’ll find here.” (Macleans) Leaving aside the condescending tone of the charter, at least the town sets expectations for its newcomers. One question Mr Drouin’s comments raise is, is it reasonable for immigrants to enter a country and not change? Or alternatively, should immigrants enter who are not willing to change? There are many regulations standing in the way of fully integrating immigrants. Regulations could be harmonised among countries, perhaps through a kind of international migration treaty or institution, but that is clearly a long term prospect. It is wrong to make fully qualified doctors and dentists wait years to begin practicing again. Testing should be enough. Testing, moreover, is publicly acceptable and understandable. Having lived in China, I can honestly say I fully back the testing of Chinese immigrants before they are issued a driver’s license! The values debate
But what was going on in Herouxville was symptomatic of the wider debate raging in Quebec. The thrust of the debate is that traditional Quebeckers feel they are losing their culture to immigration. The French speaking majority province in recent years has seen countless public roundtables and political debates on immigrants. Growing up in Montreal, I listened to my mother complain regularly about the endless stream of politics about silly issues such as English signs that emanated daily from talk radio in the province. As I wrote earlier, any political party, newspaper or blogger wanting to make itself heard will seize upon any instance of difference and call it important. But more is happening in Quebec, and in other places. Never mind the benefits of immigration, say the conservatives: our very essence, what makes us us, is under fire. The biggest part of the debate on immigrants is about common values. Nations should share common values, or else they are groupings of communities with no connection to one another. And immigrants need to adopt those values. But what are your national values? I have yet to hear someone insecure about the state of immigration to their country speak to me on their national values without either advancing their own point of view (naming, for instance, publicly funded healthcare), or simply naming common human values such as freedom and justice. Do we assume that immigrants do not already hold our values? If they do not already espouse these values, how do immigrants acquire them? Is it reasonable to expect it to happen over 5, 10 or 20 years? Surely, we do not expect all immigrants to change their values the minute they arrive? If we do, we had better close the border quickly, because they will not. Many countries have implemented citizenship tests, language classes and restrictions to measure one’s ability to integrate into the society to which they are moving. Immigrants should follow the rules of the places they move to, be they written in law or unwritten in practice. If immigrants wish to change these rules, they have the freedom to try to do so like everyone else; but it is undemocratic to change rules for the wider population when it is a minority that wants the change. Here are two examples. If a town with a minority of Muslims adopts Shariya law in defiance of the majority, it is unreasonable to ask the rest
of the people to conform to it. Likewise, if a group of Americans moved somewhere with a high proportion of smokers and attempted to pass a law banning smoking in bars, they would not have a leg to stand on. Do not impose your rules on others when you go somewhere—let people come to your rules. Vote with your feet So we can’t get everyone to agree with our values and we can’t integrate everyone and we can’t kick entire groups of people out without being nazis. So what CAN we do? Create the right laws. Take the headscarf issue. While one’s choice to wear a veil of any form is justifiable under most circumstances, surely it is reasonable to require its removal for times when confirming identity is crucial, such as voting and passport photographs. If not, someone could easily fake identity, get two passports or driver’s licences and claim all fraud in the name of religious freedom. Likewise, some Sikhs have campaigned against wearing motorcycle helmets and hard hats on construction sites. (Economist, 2) Fine, but do not expect worker’s compensation if struck by a falling brick. We need laws that give people as much freedom as possible without making exceptions. Part of that freedom is the freedom to vote with your feet. If you don’t like the weather, you move. If you don’t like the people, or the culture, or the laws where you are, you move. Michael Ignatieff shows us that today states are not built on ethnic foundations but legal ones. (Ignatieff, 4) Laws do not so much unite in any deep feeling of identity as they attract people with common ideas about how society should be organised. Some people migrate for economic reasons, others for political ones. Just like the majority will never agree on everything about how to organise, some immigrants will come because they can make their fortunes, others for the democratic institutions governing the land. Laws influence culture but do not determine it. Culture is a fluid and constantly evolving idea that will not be hemmed in by closing doors to outsiders. Moreover, culture is not based in ethnicity unless ethnic groups are isolated from one another. Though
multiculturalism is said to isolate groups from one another, there is nevertheless much overlap among groups. If there were not, there would be no conflict. So we are integrated whether we like it or not. If we are integrated through interculturalism, through education on each other’s culture, by learning to celebrate with each other, our society will not need clumsy, reactionary laws. A final note on integration. Many immigrants do not want to integrate into mainstream society. Many fear an unfamiliar culture, a strange idea from a family that left one country for a possibly very different one. Their choice not to integrate goes against interculturalism but it is a choice that they make and is none of anyone else’s business. However, immigrant parents do their children a disservice by not letting them integrate. Children who grow up in different countries from their parents will have very different experiences and should be given the opportunities to discover the culture of the land they are brought into. Many made the link between the terrorist bombings of the London Underground in 2005 and an unwillingness to accept the “new” culture that the perpetrators had grown up isolated from. Do not deny the benefits of interculturalism to those closest to you or you could be inviting considerable repercussions. Why Interculturalism Won’t Work Interculturalism needs to be adopted by the majority if it is to work. One of the dangers is that interculturalism will be implemented without buy in from those at the bottom, who may have the most to gain. If it is seen as a force thrust unceremoniously upon them, as some view multiculturalism, it will be rejected and nationalism will continue its rise. Interculturalism should come gradually with the benefits of each action clearly explained to those it will affect. Anywhere the laws or the lawmakers are against immigrants is the wrong place to begin implementing interculturalism. It is not that immigrants are the only sources of diversity and learning, but that, if those in power and the majority that presumably supports them are afraid of difference, find somewhere else to set up shop. Interculturalism will not
work were it is forced by law, either, because anything in a free society that is seen as forced will not last long enough to have an effect. So be careful if your plan is interculturalism by law. Try instead to foster interculturalism gradually in your school, company, temple or other organisations. Integrating newcomers, whether immigrants or otherwise, is essential. Why Interculturalism Will Work With the right laws, you will attract the people who want to live by those laws. The right balance of policies, including such things as testing professionals (and drivers), is important. If you learn to integrate newcomers, you will live in a vibrant community without cultural conflict. Despite all the controversy, interculturalism can overcome the challenges of integration in time. As interculturalism is educational, it will not magically end cultural conflict in a few days. But a generation raised in an intercultural country or community would resolve its disputes with understanding and peace. The following chapter gives some yellow bricks for the road.
Chapter 6: Reforming (or Initiating) Education “If you see only what everybody else can see, you are not so much a representative of your culture than a victim of it.” S. I. Hayakawa One of the reasons for the rise of self described citizens of the world is that we live in a complex world that cannot be easily understood sitting inside one culture and peering cautiously round the doorframe. To understand how the rest of the world thinks is to have a better idea of what is wrong with the world, and a better idea of how to fix it. I wonder what those who believe that more choice is a good reason for capitalism and democracy think of immigration. Surely, the same people would be in favour of interculturalism so that we can all choose from a variety of cultural practices to adopt. I also find it amusing that Samuel Huntington of The Clash of Civilizations fame, does not advocate an increase in immigration. If there were more immigrants, accompanied, of course, by programs to educate and be educated by them, we would truly be able to nip this clash in the bud. What better way to prevent clashing than growing up with and learning from each other? If you are afraid of losing your culture, do not stop others from entering: bring them in, teach them of its merits and spread it around. As I noted above, the Pew Hispanic Center found that 100% of third generation immigrants spoke fluent English. If you are worried about losing your culture, you had better replace it with more immigration while you can. As to the economic benefits, the Economist, as usual, puts it best. “It is no coincidence that countries that welcome immigrants—such as Sweden, Ireland, America and Britain—have better economic records than those that shun them.” (Economist, 3) Luxembourg would not be the success story it is without such a successful immigration policy. (Migration) Add the cultural and the economic benefits of immigration together and you have a highly compelling reason to promote it.
Aside from immigration, one could simply go on an exchange. An enormous number of organisations promote intercultural exchange, which range from those that send you on a kind of working vacation (with little emphasis on learning, and which thus could be better to steer clear of), to those that send aspiring young leaders to very different parts of the world for work in their field after university (AIESEC is a noteworthy example of this). The European Union alone has many non governmental youth organisations that are designed to promote understanding and integration among its members, and are available for almost everybody. Interculturalists should spend time creating intercultural systems of education, business and governance. What I am doing by writing this book—preaching—is fine, but I have accrued followers less from words than from results. How to create systems is found in this book and also in many schools, business and other organisations not mentioned in this book. (8, 9) Seek out others with whom to work. The intercultural innovators working today fall into three main categories: artists, entrepreneurs and community developers (including politicians). (Rowntree) The right integrative policies and the right schooling can make interculturalism sustainable. School Intercultural education should start as early as possible. At a young enough age, we have no prejudices. Prejudices are learned from various sources at all times of our life, and while they can be unlearned, the best cure is the vaccine of education. Richard Dawkins said that there is no such thing as a religious child, because a child could not possibly understand the world enough to take the stand required for true belief. In the same vein, a child should not be considered nationalist or racist. A child may profess love for his or her country; but then, I loved my first bike until I realised there were others out there. Childhood is a highly formative time. If we are shown (and not
simply told), early in life, that diversity is good for us and the world, that it is all around us and that we can take advantage of it, we will lead better lives. You can talk to your children about race. Studies show children notice racial differences from as early as six months old, and that children also tend to play more with children of the same race than of different races. (Greater Good, 18) Teaching your children that is all right to notice race is less harmful than trying to ignore it, because when you discuss it with your children you can give them good reasons against racial prejudice. The same is true for prejudiced children: talking to them seriously about what race and discrimination are lowers their prejudice. (ibid., 19) This kind of talk will help your child think in terms of individuals, and become one himself. What he can teach the class about his culture is different from what another can teach about the same culture. Certainly, one does not need to teach a child the complexities of building diversity in an organisation or all the causes and effects of war, but there is a lot we can do. Not all communities are endowed with people from a wide range of cultures. Some have two distinct cultural groups, and some have one. If a community has two cultural groups, it is essential that they understand each other. They must get to know their similarities and celebrate their differences. If, on the other hand, a community is monocultural, I suggest, for the purposes of education, creating diversity. Through challenging team activities and a little imagination, people can still learn to appreciate diversity. Everyone, especially children, responds well to games. Games are a great way to learn. When you emphasise the individual’s unique contribution, perhaps when debriefing the participants, you learn to appreciate diversity. There are all kinds of games that can teach an intercultural mindset. (Diversophy) In school, children in diverse classrooms have the opportunity to learn several skills easily. The first is cooperation. Teachers can design their assigments based on children’s diverse backgrounds, making content meaningful. This might be easy in an English class when learning to write stories and essays, but it is possible even in math classes. Each student or team can write a story problem related to their differences, or their
experiences, and not only will they remember the lesson, their classmates will understand them better. (Michigan) Teaching communication skills is a second big part of intercultural education. We should learn both language and the customs upon which that language is based. School is, of course, the best place to start learning these things. In AIESEC, we spent hours preparing our members to work abroad, and many preparation activities were games that teach non verbal communication. Here is a generic example I have adapted from games I have led. Divide your class into two groups, A and B (give them funny sounding country names like Albatrossia and Zombeezi). These are your ethnic groups. Each ethnic group is briefed separately and is told little about the other. One of them can only communicate by clapping their hands, and the other can only speak by yelping like a dog. One always sticks its tongue out in praise and the other only sticks its tongue out when it is offended. They must work in pairs, both ethnicities in each pair, to solve some kind of task such as finding a hidden treasure, deciphering a speech given by one ethnic group (in which A is trying to explain things to B) or put together an object that only B understands but only A can touch. After a suitable period of time has passed, the participants discuss how they felt, including what the actions of the other ethnic group mean and how this activity relates to the real world. Of course, any kind of variation on this game is possible. This form of activity is particularly effective in communities with no obvious diversity. Find more such resources at BeyondIntractability.org, at innumerable other websites, or exercise your creativity and make one of your own. Critical thinking is the third major skill that would be learned in an intercultural classroom. Most people, including all but the most precocious children, have trouble considering things from outside the frame of their experiences. But we have great imaginations. In discussions, games or teams of students with very different experiences, even of young ages, teachers can find ways to share these experiences and thus stimulate new thinking in the classroom. Far from leading everyone to the same “intercultural” viewpoint (in the same way some might erroneously view it as leading to a big melting
pot), interculturalism is likely to make opinions diverge. Those around you would make you challenge your beliefs and you may hold multiple perspectives on the same subjects. You will have more options for what to believe. Moreover, as we now know, diversity can be manufactured. If the students are all of one background and understand the same issue in the same limited way, play the devil’s advocate to make them think. Or organise debates with more than two sides to show them that you don’t need to be either “for” or “against” everything. You could even have students trade places in order to talk a walk in each other’s shoes, as in the show A Walk in Your Shoes. (Noggin) A Walk in Your Shoes shows young people how to think like those around them, and shows everyone that entertaining programming can encourage this breaking of the limits of your mind. Have discussions with your class. It is likely they have all heard platitudes such as “diversity is good”, “treat everyone equally”, “racism is wrong”, and so on. But how does one put these things into practice? Have the children contemplated these issues? Here are some questions you could ask a class, or your own children, or, for that matter, yourself. Does treating people equally mean treating everyone the same? What is good about diversity? How could diversity be a bad thing? What is the difference between race and culture? (10) So and so month (eg. Asian Heritage Month, Black History Month, Arab Contributions to Science Month) could be a great way to complement the three Rs. Not only would children learn about new parts of the world every month, they could even be in charge of organising the events and gain valuable experience from that. Just make sure there is real learning! If not, this mind expanding practice could end up solely as entertainment; and hey, entertainment is entertainment, but it is wrong to disguise it as learning. Celebrating diversity is fine but it harkens to the superficial displays of it that I referred to in the chapter on reductionism. Because we only see shiny costumes and tasty food, we know nothing about the culture itself and may in fact become more ignorant than we were about the world. As a teacher of intercultural education in Ireland says, “what if we went
to Korea and they were 'doing' Ireland as a topic? Would our culture, history and language be well-represented by the Korean students colouring shamrocks, eating corned beef and cabbage and watching Riverdance?” (Asgard) What would they internalise about Ireland? But when students do research and bring in experts, their learning and motivation could benefit wonderfully. (Multinational business or businesses attempting international expansion could start and sponsor these festivals; more on business below.) University Many universities now offer classes in intercultural education, international business cultures, intercultural communication and so on. If your university does not have such classes, you could suggest them or start them yourself. Youth and campus organisations are another good place to begin intercultural education. It amazes me the number of reasonably open minded young people who organise themselves around their races and religions. Organisations are a strong source of identity, sometimes as much as nationality and religion (which are organisations in themselves). Joining one is a way to make friends. So it should be a chance to make friends outside the narrow community we are brought up in. Being a member is a chance to learn leadership and other skills. So it should be a time to expand our minds. Here are my suggestions. If your group is based on religion, bring in people to talk about other religions. If your group is based on ethnicity, bring in people from similar but separate ethnic groups and talk about why the two groups are trying to kill each other. If it is the Overseas Peruvian Animist Sheep Herders Association, bring someone in to talk about sheep herding in Nepal. You just might learn how to increase your wool yield. But a stronger suggestion is to form or join existing groups around intercultural subjects. Certainly, you could start the Intercultural Club and simply have discussions around various topics. There are more than enough subjects you could discuss: how interculturalism could be implemented at your school or in your community, what to do
about the local conflict between the Xs and the Ys, what could be done to solve this or that global scale cultural battle. Alternatively, join organisations related to culture or internationalism and inject new perspectives into them. Show videos about what your subject is and discuss them. Bring in people who understand them to make presentations and ask them questions. Amnesty International does this in its quest to halt human rights abuses around the world. You could also use the leverage of your organisation to educate your fellow students and others by promoting your cultural events at school, on campus and in the community. But be careful of what you join. Many of these organisations promote putatively intercultural events when in reality they are heavily skewed. When both the Tamil youth association and the Sinhalese one hold events discussing the civil war in Sri Lanka, don’t expect a lot of balanced discussion at either meeting. If there is, kudos to them. Just don’t expect it. Government As I wrote earlier, the costs of any interculturalism that costs money should be borne not by national governments but by the communities that benefit from them. Without funding interculturalism, there is still something governments can do. Intercultural engagement can be a goal of governments, especially local ones, to which national governments can devolve responsibility for such matters. Local governments can insure against discrimination and look for “intercultural innovators” to work with to pursue intercultural goals. (Rowntree) Government intervention pushes culture in unnatural directions, as already happens anywhere with a ministry of culture or equally benign sounding government agency designed to lead a culture instead of letting it evolve. But where governments may intervene is in grants for creating resources and intercultural training in government run workplaces. In Ireland, the National Consultative Committee
on Racism and Interculturalism trains government agencies, unions, community organisations and hospitals in anti racism. As cultural minorities enter countries like Ireland, they demand different services. A common language is very important in health care and some hospitals employ translators. Irish health care providers are also aware of the different cultural attitudes toward certain kinds of health care and who provides it, and are working to optimise care for everyone. (EI Workplace) I commend the European Commission and the Irish government in particular for their efforts to promote an intercultural model over the weak national models of the other EU member states. Mass Media: Why I Love Little Mosque on the Prairie Television has given us intercultural programming. Dora the Explorer is a show designed for children whose “success underlines the fact that profit making and cultural sensitivity do not have to be mutually exclusive.” (Berggreen and Lustyik, 14) Dora helps millions of children become bilingual and bicultural, leading them to understand the face of the world they are growing up in. Sesame Street is more than just my favourite childhood show: it is an organisation providing programming all around the world. Though its shows vary considerably by country, there is an emphasis on interculturalism. Children like the colours and songs and games and monsters (called muppets), but they are being socialised through intercultural education. People of all races are seen mingling peacefully. The South African version of Sesame Street is in a different South African official language every day. (Sesame Street South Africa) Sesame Street in Israel shows Jews and Arabs of various backgrounds cooperating and solving problems peacefully. (Sesame Street Israel) Children all over the world learn to value people for who they are, not what they look like. Surely, seeing muppets of every shape and colour does not hurt either. But the best intercultural television series I have ever seen is Little Mosque on the Prairie. Little Mosque is a comedy about a small town with a small muslim minority and all that means for the town and the muslims. They face discrimination and acceptance,
understanding and misunderstanding, protest and welcome. It does not promote political correctness, eg. we must step gently around these different people so as not to offend them; but freedom, eg. let us keep our way of life as we won’t disturb yours. The interculturalists, multiculturalists, assimilationists and racists are all there in plain view, all thinking they are right. And people on all sides harbour stereotypes while the others break them down slowly, to great comic effect. “You don’t support the fight against ignorance and hatred?” “I’d support it if white people weren’t so ignorant and hateful!” Little Mosque shows us that, as we face challenges, we grow stronger; as we notice our differences, we notice our similarities; and as we fight, we grow closer. I love Little Mosque on the Prairie. Ideally, intercultural education starts in the home. I am not suggesting that everyone intermarries and teaches their children twelve different languages; but it would not hurt to take your children to presentations and museums on the wonders of different countries, to let them meet and be taught by people from exotic foreign lands, and even to learn languages they will never use again. And if you are curious, they will follow you. What television you watch also sets the example. As children have no barriers to who they can become in their minds, watching their television heroes respect people regardless of difference is a step in the right direction. (Berggreen and Lustyik, 3) Business The multinational businesses of today have embraced interculturalism to enormous profit. They benefit themselves, but just as much, their communities through jobs, training, taxes, technology and bringing together skilled members of the community. As Ryuzaburo Kaku, chairman of Canon, once said, "Today there is only one entity whose effort to create stability in the world matches its self-interest. That entity is a corporation acting globally." (Kaku, 52) Why would your company benefit from diversity? “[D]iversity has become a critical workforce requirement.” (BW) It is essential for today’s businesses to appeal to a wide
variety of customers. A diverse workforce is a more competitive workforce, one that can "facilitate unique and creative approaches to problem-solving," according to a brief to the US Court of Appeals by some of the biggest companies in the United States. (ibid.) Furthermore, director of Global Excellence Ltd. Richard Cook says that working globally gives the following five benefits (and more):
1. It challenges you - makes you think. 2. It makes you more flexible as a human being 3. It strengthens the organic growth of the business. 4. It can be very enjoyable, fun and rewarding. 5. It makes us more of a global team.
and the following five challenges:
1. It can be slow and painful. 2. It could be a threat to the business. 3. It adds complexity! 4. Slow and time consuming and more stressful. 5. It brings communication problems, many languages and body language differences.
Your business may benefit from intercultural training. Today, there are many consultancies that coach managers and teams from various cultures and conduct seminars to unlock the latent synergy of intercultural teams. (11) Why would we want to do that? Well, where does creativity and innovation come from? Often, minorities of culture will be minorities of perspective as well, and they will have ways of seeing things that open new doors for business. But the business itself needs to know how to seize that creativity. There is already a sizeable industry of consultants working with companies to eliminate harmful cultural conflict and turn potential for conflict into potential for greatness. So consulting is one business that furthers interculturalism, but it is not the only one. Like all businesses, recruiting agencies today need to go global; and in doing so, they will only
be competitive by understanding how to recruit across cultures. Michael Gates of Richard Lewis Communications gives the following guidelines.
Be aware of your own cultural make-up and understand that what seems normal may not be at all normal for the candidate or your overseas colleagues. There are various online personal cultural profiling tools on the market to help you. Two of the best-known are the British CultureActive and American GlobeSmart.
Understand the culture of others – ideally through self-assessment of culturally-determined behavioural styles and values and beliefs relative to other cultures, as this goes beyond national stereotyping.
Appreciate the over-riding importance of sensitivity to national communication patterns (including listening habits) as an aid to real understanding, and that the impact of what is said, or not said, can be totally different from the intent.
Use your in-house diversity effectively. If you don’t do that, how can you help your clients achieve results from a diverse staff? Educate your clients in a) the value of recruiting a culturallydiverse workforce b) the competitive advantage of cultural flexibility c) the importance of continuing cultural education in order to retain people.
Put in place ongoing training and cultural awareness programmes to increase mutual understanding so that recruiters, clients, employees and migrants can learn from, and better interact with each other. (RLC)
With hundreds of millions of devout muslims in the world, and their numbers growing, many of the world’s banks are turning to Sharia banking. Sharia banking is a complex series of rules for lending and investing with a big market. Though not without controversy (MCC), most or all major international banks are turning a profit by moving into Sharia banking. And all it takes is cultural understanding.
Global managers have cultural understanding but they have something more.
Global managers have exceptionally open minds. They respect how different countries do things and they have the imagination to appreciate why they do them that way. But, they are also incisive — they push the limits of the culture…. Global managers don’t passively accept it when someone says, ‘You can’t do that in Italy or Spain because of the unions,’ or, ‘You can’t do that in Japan because of the Ministry of Finance.’ They sort through the debris of cultural excuses and find opportunities to innovate. (Globalist)
So if your company wants to have a “China strategy” or an “India market”, begin cultivating the right mindset today. Bring in people from those places and anyone who has cross cultural experience. The latter can learn, and will take your company anywhere you want it to go. And aside from market expansion, a “global mindset” can make any organisation “much more proactive in benchmarking and learning from product and process innovations outside its domestic borders… [and] much more alert to the entry of nontraditional (that is, foreign) competitors in its local market.” (Ibid.) Why Interculturalism Won’t Work There will be no interculturalism if student groups are focused only on their own ethnic groups and their problems. Neither will limiting yourself to what you or your business “can’t” do. Instead, we must bring together the right people and overcome the cultural barriers. How? Why Interculturalism Will Work Interculturalism happens every day in schools, universities, the media and business. Their examples can be spread to others, held up as case studies for learning or preventing conflict. Play games and run other activities with your students or employees, and when you are finished, be sure to debrief them with discussions on the questions like, how does
this apply to us? Why is diversity important? How can it apply to your work and our company? The preceding chapter is a blueprint for the creation of an intercultural society. It will take many small steps, bringing in new people and spreading understanding of interculturalism itself. The next chapter shows what an intercultural society could look like if your efforts are successful.
Chapter 7: The Intercultural Society “The measure of a society is not only what it does but also the quality of its aspirations.” Wade Davis It is possible to lose the proud but shallow “multicultural heritage”, or the simplistic “melting pot” and move toward a generation of interculturalism. This chapter paints a picture of an intercultural society. We will not delve into the ocean of the benefits of globalisation: they are already outlined in countless other books, not least this book’s namesake. But the economics of interculturalism are related to those of globalisation: as the world mixes and churns its people, those who understand other cultures and are most receptive to change will benefit, and those who refuse to accept difference will lose. Ideas like this need to find their tipping point: once a certain number of people (and the right people) buy into it and begin acting accordingly, others will follow, and there will be a snowball effect. What could a society look like after one generation of interculturalism? After two generations? Or more? Parents will talk to their children about culture and race. Parents will understand their own culture and be able to show it to their children, while making it clear that there are many other ways of doing things in the world and they are products of history. They will encourage their children’s curiosity about the world by showing them different cultures and different countries. Schools will be made of teachers from different backgrounds and invite guests from even more. If this process is made continuous, if new people with new thinking continue to enter classrooms, classrooms will not become melting pots and children will continue to think differently. Children will learn about culture, race and religion in classrooms that encourage questions. They will not be judged for asking naïve ones because they are not racist or nationalist, just ignorant. And no one will be forced to learn about other cultures,
as individual freedom is more important than integration, but the benefits will be clear and very few will want to opt out. After attending intercultural schools, children will be able to think more clearly about the world. They will not consider stereotypes and simplistic narratives about those that are different from them. Instead, they will try to find solutions to their problems by considering different perspectives; be able to resolve conflict more easily by finding win win solutions; and be less confused about the endlessly mounting cultural questions we all face. They will have more respect for one another, which will spill over cultural concerns to our differences in class, political affiliations, sexuality, and so on. They will enter the business world. Businesses from the intercultural society will expand smoothly around the world as they understand cultural sensitivity and many individual cultures well enough to buy and sell within them. They will be made up of people from all over the world, fluent in all major languages and even some important but less used ones, designing products that conform to local ideas. Many such businesses already exist, of course: so the intercultural society can create more employees and leaders with more cultural understanding, more languages and more creativity. There will be no need for quotas in business or other organisations, as people will realise that diversity need not be racial. They will continue to look for the best people, but strategy will involve more diversity of thought. City planners and architects will think of their subjects differently. Entire cities will be redesigned to enable mixing of people. There are more places where people can socialise, such as markets, community centres, youth centres, hospitals and sports clubs. “There are great examples of libraries in the UK that are becoming more than just places to loan books to people but are becoming one of the great meeting places of the city. For example, in London's east end called Tower Hamlet, the most diverse area in London…. These new libraries are being used for community debates, for politicians to meet with people; they are places you need to go to draw the benefits from being part of that society, and to give something of yourself as well as to receive.” (DFAIT)
They will enter politics. The multiculturalist model of public consultation and engagement treats cultural groups as possessing the same viewpoint of each issue (which is sometimes self fulfilling). The assimilationist model assumes minorities have nothing to contribute aside from what the majority already knows. Intercultural public consultation, however, will help people organise around issues that they, as individuals, are interested in. Cultural majorities will not want to exclude and minorities will not feel excluded. More public space will be devoted to organisation, and as people with similar interests find each other, they will treat each other as equals and in the process learn new perspectives on the issues they discuss. As foreign military operations become more about counter insurgency and winning hearts and minds, understanding the cultures in which the conflict is taking place is essential. Not only will those coming from the intercultural society be highly receptive to learning about the cultures they are trying to win over, they will have more opportunities to learn about it before they leave their own country. The intercultural society will not become a melting pot because its members will always be seeking diversity and bringing it towards us, or leaving for different places where we can learn more. More and more citizens of the world will spread the values of interculturalism, giving everyone the chance to learn from the intercultural society. We will not be afraid of committing cultural faux pas, and will not be sensitive when others do so, because we will know there is no reason to get upset. We will resolve our differences not by bickering but through communication. We cooperate with one another to make what was once compromise into win win solutions. What will hold us together in the end is respect. We understand that no one is quite like us, because of our competing allegiances, our personalities and of course our different heritages.
We will seek out difference in order to learn more about the world and ourselves. We will have the wisdom to stop conflict before it starts. And maybe we will no longer feel concerned about a girl wearing a headscarf while playing soccer. Why Interculturalism Won’t Work It will. It is time to put it in effect.
Notes 1. When I use the word “culture” in this book, I usually mean that based on nationality and upbringing. I recognise that each organisation and political unit, from your country to the village you grew up to the scout troupe you belonged to, has its own culture. 2. 3. 4. See also Swords and Ploughshares: Bringing Peace to the 21st Century by Paddy The same happened in Iraq after the US led invasion of 2003. For an excellent study of the effects of labour migration, read Let Their People Ashdown, pp 105-6 for the dangers forcing a single identity can pose.
Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor Mobility by Lant Pritchett and the Center for Global Development. 5. Of course, not all use of the word “tolerance” means this kind of tolerance. Tolerance could mean interculturalism. If so, we should be more precise in our use of the word, so as to distinguish tolerance and interculturalism. 6. 7. See also the University of Colorado at Boulder: Cross-Cultural Communication The Guardian article also gave voice to representatives from Muslim schools that Strategies. http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/treatment/xcolcomm.htm say such schools not only turn out more tolerant students, it gives them the strong sense of identity they need to live in Britain. Said the head teacher of the Leicester Islamic Academy, "[o]ften Muslim children in mixed secondary schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause disaffection and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists." He also noted that none of the perpetrators of the London bombings of 2005 went to Islamic secondary schools. 8. The following link is to the Penn and Teller show Bullshit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPhje8wepyg&feature=related. They talk about our freedom of speech, which is under attack by those who do not realise they have the freedom to change the channel. Penn and Teller also refer to American colleges, who have erected speech codes, official rules on what you are not allowed to say lest you insult someone. To quote the expert-looking man at the end, “What are saying by these codes, special protections and double standards, to women, to blacks, to hispanics, to gay
and lesbian students, is ‘you are too weak to live with freedom. You are too weak to live with the first amendment.’ If someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.” 9. The Herouxville “Publication of Standards” that caused all the commotion can be to big city life is at http://www.voy.com/171963/81836.html and read at http://municipalite.herouxville.qc.ca/Standards.pdf. The argument that it was a reaction 10. 11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herouxville. Other great ways of teaching respect for race and culture can be found at SIETAR, the Society for Intercultural Training, Education and Research, lists a of intercultural consultancies at this link: http://www.sietarhttp://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/2008summer/Holladay.pdf. number
europa.org/SIETARproject/SIETARMembersites.html. Follow the other links on the page to find more such organisations. Innumerable publications on different cultures, resolving conflict across cultures, working with people in different cultures, both specifically and generally, and business applications of interculturalism, can be found at www.dialogin.com. References ACTFL: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. http://www.discoverlanguages.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3651 Adler, Peter: Beyond Cultural Identity: Reflections on Multiculturalism. November, 2002. http://www.mediate.com/articles/adler3.cfm Amsterdam: Rath, Jan, et al.: Working on the Fringes: Immigrant Businesses, Economic Integration and Informal Practices. 2002, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. http://users.fmg.uva.nl/jrath/downloads/@Executive%20Summary%20Ethnic %20Entrepreneurship%20Network.pdf Berggreen, Shu-Ling C. and Katalin Lustyik: Lilo vs. Dora: Interculturalism through the Lens of Disney and Nickelodeon. Bissoondath, Neil: Selling Illusions: the Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada.
Greater Good Magazine: Briscoe-Smith, Allison: Rubbing Off. Summer 2008. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/2008summer/Briscoe-Smith.pdf. This article shows some ways you can talk to your children about race. BW: Business Week: Why Diversity Is Good Business. January 17, 2003. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jan2003/nf20030117_6373.htm CapMag: Capitalism Magazine: 1. http://www.capmag.com/reason-vs-racism/ 2. http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1368 3. http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=391 CIL: Centre for Intercultural Learning: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/cfsi-icse/cilcai/magazine/magazine-en.asp?txt=2-3&lv=2. CNN: Navarette, Jr., Ruben: Fear of Losing Culture Fuels Immigration Debate. December 4, 2007. (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/12/04/navarrette/index.html) Commission: European Commission: Migration and Social Integration of Immigrants. January 2003. http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/migration_report_en.pdf. De Bary, William Theodore, et al., eds.: Hu Shi: “Criticism of the ‘Declaration for Cultural Construction on a Chinese Basis’” in Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960. DFAIT: the Canadian government Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Intercultures Magazine, June 2008 issue. (http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/cfsiicse/cil-cai/magazine/magazine-en.asp?txt=1-4&lv=1) Mr Wood is also the co author of The Intercultural City: Planning for Diversity Advantage, to be found here: http://www.comedia.org.uk/pages/news.htm. Dialogin: Cook, Richard: Learning How to Realise the Benefits of Working Globally. 17/10/08. cat=Cultures&id=1337) Diamond, Jared: Guns, Germs and Steel: a Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years. Diamond’s is an excellent book for understanding how culture arises. Economist: 1. The Supreme Court: Tilting to the right. June 28, 2007. (http://www.economist.com/agenda/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9424122) 2. Faith, law and democracy: Defining the limits of exceptionalism. February 14 th, 2008. (http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10696111) (http://www.dialogin.com/security/communitystart/news.html?
(http://www.economist.com//displaystory.cfm?story_id=10430282) Globalisation: A bigger world. September 8, 2008. More 02/4/08. (http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12080751) on Lenovo can be found in this report. Globalist, the: Cultivating a Global Mindset. (http://www.theglobalist.com/storyid.aspx?StoryId=6865) Globe and Mail, the: Dene Moore: Quebec Wrestles with Multicultural Identity. 21/1/07 Herouxville: Herouxville Town Charter blog: http://herouxvilleThe Herouxville quebec.blogspot.com/2007/11/bouchard-taylor-commission.html.
“Publication of Standards”: http://municipalite.herouxville.qc.ca/Standards.pdf. Ignatieff, Michael: Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism. Imbert, Patrick: The Belief in Life as a ‘Zero-sum Game’ and the Belief in Life as a ‘Win-Win Game’ and Intercultural Relationships. Irish Times: Ruadhán Mac Cormaic: A First Tentative Move into Politics. October 2, 2008. http://www.irishtimes.com/focus/gageby/articles/210307_article.html. Kaku, Ryuzaburo: Perestroika in Japan. From Order and Disorder after the Cold War, Brad Roberts (ed.), 1995, MIT Press. Kasinitz, Philip, John Mollenkopf, Mary C. Walters and Jennifer Holdaway: Inheriting the City: the Children of Immigrants Come of Age. Harvard University Press. As I said, I have not read this study, since it is $45 and I would rather write this book without sundry expenses. It can be purchased at http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/KASINH.html. An article by the authors is at http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=440. Macleans: Benoit Aubin and Jonathan Gatehouse: Do immigrants need rules? The debate rages on. 05/3/07. http://www.macleans.ca/homepage/magazine/article.jsp? content=20070305_103084_103084 MCC: Muslim Canadian Congress: Stop Saudi Inspired Sharia Banking in Canada. 29/1/08. http://www.muslimcanadiancongress.org/20080129.html. One of the MCC’s
objections is that many lenders will claim to be lending at zero interest but corruptly hide the interest from the balance sheet. Michigan: the University of Michigan: Teaching for the Uniqueness of Diversity: Cooperative Classrooms. (http://sitemaker.umich.edu/356.berman/cooperative_classrooms) Children’s teachers can find two ways of forming teams on this page. Migration: Migration Information Source: Country Profiles: Luxembourg. http://www.migrationinformation.org/Profiles/display.cfm?ID=587 Noggin: A Walk in Your Shoes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRQLGW75JsQ, http://www.tv.com/a-walk-in-your-shoes/show/9805/summary.html. NYT: New York Times: Kwame Anthony Appiah: The Case for Contamination. 01/1/06 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/magazine/01cosmopolitan.html? _r=1&oref=slogin) Adapted from Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. The Press Enterprise: David Olson: Most third-generation Latinos speak English with ease, Pew poll shows. 30/11/07 (http://www.pe.com/localnews/immigration/stories/PE_News_Local_D_english30.2c759 e2.html) Pritchett, Lant: Let Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labour Mobility. 2006, Centre for Global Development, Washington, DC. Putnam, Robert: E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st Century. The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. 2007. Scandinavian Political Studies 30 (2), 137–174 doi:10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.x: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/action/showFullText? submitFullText=Full+Text+HTML&doi=10.1111%2Fj.14679477.2007.00176.x&cookieSet=1 Reason Magazine: “Go back to Italy you … WOP!” 05/5/06 (http://www.reason.com/news/show/117326.html). Nick Gillespie was editor-in-chief of Reason Magazine and is now editor of reason.tv and reason.com. Rowntree: the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: “How can we unlock the potential of cultural diversity in cities?” http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/housing/1950.asp. November 2006, Ref 1950.
Seljuq, Affan: Cultural Conflicts: North African Immigrants in France. From the International Journal of Peace Studies: http://www.gmu.edu/academic/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm Surowiecki, James: the Wisdom of Crowds. TED: Wade Davis: “Cultures at the Far Edge of the World.” http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/69. He also says that, if your language is limited, telling (translated) stories is an effective way to communicate meaning. His presentation is a poignant exploration of other cultures, of what he calls the ethnosphere, and the loss of ethnic and linguistic diversity to the world. Thomas, Holli: Cosmopolitanism and Cultural Diversity. Washington Post: 1. The Face of Local Counties Shifts With Surge in Minorities. August 9, 1. 2007. 2. When Immigration Goes Up, Prices 2007. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080802358.html) English, Si? A Common Language Takes more than a Resolution. August 13, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpGo Down. October 17, 2007.
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