Multiculturalism not past its use-by date

Debates about multiculturalism never seem to go away.  I suppose that’s because our world today is teeming with diversity and we’re all rubbing shoulders and trying to get on with each other as best we can.

Well, almost all of us.  This week Chuck Colson, from Prison Fellowship in the U.S., described multiculturalism as “the antithesis of American culture.”

He said multiculturalism “just doesn’t work” in Europe, and that Britain especially “can no longer ignore the danger of growing and competing cultures within its own borders—cultures that threaten British institutions and British national identity.”  He was referring, of course, to the difficulty of assimilating Muslim migrants into the host culture.

There are similar views, and similar problems, in Australia.  But, like Canada and South Africa, we have resisted pressure to force cultural diversity into an artificial melting pot.  Instead, we have encouraged migrants to integrate, as a central part of our nation-building enterprise.

We all stand to gain from encouraging an inclusive citizenship, and celebrating our cultural diversity, while resisting xenophobia.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 6 Mar 2011.

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