What is Multiculturalism and Has It Failed?

*this is an post written on July 11, 2007, but hopefully still relevent

Okay, so here I go again. Rant Time at Fuzzy Central. We all know that we can’t pray in schools, that we can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance with “under God” in it, that we can’ t display the nativity at Christmas in public schools (or the menorah, for that matter), and we all know what I think about that. Or if we don’t all know, let me just tell you, I think it’s ridiculous that we have to change our way of life here in the States to coddle a few radical atheists, the NAACP, and the ACLU, among others, who seek to wipe any evidence of God from public life. But wait a minute, it’s not GOD, it’s just the Judeo-Christian God. It turns out that a public school in California sponsors Muslim prayer during school hours, and that the University of Michigan is installing foot baths to accommodate Muslim students.

First of all, let me say that I am not attacking Islam in this post; I would be just as inflamed if they were allowing pagan worship time and building alters to Gaia (and not because I have anything against paganism, in fact, I feel drawn to many elements of some earth-based religions). I would be just as inflamed if they were setting aside time for people to worship . . . oh, I don’t know, shoes. My point here is that right after our (meaning Christian) rights are stomped on and dragged through courts (and we all remember the fun atheists who wanted the crosses removed from a National War Memorial and grand folks at Sea-tac who took down the Christmas trees rather than display a menorah), we allow these religious rites to be practiced. In public schools (the University of Michigan is a state school, and though they aren’t using tax money to install the foot baths, they are using tuition money; can you imagine the scandal and outrage if a state university wanted to use tuition money to pay for communion wafers and wine?). Christian clubs have been banned from some schools, but this school in Carver, CA is stopping everything to accommodate prayer in the middle of the day? Remember the big to do about having a “moment of silence” in schools to replace the pledge, the horror that the atheists proclaimed at the thought that kids might be silently praying to their own God?

Gaaah!! I’m so angry about this, about the unfairness, the inequity of it. Where’s the NAACP now? Where’s the ACLU? Who knows? Totally silent, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if that or any school held a Christian or Jewish prayer for its Christian or Jewish students that we’d hear them squawking into next week. Next month. And rightly so. If you want to erase all evidence of our culture, our religious beliefs, well, that seems to be A-OK. But to merely replace them with something else . . . well, that’s unconscionable.

And I’m still fuming at my first little snippet of some horror show called Christopher Hitchins. On Hannity’s America , he was saying that he wants his book (God is Not Great) to organize people to change the way that religion is taught in schools, the way that things are done in Iraq, American, and some other unspecified places . . . um, excuse me, but how is his imposition of his Unbelief any different or less malicious and offensive than the imposition of someone else’s belief? He still wants to dictate what is said or not in schools, he just wants it to be what he believes rather than what is currently taught or done. Bizarre. And he seemed totally unconscious of any hypocrisy in his annoyingly pedantic, self-righteous, holier than thou attitude. Bizarre squared.

I can’t stand people like him, people who claim that something is wrong with something, only to replace it with their own version of the exact same thing. Don’t teach creationism, you must teach evolution instead. Don’t believe in God, believe in the absence of God. Don’t teach safe sex through condom use, teach abstinence. Sorry, but that’s nothing but taking one imposed belief and replacing it with another; the way we used to cope with these things was in court or in the voting booths. Now, though, some random Brit turned American thinks he should dictate what we do in our classrooms in California and around the world (according to his own self-inflated statements).

And we let him because otherwise we’re not being politically correct, we’re not accepting his alternate belief system. But it’s not “alternate,” it’s no more “alternate” than anything bin Laden is saying: it’s my way or the highway, stop all that misguided God nonsense. And stop it right now. Well, you may find it misguided, Mr. Hitchins, but I don’t. I won’t force you to believe in or worship God; in fact, I think that we need to teach both creation and evolution, safe sex and abstinence . . . I’ve got this crazy notion that if you give people all sorts of information, they can then make their own choices, formulate and follow their own beliefs. And maybe just maybe, with exposure to other ideas and philosophies, they won’t try to ram their own down the throats of others. Obviously, though, I’m totally naïve because such people don’t wish to allow that, they want it all closed off, shut down as fanciful and irrational (apparently Mr. Hitchins’ pet word for belief in God or any creator) and whatever else . . . how, please, is that any different than shutting down atheism for any reason whatever?

Now people are talking about separation of church and state. Well, sure they are, that’s how we got our Christian God zapped out of public consciousness, but I’m not even sure it’s an issue of church and state. This is just one more piece of evidence, to my mind, that multiculturalism is a failed experiment. To be truly multicultural, all belief systems and cultural backgrounds and heritages must be honored and respected. Not replace one set with another, not squash the previously dominant ideology and hold up a different one in its stead, even several different ones. As long as one is being downtrodden, the experiment fails. How can we all live in harmony when someone, somewhere is not going to have their “rights” and belief system recognized? How do we establish peace and human compassion when only one culture’s needs are being met or when even one culture’s are not? Everyone is wrangling for top spot, that’s not multiculturalism, that’s business–and history–as usual.

Multiculturalism is great for anyone who is nonwhite and nonChristian and non-affluent. For everyone else, it’s just an excuse to silence one group, to subvert one people in the name of “equality.” How is that equal? How is that MULTIcultural? I can’t say “Merry Christmas,” but I can be told to “praise Allah” or that my religious beliefs make me uneducated (well, no one can say that one, actually, so how about ignorant, backward . . . oh, let’s just put it out there, I’m stupid and naive for believing in God, right?). Is there anything more wrong than taking away someone’s freedom of religion? Isn’t the whole point of “multiculturalism” to be inclusive? Or is that for everyone except white, western Christians?

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2 thoughts on “What is Multiculturalism and Has It Failed?

  1. i remember back about 15 or so years ago when my boyfriend was taking education classes and i first started hearing about “multiculturalism”. even then it sounded like a bunch of crap. however many years later and it still sounds like a bunch of crap. i don’t think it’s ever been about being all inclusive. not ever.great post.

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