Multicultural misunderstandings: Impressions from a Canadian debate and a few lessons for Germany

In his article entitled “Multicultural Misunderstands: Impressions from a Canadian debate and a few lessons from Germany”, Lars von Törne addresses how much of the Western World has started to believe the misconception that multiculturalism is a failed concept and why such a view is incorrect. To start, Törne focuses on the extent of the cultural rejection, including a description of how multiculturalism to Germans is considered a “swear word” (1). In truth, there is no doubt about Törne’s assumption thatcultural ties have taken a turn for the worse, as is clearly seen here in California with hostility towards Muslims regarding the War on Terror and Hispanics regarding recent immigration legislation. What Törne surprisingly offers as a counter-argument is that much of the world has incorrectly been using and interpreting the term and instead have been practicing integration policies that don’t resemble the original “multicultural” society established by the Canadian government. At first this idea seems strange, but upon Törne explaining how Canadians encourage expression from all cultures and emphasize a sense of belonging, his point becomes far more apparent. Looking at Germany, it is clear why integration failed and still is a mess since Germans sought not to build bonds and take notice of incoming immigrants believing they would leave when the time came. Germans today are to an extent fine with living next to Eastern immigrants, but still they don’t want to share ideas and define Germany as a nation of many cultures, instead of the tradition German culture. Through Canada’s open integration system, Törne demonstrates that when citizens of every culture are heard, a since of identity is built between people and the nation and instead of challenging if cultures can work together, the people find new ways in which they can. It is Törne’s hope that nations like Germany and the United States will adopt such outlooks and leave behind the misconceptions about multiculturalism and other cultures.

by Nicholas Chevrefils

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