Sunday, April 12, 2015

Multiculturalism benefits all

How would you feel when someone sitting next to you inside the airplane requests that you should find another seat? Well, this can happen to you if you are sitting next to a Hasidic Jew who is not allowed religiously to sit next to a person of opposite sex, if they are not related. So, what would you do? Will you politely abide by the request or say that "I am not going to do that, and if you have problem sitting next to me, you better find another sitting place?' 

We live in a world that is increasingly become global with peoples of all faiths living side by side. Respect for each other's values is the fundamental glue which binds a society together and not the other way around. As recently noted by Rabbi Yehudah Mirsky, an associate professor of Judaic studies at Brandeis University, “Multiculturalism creates a moral language where a group can say, ‘You have to respect my values.’ ”

Apparently, this simple message is lost in some parts of our world, esp. places like Myanmar where rather than embracing each other for their ethnic, religious differences, minorities are targeted for extermination by fascist Buddhist forces within the country. Sadly, many parts of Europe is seeing the emergence of fascism, esp. countries like France, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland where the prevalent majoritarian culture is forced assimilation - 'my way or highway', i.e., 'if you want to adopt into my culture you better become French-fried dropping your cultural baggage'. 

Surely, such practices only alienate the immigrant or the minority, feeling overwhelming pressure to fit in. It is unnatural, and therefore, unhealthy and harms the society more than creating an integration which the society lacks badly. 

Here is an interesting article on this subject.

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