Thursday, March 10, 2011

Multiculturalism Globally and Lessons

Recently several political heavyweights have been taking a curious stance on multiculturalism. For instance, President of France, Nicolas Sarkosy positions that tolerance of multicultural individuals doesn't allow for France to maintain an authentic identity (Sexton, 2011). British Prime Minister Cameron and German Chancellors have stated in recent months of the total failure in Europe in themes of multiculturalism (Bleher, 2011, Sexton, 2011). European identity and unification are far from ideal to ideas of collaboration and sustained meaningfulness in the impact of others coming together towards sovereign efforts.
Prime Minister Cameron states “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values”. As the world listens and considers such European leader's stance in issues with diversity, one cannot help but think of the lack of progress our own nation has with embracing multiculturalism.
We share a horrific history in tolerance to others in this country. It appears that one of man's greatest struggles is to embrace tolerance of differences and not feel the threat of identity confusion or that resources are scare or compromised in accepting another human being into a community.
Taking history into account, is the age old philosophical debate of whether we actually learn from history or are doomed to repeat it. Though this is a discussion started in macro environments, taking in the totality of the global strife with mutliculturalism, lessons might be learned if one starts small and believes in the butterfly effect where a butterfly's wings pulsation in California might make for a tsunami in coastal India (Lorenz, 1961).
Research indicates that a group that manages issues well can serve positively in regards to diversity. Collectively, it sounds as though countries are struggling to take the cues of what it is exactly that appears to work well so as to better their own country. For instance, can we Americans look at groups, companies that perhaps have moved beyond just tolerance of diverse individuals in their work force and actively move in directions beyond tolerance and actually invests wholly, kindly, and emphatically in that multiple cultures does serve their own interests well?
As one reflects on groups, the human attributes cannot be diminished. If the human condition is to feel threatened by others different than ourselves, what can be done so as to undo these cultural constructs of fear? Education may be the answer, but can the message ever be received well when we operate in the cultural contruct of fear? This goes back to history repeating itself. Has a group ever successfully merged into a new culture peacefully and non-threateningly? One's answer frames the thought process and the interaction of behaviors speaking to tolerance or less in the larger group.
If we can change our cultural contruct, remove fear, add education, our new, embraced, unified mutlicultural group has the potential to be truly fierce. When no group member feels threatened and there is motivation beyond tolerance to embrace multiplicity in the ways of doing things, we open ourselves up to being adaptable infinitely to new ideas, prodecures, approaches, and most humbly, recognizing that there may be mutlitple ways to reach an end result, with no one approach being better. The biggest task remains, getting over ourselves and our fears. A group leader that works to provide psychological safety may be able in this environment to create headway and the butterfly effect remains unknown as whether fear has permanently been replaced with more productive, accurate thinking about others (Levi, 2011).


Bleher,S. (2011). Cameron's Failure on Multiculturalism.Retrieved 03/10/2011at:

Levi, D. (2011). Group dynamics for teams. (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Sage Publications, Inc.

Lorenz, E. (1961). Chaos & Fractals. Retrieved 03/10/2011 at: butterfly.html

Sexton, J. (2011). Multliculturalism a Failure...says Europe. Retrieved 03/10/2011 at:

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