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The true North strong and free multiculturalism acceptance of differences

The true North strong and free multiculturalism acceptance of differences

Very often, we hear of diversity issues, differences of opinion regarding policies affecting people with different ethnic backgrounds in corporations, social settings and even political  issues crop up  because of this  very important factor  time and again , we hear sparks flying, heated debates and battle of words because people cannot see eye to eye on multicultural issues. (Photo: Alpha Shaw)

What is multiculturalism?  Does it allow for integration of segregation? How does it benefit the politicians? What does it do to the society? While this is a topic that is debatable because the views depends on the experience of the person who is asked this question. for example, if we ask an immigrant, he or she may feel to be a multicultural country ,the government should set policies that allows different people from different cultures to express themselves.  On the other hand, if the question is posed to someone  who was born and  brought up in the country which already has people from all over  the world  living there, the response could very well be that the policies should allow newcomers to integrate well into their new surroundings but not go to the extent of changing the culture of the native land .

For example, not long ago month of December was the time to welcome Jolly old ‘St. Nicholas” or Santa Claus. Multinational corporations  would plan corporate parties and send out communication asking their staff to join the charismas party.however,as ‘holiday party”’ and  believe that they are  being  politically right. There is not harm in calling any festival by what it is, whether it is Christmas, Eid or the festival of lights. True multiculturism is a mosaic where people from different backgrounds can live in harmony  while following  their own traditions. However, multiculturalism does not mean following your own tradition and not appreciating or understanding the traditions of the native land .while we want others to accept us for what we are, similar we should not impose our views on others. It’s give and take a  two way stream. Think of the time when we have been  to community events and had to sing two national anthems. The Canadian national anthems, plus the national anthem of the country of our origin. Many people can  sing the national anthem of their country  of origin  but not the Canadian national anthem or vice versa.  This is not the intent of multicultural policies, it is rather to have people sing both the national anthems. The idea is to believe in peaceful co-existence .multiculturalism is the first step towards recognizing different ethnic cultures and accepting that the world is made of people who follow different traditions. Especially in an age of globalization, where people move from one part of the world to another, it is important to understand  and promote various ethnic cultures. The policy of multiculturalism is generally linked to the concepts of assimilation and social integration. generally an organization, including countries  accept and promote multiple ethnic cultures for practical reasons and implement policies dealing with multiculturalism. The goal is to advocate equitable  status to distinct ethnic groups without promoting any specific group. For example, multinational corporations have embraced diversity in workplace for the practical  reasons of tapping into talent in the  global markets as opposed to the local market . like everything else, multiculturalism has its own pros and cons .advocates of  multiculturalism believe that it is a fair system that  allows people  to truly express who  they are within a society, that  is more tolerant and that adapts better  to social issues .this creates a society that is more tolerant, appreciates and has respect for people with different  backgrounds, who speak different languages, who practice different faiths .when you come across a person  wearing a head-scarf or turban, you don’t shy away or hesitate to mingle with  them. It is a better system because culture is always changing and is not one definable thing based on one race or religion, but is the result of multiple factors that change as the world changes.

Multiculturalism in the words of Malcolm  X  1925-1965, American black leader, activist its just like when you’ve got some coffee that s too black ,which means  its too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak .but if  you pour too  much  cream in it ,you won t even know  you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.

By Alpha Umaru Shaw Jr., Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

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