Can Multiculturalism Really Reduce Prejudice?

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Can Multiculturalism Reduce Prejudice?
by _________________
Final Copy: 1-02-01

The term "multiculturalism" has recently come into usage to describe a society characterized by a diversity of cultures. Religion, language, customs, traditions, and values are some of the components of a culture, but more importantly culture is the lens through which one perceives and interprets the world. In the past several years there has been a growing trend towards multiculturalism in many areas of our society. Most of these trends are found on college and university campuses. I think this is likely due to a belief that the traditional Christian American values and views are unable to deal with the growing numbers of various ethnic minorities in our society. Phew, that was a mouth full. Although this trend would seem able to change society for the better, I believe that it has been and will be largely ineffective. It does, however, have some possible advantage over society's traditional view. The Contact Hypothesis states that "increasing contact between groups can in some circumstances decrease prejudice between them." It is possible that education about various cultural groups alone, could reduce prejudice similarly to actual contact; by increasing recognition of similarities, providing information that goes against the stereotypical grain, and breaking down the illusion of out-group homogeneity. It would likely do so less than contact. "Multiculturalism might be able to reduce prejudice without building the resentment, which sometimes occurs in contact. It is also possible that it could help encourage re-categorization. For the most part, however, it seems that multiculturalism will do little or nothing to get rid of prejudice and discrimination. Even assuming that multicultural education is nearly as effective as contact, it would not have much effect on society. Contact itself is only successful under certain circumstances."(D'Souza, D. 8) The weakness...
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