The demise of multiculturalism policy?

We were taught in the olden days how Brazil and Hawaii were the exemplars of societies with a successful racial (ethnic?) integration; and how the USA was the very model of the melting-pot theory of cultures. We now know that, as long as the lower castes and ‘coloureds’ in each of these nations know and keep their place, there is a moderately successful integration.

… … The lesson for us is apparently that, the more pronounced the diversity (of cultures), the higher the long-term danger. Can there be anything more divergent than religion-based cultures? In which case, history tells us that the Jewish people did not, in general, live well under Christian rulers; but under Moslem rulers, they not only lived well, but some of their people rose to substantial positions of power. And it was the Christians who were wont to teach the Moor his place.

Could one say that the very large number of non-English-speaking migrants from Europe represented a very divergent culture from the Australian? … These migrants may have co-existed with fellow migrants and the mainstream Aussie (as did the early Chinese) but without stress to the fabric of the nation (ignoring the cries of “Dago”, “Wop”, “Wog”, and the like). Their children integrated into mainstream traditions, not being denied equal opportunity, unlike the children of the Aboriginal people, even in urban areas. The children of the migrants are taking their place in the structures of Australian society, according to competence, but subject to the limitations of established power structures.

The other migrants with apparently divergent cultures are the Asians, from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Japan. They are Christians of various sects, Moslems of various sects, and Buddhists of various sects, in the main. There are also some Hindus (and they are possibly less diverse in terms of sects), Shintoists, Confucianists, capitalists, and others. The religious bonds do cross national and language boundaries.

Irrespective of mother tongue, the Asians are likely to be reasonably fluent to very fluent in English, and Westernised, in the main. What cultural differences would they display? The exceptions would be refugees and many of the humanitarian entrants. They could be expected to have difficulties in integrating into the community because of a lack of English and, in many cases, an unfamiliarity with Australia’s institutions and ethos.

… … A risk to social cohesion which has been identified by many writers, and visible on TV, is the practice of some migrants continuing to express the ethnic prejudices and politics of the countries they left behind. … Most Aussies would agree that if such people want to participate in ‘wars’ overseas, they should go there and do it. And since it is illegal to be a mercenary, we would appreciate the voluntary return of our citizenship papers – after all, our citizenship requires a commitment to Australia.

… … It would also seem that multiculturalism policy is expected, by some, to deal with the inequalities of ethnicity, class and gender. Is this realistic? … a single strand in the totality of government policies is expected to come to grips with two global issues, whose durability simply reflects man’s societal inheritance.

… … Multicultural policy is intended to manage the consequences of a culturally diverse society. The most important strand of the policy is social justice, i.e. the right to equality of treatment and opportunity. … … It is wise to remember that what is at issue is the creation of one nation, without divisive policies and practices in the name of cultural diversity or, worse still, ethnic disadvantage. Why has not the government’s multicultural policy emphasised more the inter-ethnic community aspects? What about a role in this direction for the ethnic newspapers? … … We do not need a ‘celebration and fossilisation of difference.’

(Recently, the Prime Minister of Australia, supported by the Premier of New South Wales, replaced multiculturalism policy, with its focus on cultural differences, with a citizenship policy intended to unify an ethnically diverse population. A united people arising through cultural integration, reflecting the acceptance of the institutions and social mores of a host people evolving through time, can be expected to result in a harmonious society.

New immigrants cannot expect to transplant in toto those values and cultural practices which are incompatible with those of the host nation, if they wish to access the opportunities offered by the host nation. A quid pro quo is part of the immigration deal. Indeed, could one surmise that no independent nation would want immigrants who wish to join that nation, but then insist that key facets of their new home be modified to be more like the home they left?

This is the thrust of ‘Destiny Will Out’ and my other writings. Refer for my 44 articles, and my second memoir ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ as well as ‘The Karma of Culture’ and ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity.’)