Cultural diversity: a new kind of racism?

First of all, let’s establish that there is a clear distinction between cultural diversity and multiculturalism.

Cultural diversity invloed the peaceful coexistence of various cultural, ethnic and religious communities within a particular society with minimal interaction between their members.

Multiculturalism, on the other hand, involves the peaceful coexistence of various cultural, ethnic and religious communities with voluntary interaction between their members.

In a multicultural society, individuals embrace various aspects of the numerous cultures, with no culture being perceived as superior.

In a culturally diverse society, individuals are expected to adhere to a single culture with migrants not being expected to assimilate.

Australia is nation well-renowned for its high levels of immigration. The Australian society is a highly tolerant one and new arrivals (whether they be migrants, refugees or asylum seekers) will be relieved to find that they will not experience the blatant xenophobia that has overtaken much of Europe lately. However, within a few short years, the new arrivals may discover a more subtle, but more persistent kind of racism: cultural diversity.

Underneath this benign phrase lies the expectation that migrants/refugees/asylum seekers and their children will willingly maintain their previous cultural identity and rely on their former compatriots for the vast majority of social interactions, as well as basic services ranging from hairdressing to tutoring to conveyancing.

If you are content or even proud of your existing cultural identity and all of the “baggage” that comes with it, if you strongly believe in religious dogma and have no desire to change, not even to learn the language of your adopted homeland, then Australia’s culturally diverse society is perfect for you.

However, if you are looking for a new homeland for yourself (and your children) because you are dissatisfied with your original one and are willing to change, then a more homogenous and conservative nation might be a better choice. At least there your children will be able to move past (i.e. be discouraged from exploring) the traumatic experiences that led you to emigrate, forge a new identity for themselves and simply get on with their lives.

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