Multiculturalism v.s. Assimilation

In Canada we are a multicultural country whereas in America it is assimilation. In multiculturalism there is cultural and ethnic diversity of a particular social space. Which makes a society that gives equal status to distinct cultural and religious groups,with no one culture predominating. Whereas, assimilation is a process where members of an ethno-cultural group are “mixed” into a larger community. Everyone to be recognized as one single thing instead of an individual. So should Canada be like America because we could be the main power house in the world like America. First let’s discuss the pros and cons of multiculturalism (cultural mosaic)  and assimilation (melting pot).

Multiculturalism:

Pros

  • people are more tolerant of other ethnics
  • Better for immigrants
  • people are allowed to practice their own culture
  • people are more likely to learn English
  • people feel welcomed
  • There is more recognition to minority groups
  • The ideas from diversity of view-points will strengthen the host country
  • A greater chance that the immigrants will fight for their host country
  • Attempts to create unity through difference
  • provides the public sense of free speech
  •  democratic
  • can help separate conflicting groups
  • economically beneficial to immigrants and the host country

Cons

  • people are not very unified
  • loss of culture of the host country
  • It highlights difference and can increase hate crimes
  • It is less successful because of having to do with problems of social cohesion, conflict, and even violence
  • encourages damaging claims to victim-hood
  • can cause the false mashing of identities

Assimilation:

Pros

  • people are more unified
  • already unified in time of crisis
  • increase standard of living
  • can provide indigenous peoples with skills to succeed
  • America demonstrates that assimilation can succeed

Cons

  • people are less tolerant of other ethnics
  • example of assimilation is with the First Nations
  • enforces English, which leads to rebellion
  • people are expected to shed their own culture
  • loss of many characteristics of absorbed group
  • forbids any formal governmental recognition being given to groups of different kinds

Click here for more opinions on this debate 

My Opinion:

I think that both multiculturalism and assimilation have their pros and cons. Though, I think Multiculturalism in better for Canada. Multiculturalism is better on the long run for Canada because there are so many benefits. Prior to the reasons above,  multiculturalism has created a great opportunity for immigrants and the people in Canada. With multiculturalism, the Canadian society is able to demonstrate more of their democracy. Everyone has the freedom to practice their own cultural belief and it is fair. We shouldn’t be deprived of our own culture and belief just because you come from some where else. Also being different from the majority is a good thing because you are able to have connections from different parts of the world which makes you in a case, more open-minded. Immigrants contribute to Canada culturally and economically and helps create a stronger nation. Some people would believe that immigrants may take us farther away from a unified Canada because they will come here and only socialize with those of their own origin without contributing anything,but these people need to know that  immigrants come to Canada for many reasons, one of them is to get away from the tragedies of their own so they will make an effort to become a Canadian and contribute to our society. I learned about the results of assimilation with the Aboriginal people and this has given me a negative view towards assimilation. I hope that Canada will no turn to assimilation. I also see what is happening in the United States, for example the Mexicans in US are rebelling against the government, speaking their own language instead of English.  Canada should concentrate more on developing a society that incorporates every culture with guidelines to finally unite all Canadians.Thus, these are the reasons why I think  multiculturalism is a better choice for Canada and I hope Canada stays multicultural.

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  1. I’m an American from the lower Midwest.

    This is a region that has more of a multicultural tradition similar to Canada. It originated from settlers coming from Quaker-founded Pennsylvania. The Quakers were pluralists, opposing both the assimilation models of New England and the South. The Midwest, for example, doesn’t have English only laws which is how ethnic islands survive in this region such as the Dutch-speaking Amish.

    Colin Woodard calls this region the Midands. His map shows how the migration pattern of the lower Midwest turned North into Canada. So, part of the Midlands exists in Canada which contributes to the multicultural tradition there. The Midlands is the only regional culture that so fully extends across the border of these two countries.

    There were many reasons Midwesterners headed to Canada. Many of them were German farmers looking for good soil. Some Midwestern farmers were agrarian socialists who decided Canada was a more tolerant place. In the earliest times, the Middle Colonies were filled with many loyalists, moderates and Quaker pacifists who were persecuted during the revolutionary war.

    The Midwest still has its multicultural tradition, but it has been a struggle to fight against nationalist assimilation. Because of the world wars, the one thriving German culture was decimated, although pockets of German-speaking communities persist.

  2. Observation from living in Canada as an outsider; no offence, I think assimilation has a misunderstanding. I don’t think multiculturism in what iv seen in Canada works. hence the grand daddy devide the French and English Canada; they want to splint off.

    As with Vancouver, lovely place though surprised that even my own ethnic Chinese group snubbed me and I do see n sense racism towards the dominat Chinese; which I really wasn’t too sure of what the ‘Canadian culture was until I moved out of Vancouver.

    I usually find complete multicultuism actually splinters the community and ppl tend to stereotype the races and clump together.

    Im an Asian Australian born n bred, parents from overseas assimilated n NO WE HAVNT LOST OUT CULTURAL IDENTITY N UNIFIES what it means to be Australian. come to my house n we take off our shores, eat Asian food, speak japaese, eat rice, noodles, Asian food, Asian decorations around, still do origami, mum teaches Japanese, mum wld serve u real Japanese tea not from the paket. She goes to a Japanese choir I whn in ausralia used to go to a pridomiatnly Asian church grp, the difference between Vancouver n Australia or assimilation vs multiculrism is in my grp we still Asian stuff; Asian food, topics ect, though we DONT EXCULDE non Asian ppl n hav asked wheter white or non Asian ppl wld feel comfortable in our grp; 2 of our grp members hav white pp as their husband / wife so their imput is important, Whilst in Canada mmulticuir,sm I was very surprised to see the complete ectent of multicurims too the point of my own Chinese race snubbed me and it squte common if u cant speak chinse to not bother following up or welcoming ppl.

    To me, assimilation unifies the community on shared vales. its like being on a work or community team; everyone has their personality; their own culture; though to be a smooth team, ppl still bring that, though shared values n goals bring the tteam together n shd be the dominat factor; without the shared values / goals the team splinters.

  3. Assimilation and multiculturalism aren’t opposing concepts. Humans are capable of having multiple identities, often overlapping.

    I’m an American. I’m a white person of European descent with large elements of northern European ancestry. I’m a Midwesterner. I’m a GenXer. I’m working class. I’m a lleft-liberal. I’m a city employee. I’m a union member. And I’m many other things as well.

    Or take the example of ‘Britains’. They are Europeans. They are English or Welsh or Scottish or Irish. They are Protestant or Catholic. And because of colonial imperialism, many others are labeled as ‘Britain’ as well.

    Or take a maybe even more diverse country like Spain with millennia of multicultural history. The Spanish people includes a ton of separate ethnic groups, many of which are independent communities. The Basque, for example, have been an unique culture for longer than Spain has existed as a country.

    In both Britain and Spain, this multiculturalism has existed for a very long time. For Britain in particular, its multiculturalism is inseparable from its colonial imperialism and international power. If multiculturalism hasn’t split Britain and Spain in these past centuries, there is no reason to expect it will in the coming centuries.

    Assimilation is made more powerful the greater the multiculturalism for the diversity forces a broader national identity that creates a stronger shared vision. The American Dream is the most powerful shared vision possibly in all of human history. It is so powerful for the reason it isn’t an ethnocentric vision. No nation has ever become great and powerful through ethnocentric isolationism.

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