Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
AE1 Multiculturalism and/ or Assimilation hartlege hartlege 62 1860 Jun 3, 2012 by Hend.Tenaiji Hend.Tenaiji
AET1 Multiculturalism and/ or Assimilation hartlege hartlege 33 817 Jun 3, 2012 by Shamma.alnaqbi Shamma.alnaqbi

Basic concepts of intercultural communication PowerPoint

Text adapted from
Hurwit, M. (n.d.). Cultural Diversity: Towards a Whole Society. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from CCSF Teaching Tolerance:

Cultural Diversity:
Towards A Whole Society
adapted from an article by Mara Hurwitt

"In Germany they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me - and by that time no one was left to speak up." - Rev. Martin Niemoller

Celebrating Diversity

Look around and you will see that our society is very diverse. Diversity enriches our lives. Much as the biological diversity of an ecosystem increases its stability and productivity, cultural diversity brings together the resources and talents of many people for the shared benefit of all. Sadly, the differences among us have historically formed the basis of fear, bigotry, and even violence. Yet consider how dull life would be if we all looked alike, thought alike, and acted alike! By learning to recognize our similarities and appreciate our differences, together we can overcome prejudice and intolerance and work towards a more peaceful and productive world.

People may fear diversity simply because they are accustomed to the way things used to be and change makes them uncomfortable. Others may somehow feel threatened because they perceive increased participation by traditionally underrepresented groups in the workplace and the political process as a challenge to their own power. If left unaddressed, these fears can lead to resentment and bigotry. However, these fears can often be countered through education. Dr. Samuel Betances, professor emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University and noted author and lecturer offers this observation:

"Education universalizes the human spirit. You cannot be universalized if you are only in one world, the world of your ethnic group, the world of your neighborhood, the world of your religion, or the world of your family. The word ‘university’ is related to this idea. Our lives are enhanced when we understand and appreciate many worlds. It has been said that if you gain a new language, you gain a new world. I believe that the reverse is also true: if you lose a language, you lose a world. When our spirit is universalized, we can cross boundaries and feel comfortable in other worlds. We can teach and learn from others in a mutually supportive effort to acquire a profound respect for the human condition."

Unlike assimilation - where everyone's differences are lost in a giant melting pot - multiculturalism advocates the idea that maintaining our different cultural identities can enrich us and our communities. Multiculturalism does not promote ethnocentrism or seek to elevate one cultural identity above another. Instead, it celebrates diversity by allowing us to value our individual heritages and beliefs while respecting those of others. Respect for each others' cultural values and belief systems is an intrinsic part of cultural diversity. Lack of respect is often based on ignorance or misinformation. If you do not understand another's values, lifestyle, or beliefs, it is much easier to belittle them. And so the seeds of prejudice and intolerance are sown.