The Struggle for Women’s Rights

Multiculturalism and the ideal of the so-called “Melting Pot” are the two alternatives for accepting different cultures within a single nation state, something that seems natural in the 21st century with globalization and massive international interaction in the form of goods and services.

Multiculturalism, in essence, wants to do everything possible to maintain minority cultures the way they are within the umbrella of the dominant culture of the nation state. For instance, an immigrant group or indigenous population is given support to maintain their language, encouraged to socialize with one another, and to keep their traditional social structures.

The “Melting Pot” encourages all newcomers to the country to contribute what is best of their own culture to the nation, discarding what is bad, and then assimilating as best as possible. There can still be pride in one’s heritage, but one is no longer an Italian, one is a Swedish-Italian, for instance.

One can say that the “Melting Pot” is focused on unity, while multiculturalism focuses on fragmented relativism. The “Melting Pot” demands unified values even as each culture contributes, while multiculturalism says that you can have completely different values in one minority, even if they are at odds with the rest of the culture.

In my opinion, multiculturalism is a dangerous path to follow. It leads not only to a fragmented society, it leads to the reinforcement of traditional power structures that most people fled from in the first place. What is the good of escaping from the terror of Somalia, for instance, if your new country’s government encourages that you maintain the structures and values that made you leave in the first place? The result, of course, is a subset of society with enormously high unemployment, women covered from head to toe, genital mutilation of little girls, and a disproportionate numbers of crimes, including rape. Government welfare encourages women to be kept at home, government language courses teaches the children their own language, satellite TV keeps them watching their own news instead of ours leaving them isolated from society, and freely provided translators make learning Swedish meaningless to women who rarely leave the home.

President Sarkozy made a strong statement that the burqa was not welcome in France. This has been supported by an unlikely coalition of everything from communists to conservatives. The left sees the burqa as religious oppression, while the right sees it as a threat to national unity. Despite different outlooks, the end goal is the same: the liberation of women forced into submission in traditional, primitive power structures that places the man firmly at the head of the household. This is unacceptable in the 21st century, especially in a Western country.

Hopefully this new trend of daring to speak up against injustices even if they are committed by a minority will spread. Granted we must be careful not to demonize any group, but wrong is wrong, and some unjust cultural traditions must be fought regardless of political correctness.

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~ by Escaping Perdition on June 23, 2009.

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