Monday, August 08, 2005

Down With Multiculturalism

Johann Hari has written another excellent essay. In this one, he looks at multiculturalism in Britain:
I am the child of an immigrant myself, and I believe we should take more immigrants and refugees into Britain, not fewer. But it is increasingly clear that, forged with the best of intentions, multiculturalism has become a counter-productive way of welcoming people to our country. It promotes not a melting pot where we all mix together but a segregated society of sealed-off cultures, each sticking to its own.
We have been acting as though there is one thing called "Muslim culture", and elderly imams or enraged, misogynistic young men are its only voice. A few weeks ago, it was driven home to me how wrong this is. I wrote about how the best way to defeat jihadists was to empower Muslim women, and I was inundated with e-mails from Muslim women, many explaining how the logic of multiculturalism weakened their hand.
So to multiculturalists, we have to ask: which Muslim culture do you want to preserve? The jilbab-wearing culture of Shabinah and the mullahs, or the culture of the hundreds of Muslim girls who curse them? All immigrant communities are divided and diverse; it is a form of soft racism to assume they have One Culture that should be respected at all costs.

But multiculturalism binds the hands of those who want cultural change in immigrant communities by demanding tolerance and respect for reactionary traditions. At a time when there is a battle within British Islam whose outcome will affect us all, is it wise to continue like this?

It is not too late to unpick the dysfunctional logic of multiculturalism. We can actively promote dialogue, meeting-places and inter-breeding. No more funding of divisive faith schools. No more separate community centres.
Britain has the highest rate of mixed-race partnerships anywhere in the world, largely due to sexual relationships between white and black people in London. This - not multiculturalism - is the British tradition to promote. No more bland "tolerance": let's have rows and laughs and sex. Our future lies in this glorious mixing of races, not in separating them out and hermetically sealing them off in their own outdated "cultures".