There are different views and definition of multiculturalism; the definition of multiculturalism depends on the context in which it is used. In sociology, multiculturalism is the idea that various cultures exist in a society and all these cultures deserve equal treatment (Macionis, 2010). Sociologists believe that members of different cultures can live peacefully alongside each other and assimilation is not necessary; but this does not happen in all multicultural societies. This essay will place emphasis on both the positive aspects and the main tensions that arise in a multicultural society.
SAMPLE BACKGROUND – HISTORY OF MULTICULTURALISM IN BRITAIN
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The first group of immigrants, who started the process of multiculturalism, arrived in Britain on the Empire Windrush in 1948. Most of these immigrants were from the Caribbean and did not intend to stay in Britain for more than a few years, but eventually did.
The diversity of cultures has played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape. When people live together in a community, communication is unavoidable and communication involves sharing ideas and perspectives, creating a body of collectively acceptable principles and policies, therefore, leading to a more innovative, creative and prosperous society. According to professor Bhikhu Parekh (2006), multiculturalism is “about intercultural fusion in which a culture borrows bits of others and creatively transforms both itself and them". One culture might be influenced by the beliefs and practices of another, so they borrow what they find valuable and enrich and broaden it, and this also helps to build common bonds between the two cultures. The various skills or ideas obtained from another group can be used in various areas of life:
Communities educate each other, provided that none is too overbearing and self righteous to welcome criticism. They also represent different talents, skills, forms of imagination, forms of social organization, and psychological and moral energies, all of which constitute a most valuable resource which can be fruitfully harnessed in various areas of life such as sports, business, management, creative arts, industry and government (Parekh, 2006:168).
Multiculturalism is an important constituent of human freedom. If individuals do not have access to other cultures but theirs alone, they remain confined to it and imagine it to be the only natural way to understand and organize human life (Parekh, 2006). Furthermore, diversity of cultures creates awareness to the diversity within one’s culture. Individuals or communities acknowledge that their culture is a product of various influences, contains different ‘strands of thoughts’, therefore, encouraging internal debate within the culture and creating a space for critical and independent thoughts (Parekh, 2006).
Like every other thing, multiculturalism has its negative aspects as well. After...