18 May 2007
Johann Hari, columnist for The Independent, says multiculturalism is divisive, patronising, oppressive and often implicitly racist. In particular, it leads to a shameful betrayal of women’s rights. He is interviewed by Peter Tatchell on Talking With Tatchell:
The multicultural ethos sometimes colludes with oppressive ideas within minority communities, especially ideas concerning women and gay people. In these circumstances, respecting diversity can lead to the toleration of reactionary cultural traditions.
Multiculturalism tends to treat minority communities as one homogeneous mass; based on the dominant elites and values within those communities. It often neglects dissenting voices within minorities. This is wrong. Individual rights should always trump community rights.
Instead of multiculturalism’s often one-sided focus on difference, promoting shared humanitarian values and equal citizenship are much more effective ways to secure justice and empowerment for minority peoples, argues Mr Hari.
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