Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Values and Multiculturalism

Since this blog is now committed to a perspective that sees values, liberalism, and socialism as three interdependent pillars, it's worth while to look at the intersection of a values perspective with multi-culturalism. I see multiculturalism as no threat whatsoever to looking at the world through a virtue and positive values perspective. Instead, it offers the opportunity to see how different communities each find this sort of cultural perspective on what's right and worthwhile in terms of personal conduct, and to network in order to find common ground.

The notion that x community is deficient in cultural values is inevitably racist and based on racializing thinking. It harkens back to the idea that black folks are somehow less in touch with this because of how something going on in Africa is, and to the racialized notion that since Mexico's political structure is less than optimal, if we allow lots of people who are Mexican into the United States we'll inevitably start to resemble that. Muslims asserting Shariah law is another example, although one that's putatively religious and cultural instead of purely racial. None of this is true.

First off, what people don't see in focusing on the negative aspects of things that happen in the black community, that have been caused by slavery and racism, are the many structures within that community that try to help people to deal with the reality around them and lead good lives, such as Churches, which have a much more extensive role than just as places of worship. Parallels can be drawn with every group, from Mexican culture to Asian culture to Middle Eastern culture.

Values of the kind I'm talking about are inherently non-material, are opposed in essence to the sort of base materialism that leads to racialized thinking, and to materialist culture in general. Racism is the Right's equivalent of the vulgar Stalinism present in, admittedly tiny, parts of the Left that view all culture as simply the outcome of a picture of the economic structure of society in a way that can be contained on the back of a matchbook.

Seeing values of these kinds in a way detached from race is extremely important with regards to Europe, where a good portion of people really appear to believe that letting Muslim immigrants in will lead to Shariah law dominating and women losing their rights....which I'm sure these folks really respect. People in the U.S. believe the same thing, but the situation is not quite as bad because we don't have a lot of people who are Muslim who are emigrated here, while Europe has just that.

Instead of viewing culture as something that will be hurt or destroyed by the entrance of a foreign entity in it, it would be better to try to find the common ground that exists between cultures, which is not only positive in itself, but in the case of Europe will likely lead to greater assimilation....which is what the folks who are anti-immigrant at least say they want anyways.

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