Multiculturalism

Sherry Listgarten heysherry@mindspring.com
Mon, 22 Oct 2001 17:53:34 -0700


> Aren't you the person who said that a coherent culture is preferable
> to a more diluted one?

Yup. I also said that America's culture is a democratic melting pot. So
artificially creating subcultures within it would dilute it :)

As I've said, I believe that multiple cultures is a good thing, as it
enhances diversity. And right now there are enough that we don't have to
effectively get rid of our own in order to promote others.

I'd boil at least a good chunk of this discussion down to this:

1. We would probably all agree that complete segregation of cultures is a
bad thing. We couldn't learn from each other, and it might be possible only
if constraints on freedom were imposed ("no surfing for you!"). The food
analogy: we don't want to have to eat only meat one week, then only veggies
another week, etc. A mixture of things on the plate makes everything look
and taste better, and may well be healthier.

2. We would probably all agree that having only a single fully-blended
culture is a bad thing. (Some debate as to whether this can even happen,
pockets-of-subculture, etc.) This is because cultures *add* to diversity and
broaden our ways of thinking. Food analogy: we don't want to blend all our
food together and have one big meat-and-broccoli smoothie. Nasty tasting,
looks bad, and may well be less healthy.

So I think we would all agree that we'd like to have cultural distinctions,
and we'd also like to have inter-culture communication. One question is
where on the spectrum do we want to be? Another question is where on the
spectrum we'll get to if we pursue various tactics (remove barriers, add
barriers, etc). This second question addresses the "miscibility" question
posed earlier, and the extent to which the two aims are contradictory --
does inter-culture communication lead to cultural uniformity?

-- Sherry.