Multicultural Society

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 443
  • Published: March 25, 2005
Read full document
Text Preview
Multicultural Society.

The retrospective view of human history shows that it has always been a moving and mixing of peoples caused by different reasons. For centuries the intervention of cultures grew reciprocally. As a result of this process people now have mixed cultures and many intercultural conflicts. The United States is a great example of a pluralistic society made up of many different cultures and nationalities. It is a nation that is composed of people who came here from around the world. In the 20th century, after new immigration laws were enforced, two opposing trends became obvious: the one state that America is multicultural; the other claims that America is monoculture. Ishamel Reed, a popular and well-known African American literary figure, represents and strongly argues in favor of the first tendency. In his article, "America: The Multinational Society," written in 1988, he states that the time has come to review the old-fashioned concept of American culture as "Western Civilization" and to give it a new definition as multicultural. It seems even the tone of Reed's essay, happy and welcoming, supports the author's confidence in his point of view and celebrates "multiculturalism." Ishamel Reed describes mixing of cultures in the United States as "a cultural bouillabaisse". He confirms that America is mixed up of a lot of different ethnicities, and all of them feel free and comfortable living together, by referring to a number of episodes from everyday life. One of them, the exhibition of African and Afro-American paintings with mythological symbols and images in a local McDonald's restaurant show the blend of different ethnicities alongside with the blend of the ancient and the modern. In addition, the author gives us some personal examples, such as his traveling to Texas where, sitting in the plane, he heard the taped voice in two languages: English and Spanish. According to Reed, most of the breathtaking conflicts and disagreements between people of different backgrounds are created and encouraged by the media. They do not exist in real life.Many scholars still consider it as Western, which is incorrect, in Reed's opinion. He rejects the concept "Western civilization" itself. "Western civilization, then, becomes another confusing category," writes Reed. He proves that Western civilization has never been monolithic because it has a lot of borrowings from other cultures and even such notable and remarkable people as Beethoven, cubists, French paintings, and so on, were influenced by other cultures. To prove his argument, Ishamel Reed tells us of the Puritans. Puritanism is a culture that originated in the North Eastern part of America and, according to the concept of "Western Civilization," they are known to be our "founding fathers." The representatives of "Western Civilization" idealize these people as honest, hardworking, faithful, and moral people. Nevertheless, estimating the contributions of the Puritans to the establishing of a great industrial society, the author also shows us a different side of these people. He portrays them as mean and barbaric people who exterminated the native Indians and killed their own children for disobeying their parents. Describing the Puritans, Reed wants to show readers how the old definition for the American culture is nothing to be proud of and is based on a lie. On one hand, the Puritans contributed a lot to the establishing of a great Industrial society but, on the other hand, they did not recognize and excluded any other cultures by destroying them. Unfortunately, the same attitude continues in our days. That is why people need to realize that the concept of America being referred to as "Western Civilization", or "Civilization created by the people from Europe, as if Europe can be viewed in monolithic terms" is wrong, and can bring terrible consequences for people of different cultures.

The other author, Arthur M. Schlesinger...
tracking img