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Multicultural Society

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Multicultural Society.

The retrospective view of human history shows that it has always been a moving

and mixing of peoples caused by different reasons. For centuries the intervention of

cultures grew reciprocally. As a result of this process people now have mixed cultures

and many intercultural conflicts. The United States is a great example of a pluralistic

society made up of many different cultures and nationalities. It is a nation that is

composed of people who came here from around the world. In the 20th century, after new

immigration laws were enforced, two opposing trends became obvious: the one state

that America is multicultural; the other claims that America is monoculture.

Ishamel Reed, a popular and well-known African American literary figure,

represents and strongly argues in favor of the first tendency. In his article, "America: The

Multinational Society," written in 1988, he states that the time has come to review the old-fashioned concept of American culture as "Western Civilization" and to give it a new

definition as multicultural. It seems even the tone of Reed's essay, happy and welcoming,

supports the author's confidence in his point of view and celebrates "multiculturalism."

Ishamel Reed describes mixing of cultures in the United States as "a cultural

bouillabaisse". He confirms that America is mixed up of a lot of different ethnicities, and all of them feel free and comfortable living together, by referring to a number of episodes from everyday life. One of them, the exhibition of African and Afro-American paintings with mythological symbols and images in a local McDonald's restaurant show the blend of different ethnicities alongside with the blend of the ancient and the modern. In addition, the author gives us some personal examples, such as his traveling to Texas where, sitting in the plane, he heard the taped voice in two languages: English and Spanish. According to Reed, most of the breathtaking conflicts and disagreements between people of different backgrounds are created and encouraged by the media. They do not exist in real life.Many scholars still consider it as Western, which is incorrect,

in Reed's opinion. He rejects the concept "Western civilization" itself. "Western

civilization, then, becomes another confusing category," writes Reed. He proves

that Western civilization has never been monolithic because it has a lot of borrowings

from other cultures and even such notable and remarkable people as Beethoven, cubists,

French paintings, and so on, were influenced by other cultures.

To prove his argument, Ishamel Reed tells us of the Puritans. Puritanism is a culture that originated in the North Eastern part of America and, according to the concept

of "Western Civilization," they are known to be our "founding fathers." The

representatives of "Western Civilization" idealize these people as honest, hardworking,

faithful, and moral people. Nevertheless, estimating the contributions of the Puritans to

the establishing of a great industrial society, the author also shows us a different side of

these people. He portrays them as mean and barbaric people who exterminated the native

Indians and killed their own children for disobeying their parents. Describing the Puritans, Reed wants to show readers how the old definition for the American culture is

nothing to be proud of and is based on a lie. On one hand, the Puritans contributed a lot to the establishing of a great Industrial society but, on the other hand, they did not recognize

and excluded any other cultures by destroying them. Unfortunately, the same attitude

continues in our days. That is why people need to realize that the concept of America

being referred to as "Western Civilization", or "Civilization created by the people from

Europe, as if Europe can be viewed in monolithic terms" is wrong, and can bring

terrible consequences for people of different cultures.

The other author, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., represents the second trend. In his

article, "The Cult of Ethnicity," he criticizes "multiculturalism" and wants to see American society as "one people". As well as Reed, Schlesinger describes America as a nation made up of different cultures and ethnicities. "We have always been a multiethnic country" , writes the author. He also traces back the creation and evolution of the American culture, and estimates the present contradictory character of it. Both authors speak in unison about the uniqueness of American culture. Schlesinger quotes the French author of the 18th century who said: "Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men." If Reed describes blurring of cultural styles in America as "a cultural bouillabaisse", Schlesinger names it "The melting pot" . Moreover, Schlesinger admits the healthy consequences of new immigrations laws. He is against racism and discrimination of minorities and salutes the recognition of achievements of those groups, which were subordinated "during the high noon of Anglo dominance."

Nevertheless, the author is threatened by the fact that dividing the country along different cultures, idolizing of ethnicities, and welcoming group separatism will lead to very bad consequences. "Group separatism crystallizes the differences, magnifies tensions, and intensifies hostilities." According to Schlesinger, America has always been a country where many different cultures get along together without any serious visible problems due to their assimilation to American culture, values, laws, customs, and



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