. Multiculturalism is a sociological concept that is imperative in establishing the behaviour patterns of particular individuals belonging to the same cultural group (Race, 2011). It is also hearten ideologies that promote cultural diversity. Multiculturalism by definition is the cultural diversity that exists in a given community along with the policies that are put in place to promote the same. In essence, multiculturalism is fundamentally the existence of diversity on cultural grounds at the various organizational levels that include schools, neighbourhoods, countries cities, etc. Multiculturalism is responsible for the existence of various cultures across the globe.
Multiculturalism in itself is a positive thing, having various cultures in place essentially fosters unity and understanding among the various communities within a given society. It also promotes assimilation and fosters experience through interactions and exchange of cultural values (Steinberg, 2009).
United States is not a multicultural country. Despite the fact that United States has a total of 200 languages being spoken, no culture in itself is predominant (**). Additionally, multiculturalism is not well conventional in policy at the federal level. Mass migration of immigrants into the United States from the historical records was a common feature of the United States economy and society since 19th century, particularly during the second half of it. The continuous stream of immigrants into the United States who essentially adhered to diverse cultures promoted America’s national myth. In essence, America has mixed and diverse culture without state intervention (**). Upon arriving at United States, the immigrants gradually assimilated into the culture of the U.S.
The united Sates culture with time surpassed that of the immigrants. As from the definitions aforementioned, this is not multiculturalism, but rather an assimilation and integration where people fit the culture of the United States. The fact that cultural diversity is not apparent in United States clearly establishes the fact that United States is not a multicultural country. Though United States and Europe are acknowledged for having fostered the development of multiculturalism. The comprehensive culture of the United States as defined by the national myth is so predominate enough to a level where it diminishes other cultures in the United States. Considering that United States is a country that attach lots of importance to culture, the very fact that no multicultural policies at the federal level makes it a no multicultural country.
The various policies and definitions attached to multiculturalism foster controversies surrounding this conception. The very fact that some people view their culture as natural and superior to others create biases and distort the essence of multiculturalism (Race, 2011). Based on this fact, people end up experiencing culture shock and personal disorientation when subjected to a different cultural group. In essence, people are predisposed to experiencing cultural shock if they have a profound attachment to their culture (Steinberg, 2009). Culture shock has since become an alarming concept subsequent to the fact that people often perceive their culture as more essential than that of other people. The above creates controversies and misunderstanding of the concept multiculturalism.
According to social functionalism, the society in which we live in function on the basis of the various organizations established in it. These organizations include governments, education etc. this concept describe the society as a stable entity and goes further to describe the various tools that maintain it. In essence, social functionalism is of the notion that the social structure is the major framework that defines stability and instability as evident in the society. Additionally, it purports that social functionalism work to maintain a balance or rather equilibrium in the society (Dunn, 2010). Considering that multiculturalism endorse cultural diversity and policies attached to it as a framework where we can establish unity, the use of social functionalism is appropriate in explaining insights regarding multiculturalism.
According to conflict theory, the existence of class structures in our society offer a definition of the same. In this case, the societal structures are constantly competing for the limited resources of which the capitalist have the most access (Dunn, 2010). Apparently, this theory is essential in explaining the existence of racism, ageism and many other socioeconomic inequalities. The socialization process in respect to this theory forces us ton to merge and assimilate norms and cultures of the society to establish our belonging group. This theory can be used to explain the diverse nature of cultures that exist in our society. The difference exhibited by the various groups defined by this theory establishes the true nature of multiculturalism.
According to symbolic interactionism, the society is made of many parts that work to make the society a whole (Dunn, 2010). Based on this theory, our interactions with other people foster a mutual understanding of cultural symbols. This theory in essence makes apparent the fact that the diversity as portrayed multiculturalism can best be explained by establishing meaning that people attach to various symbols as defined by symbolic interactionism.
Apparently, it is evident that multiculturalism is a concept that can be easily confused if not given the appropriate definitions. This notion in essence has since fostered controversies subsequent to the fact that some people perceive their culture as superior. United States is not a multicultural country because multiculturalism is not well conventional in policy at the federal level though the people of United Sates speak 200 different languages. Considering that social conflict, social functionalism, and symbolic interaction are theories that explain the diversity, these theories are appropriate in explaining multiculturalism.
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Race, R. (2011). Multiculturalism and education. London: Continuum.
Steinberg, S. R. (2009). Diversity and multiculturalism: A reader. New York: Peter Lang.