Tuesday, April 22, 2014

German 4 Dummies: "Multikulti"

"Multikulti" used to come in a longer form, "multikulturell" (multicultural) or, as a noun "Multikulturalismus" but it is the short form which is used in a mostly pejorative way these days.

The most vocal opponents tend to spell it Multi-Kulti. We are not sure exactly why, but in doing so you do get a neat little allusion to "Kult" (the German word for a cult).

We accept the Wikipedia history and explanation of the term "Multikulturalismus" (multiculturalism) although the page says that more edits appear to be needed.  The basic philosophy seems to be that societies can function well with different groups living together while maintaining their own cultures without any pressure to assimilate.

While this may work very well if you visit the Multi Kulti Cafe, it is pretty obvious that history is full of examples to the contrary. No wonder that the concept has been hotly debated and eventually declared "failed" by such European leaders as Mr. Cameron and Ms. Merkel.

These two leaders embody two countries where multicultural does not necessarily mean the same thing. It is all but inconceivable that a German train station would have a sign in German and Turkish, similar to Southall's sign in English and Punjabi.

And in the U.S.?

Maybe multiculturalism is used in academia, but the term that would be familiar to the rest of us is diversity.
As is turns out, the "melting pot" is our favorite example of diversity in real life. China Town in San Francisco, CA, for Chinese, Dearborn, MI, or New York City are vibrant examples of everyday diversity.

Has anybody ever put a "safe distance" in miles or kilometers on the concept of diversity?

We always smile when we see an ardent opponent of anything that smacks of multicultural rave about his visit to SF's China Town.

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