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  1. #1
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    Default German chancellor: Multiculturalism has failed

    This thread is prompted by an article in which German chancellor Angela Merkel basically says that multiculturalism has failed in her country and that immigrants need to get about the business of assimilation. Interestingly, the Turkish president is quoted as saying the same thing about Turks in Germany: If you're going to live there, live there...we ain't trying to create North Turkey. (I'm just being funny)

    I know this board is predominantly American but I'm hoping the discussion can be expanded to other countries as well. It seems I keep hearing about a different European country's struggles with all these brown people coming in and not neatly blending into the white...ignoring the ways in which, in some cases, they're actively discriminated against even when they do try to blend in (e.g. Arabs in France).

    Also, it could be said that while America is a multicultural society, we're already starting to see hints of reactions similar to those in Europe because of all the brown people coming over here and having babies.

    What do you think? In what ways has the drive towards multiculturalism succeeded or failed? Is it something that's still worth pursuing? Is it even possible or realistic given humans' tendencies to stick with their own kind?
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  2. #2
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    Love this topic! I think MC has its good and its bad.
    In theory its a brilliant idea, teaching respect for all cultures and not just the host community, however it seems the former has been done at the expense of the latter and created resentment from the indigneous population. I feel sorry for older white people who had no say in mass immigration. Their country has changed beyond all recognition since 1948 in some places.

    Multiculturalism positives - teach folks about the immigrant communities culture, let the immigrant community practise their culture as long as it does not conflict with the laws of the land, discourage segregation.

    Multicuturalism failures - not encouraging teaching the language/culture of the host country.eg have all local government leaflets in english only, not every UN language under the sun, discourages integration - e.g why move all the way from Delhi to London to recreate a mini Delhi in South London?

    I think based on 'liberal white guilt' the politicians went too far the other way, hence the present day resentment from mainly the white working classes. The Turkish president is correct, if want to live as if you are completely back home, then stay home and don't leave in the first place.
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  3. #3
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    1) I'm not surprised, especially since a German said it.

    2) In most ways, I agree. People like to think the world is all nice and rainbows and everyone's happy and getting along, but it's just not true. Seems to me multiculturalism is only okay when it's watered down for the masses. Sort of like how here in the U.S. people will visit 'China Towns' and eat at Olive Garden instead of really learning about and being around genuine Chinese and Italian cultures.

    It seems the only way multiculturalism succeeded was in exoticizing 'other' people (and the things associated with them), confusing and screwing up anyone who isn't white, and letting white people pretend they're not as clueless and racist as they really are about the world, by keeping themselves at arm's length from anything and anyone 'different' and lying to themselves about being open-minded and welcoming of others.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=Exotica_X;2345154]1) I'm not surprised, especially since a German said it.


    SMH@ the bolded. The funny thing about that statement is that I was watching The Pianist movie when I saw this story on Yahoo. The movie is based during WW2....

  5. #5
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    In Canada multicultiralism is a quasy religion who rests on Charte of Rights and Liberties and all kinds of minority groups use it to try to advance their cause and that causes friction with the general population, the latest issue being that a woman was allowed to keep her burqa in order to testify in court.

    The US melting pot is something that I do admire and deplore at the same time: on one hand anyone who drops in the US considers themselves American and after one generation it's a done deal, much better then the French or Swiss model. On the other hand I don't like how many immigrants pretty much abandon their identity to blend in US culture and their celebration of their origins is pretty much folkloric. I think for me a balance between the two would be good.

    I don't think that the host country should bend over backwards when it comes to minorities maintain their culture nor do I think that they should put away aspects of their culture either, like Christmas trees renamed "Trees of Life". At the end of the day you left home to go elsewhere. Up to the immigrants to adapt.


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  6. #6
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    why move all the way from Delhi to London to recreate a mini Delhi in South London

    Can you expand on this? I live in NYC and immigrant communities tend to do exactly that, model their current neighborhoods after their respective countries of origin. Maybe it's because the city/ country was created by way of immigration, but communities and cultures are fluid and so change is inevitable.

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    With all the talk about immigrants needing to adapt, I often wonder how easy the host country makes this. It takes two hands to clap. Yes, you have immigrants who are not willing to give a cultural inch. But you also have attitudes like the "bleu, blanc, rouge" sentiment in France that deems non-white French citizens not truly French. Some years ago when a non white woman (originally from the Dominican Republic) won the Miss Italia crown it sparked a debate about whether she represented "Italian beauty". If the wider society you live in (or at least vocal bits of it) is determined to marginalise you or can't even grudgingly accept you, how do you successfully move forward and truly integrate into the society?
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  8. #8
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    Well the problem is these European countries used immigrants to bolster their own economies and now they want them to get the hell out of there. Is that what we're calling multiculturalism? It wasn't a problem that some of these immigrants couldn't speak German fluently when Germany was using them to help rebuild the country. If it is now, provide training and services so they can learn. Disenfranchising their children who were born and raised in the country doesn't seem like a proper solution.

    ETA: After Merkel's comment that Germany's "culture is based on Christian and Jewish values and has been for hundreds of years, not to say thousands..." this just sounds like more Islamophobia to me.

    What's really happening is that due to the poor economic climate, everyone is moving politically to the right. I think the same thing is happening in the US. Times are tough so we're going to blame the "other." Well with the aging population Germany has, I would like to see how they expect to face the next few years without immigrant labour.
    Last edited by taniseka; 10-18-2010 at 05:46 PM.

  9. #9
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    @Kayin: That is a different debate then multiculturalism actually. I'm talking about societies that welcome immigrants with open arms, make multicuralism a pillar of their integration model and are now dealing with marginal groups who pretty much want to create a little corner of homelan in their new home and how the "natives" deal with, either with a rise of xenophobic right wing parties as in the UK or in The Netherlands or people complaining loudly here in Canada.

    France and Italy never had any pretensions of a multiculti society. France flirted with it during the 96 World Cup when they won with a Black-Blanc-Beur (black-white-North African) team but that thin veneer burned off quickly with this year's team: many French said that multicultural team wasn't French enough and once the team lost, well, political correctness went out the window.


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    I am kind of torn on the subject. On one hand, it seems to me that some Europeans and white Americans are threatened by other cultures. Like Mexicans are only good for tacos, until they start wanting to keep some remnant of their culture, then it's too much. And they somehow expect everyone else, even in other countries, to live a Western cultural ideal or close to it.

    But the other side is, if you move to a country you should have to learn the language eventually and be able to get long without things being catered to you all the time. But honestly, I see most all immigrants in various stages of doing that. I am not sure what people's expectations are. I honestly think some people just get mad hearing someone speak their native tongue and are reacting to whatever issues they have in their heads about people of other cultures/ethnicities.
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