Sample Sociology Research Paper on The Impact of Multiculturalism on a Society

The Impact of Multiculturalism on a Society

Introduction

            The current study aims at identifying the positive and negative impacts that multiculturalism has on American society. The research topic is significant because it leads to the development of knowledge about multiculturalism which is spread across nations in the world. Presently, factors such as globalization have led to high migration of people from their countries of origin to other places. The interaction of people from diverse cultural backgrounds has both positive and negative implications that may affect the political, social and economic development of a given nation. Being one of the nations with high cultural diversity, the United States is the best nation to use in the study. The study is justified by the fact that it will help in developing useful information about the relationship between the American communities and the immigrants. The knowledge can be used to develop national policies on immigration. To ensure high accuracy and relevance of the study, data will be collected from credible academic references which include periodicals, journals and online books. The credibility of the resources is guaranteed. Among the factors that justify the credibility of the resources include their currency, which is an indication that the information contained reflects both the past and the current trends of multiculturalism. The coverage of the topic on multiculturalism is the other aspect that indicates the credulity of the resources. Additionally, all the authors in the resources have the authority to write about multiculturalism based on their academic qualifications and professional experience.

Literature review

            This section discusses the concept of multiculturalism in detail, by identifying the effects it has on the society.  The link between multiculturalism and identity is described, both in the national and ethnic contexts. The view of multiculturalism in the world and in the United States of America is also described to enhance a better understanding of the concept.

Multiculturalism and identity

            The term identity refers to the features, personalities or qualities that are used to categorize human beings into distinct groups. The groups are united by their identity as they are able to identify the members who belong to their category.  Among the features that are used to categorize individuals into varying categories is ethnicity, which implies that they share cultural values and beliefs.  Nationality is the other aspect that is used to define one’s identity in a multicultural society. The ethnic and national groups created have both positive and negative consequences on the individuals. Based on the identity, the ethnic and national identities can be used as a basis for unity where individuals join efforts for a common course. On the other hand, the ethnic and national identities can be used to discriminate against individuals.   

Multiculturalism in the World

            According to Taylor‐Gooby & Waite (2014), the concept of multiculturalism refers to the perception that every ethnic community commands equal respect in a given society. The authors contrast multiculturalism with other concepts such as individualism and discrimination, arguing that it supports equality, liberty and unity. However, the authors cite that convincing the society to embrace the concept of multiculturalism is not an easy task. The high ethnocentrism in the society makes it difficult for individuals to understand that every member of the society is equal regardless of their cultural background. In the European Union, multiculturalism is among the primary issues affecting its economic development as indicated by the crisis of the immigrants. Plaut, Thomas & Goren(2009), explain that the primary reason that has limited multiculturalism in many parts of the world is poor integration of the immigrants which makes it difficult for the population to interact well with the rest of the citizens. Further, the authors argue that multiculturalism has undermined unity in nations where national identity is defined by ethnicity.

            Countries that have embraced multiculturalism benefit greatly as they are able to meet national objectives through the diverse capability of the residents. Among the countries that have experienced positive impacts of multiculturalism is South Korea, where the concept is associated with modernity. Every ethnic community living in the country is respected and treated equally with the others (Banks et al., 2001). Canada is the other nation that embraces multiculturalism, associating it with national identity. People from varying cultural backgrounds residing in the country can identify with the rest of the population as multiculturalism is highly valued. The French and English speaking communities relate well with each other and none is viewed as more important than the other. However, there are countries that are yet to embrace multiculturalism such as Mauritius where individuals are discriminated on the basis of ethnicity and religious background.The concept of multiculturalism is also undermined in European nations such as Denmark and Netherlands, affecting the interaction of immigrants with the Europeans.

Multiculturalism in the United States

            Due to the high number of immigrants in the country, the United States is considered as one of the nations likely to be greatly affected by multiculturalism. The immigrants who reside in the country have varying cultural backgrounds that may affect the country’s development agenda positively or negatively. Multiculturalism in the country is limited across income, ethnicity and religious backgrounds where the minority groups in the society are discriminated against. The aspirations of the immigrants in the country are adversely affected by lack of favorable career opportunities for them. The process of applying for citizenship in the country is also complex for the immigrants and this denies them equal chance to benefit from the country’s resources (Wilson, 2014).

             To fit in the society, most of the immigrants are forced to adopt the American culture. For example, the Spanish-speakers are forced to learn English to improve their chances of employment, as well as interacting with the English-speakers who are the majority.For the nation to achieve the desired political, social and economic goals there is a need to embrace multiculturalism. The country can take advantage of multiculturalism to enhance social inclusion that has a positive impact on the quality of manpower attracted to the country. This has a positive economic impact on the country. The failure to embrace multiculturalism has adverse impacts on the development of the society. The following are the positive and negative impacts of multiculturalism in the society, which are likely to affect the social, economic and political welfare of the American society.

            People talk about praising or condemning multiculturalism. In my own opinion, it is a very big mistake to condemn multiculturalism generally, just as it is a mistake to praise it generally (Hage, 2012). We should rather concentrate on the forms of embracing, tolerating, and accommodating the diverse cultural values and good behaviors for Americans.

Positive Aspects of Multiculturalism

            America has always been and will forever be a multicultural society. The country is so good than any other nation due to the values that are shared by its people which defines our national identity. The nation has people from diverse ethnic backgrounds who have come together to form a one nation. Majority of people (and not just the migrants) they do not believe in giving up their traditional heritage or assimilate from where they came from just for the sake of becoming “American”. The immigrants are familiar with the hardship in their home countries thus commits themselves in working hard for this nation. They also have strong family values especially those different regions of Latin America.

  • Promotes cultural exchange

            Multiculturalism promotes an exchange of culture and views thus enriching individuals as new conducts and new approaches to the way of doing things (Banks, et al, 2001). The new approaches help the individuals to open up their minds and change their way of doing things positively. Multiculturalism teaches individuals on how to respect the culture of others and understand their religion. This understanding leads to tolerating each other culture. It helps people to interact with each other thus promoting peace, development as well as enhancing economic growth. Most people in America embrace the inclusion of every religion, ethnicity and race in our society. Though, this has not always been the case. In 1994, 63% of Americans saw immigrants as a burden. According to a recent research 59% says that they are assets (Plaut, Thomas & Goren, 2009). Young people pronounce the shift even more since 76%of them view immigrants positively.

  • Development of new skills

            Multiculturalism in the society enables individuals to learn new skills because of interacting with people of diverse communities. Considering why America became a superpower, we will give credit to multiculturalism. The philosophy of constitution of United States was based strictly on separation of religion from state affairs, liberty and freedom. This made people of diverse faith to make the nation their home with no fear. The opportunity also attracted skilled and talented personnel from the whole world to migrate to the country to help in pursuing “American Dream” (Plaut, Thomas & Goren, 2009). All the immigrants and the citizens of the nation unleash a synergy that was positive for the benefit of the whole society.

                        Studying other people’s ways of doing things has a positive influence in our minds. For example, learning a language from another community always enriches our knowledge (Banks et al, 2001). We familiarize with similar vocabulary and grammar structures. However, we don’t have to neglect our own culture. Multiculturalism is used by the Americans in searching the truth. Diversity in religion and federalism often give a broad range of alternatives- both governmental and ideological which then compete with each other (Hage, 2012). Multiculturalism also acts as a source of citizens who are of value to our nation. Immigration has brought in some skilled and talented workforce who has helped in increasing production in our industries which in turn leads to economic growth thus improving the living standards of Americans.

Negative Aspects of Multiculturalism

  1. Division based on ethnicity

            In United States, the issue of multiculturalism in the society has been ignored largely. The issue has either been misunderstood or inappropriately represented for a period of time, perhaps both. We have allowed those within and outside our country to convince us that diversity is something to smile about. To some extent, encouraging multiculturalism is appropriate and correct position for adoption by Americans. It is detrimental in the situation where multiculturalism causes division. Division sets in when a certain group resist to be part of the local culture, for instance, demanding to be recognized on their own (Banks et al, 2001). Such practices cause isolation in the community and separate individuals into different distinct groups. The isolation is bad to the economy of a country since it hinders development and serves as an obstacle in sustaining national bonds and common goals.

  • Encourages fanaticism

                        Politicians always create divisions and conflicts in a multi-cultural society because of practicing ethnic and racial politics with an objective of obtaining votes. Another factor which creates conflicts related to multiculturalism is fanaticism (Hage, 2012). It encourages people to become racists thus leading to misunderstanding and intolerance. Sometimes individuals of some religions are stereotyped by certain communities which may lead to violence between two or more cultures.

  • Limits the capability of the society

            Intolerance within a community brings limitations to the society. Differences in culture are the main cause of violence between communities. Society becomes rebellious or violent in trying to “claim back” their lost rights. The violence can bring a disastrous setback to the society and the country at large (Plaut, Thomas & Goren, 2009). There is a necessity for us to recognize the problems that we bring to ourselves when we allow multiculturalism to dominate in our midst. We don’t have to allow multiculturalism to segregate our country thus we change the current attitude we have on multiculturalism.

  • Lack of national identity

                        There are several attributes that differentiate one nation to another. Some of the attributes define our nation as a unique group with distinct individuals, thus determining our nationality and establishing our identity internationally (Banks et al, 2001). If measures are not taken, multiculturalism will lead to a loss of our culture that makes our nation to be a distinct and a separate entity from other countries in the globe. The diversity that is brought by multiculturalism is a clear invasion of the economic growth of our nation.

                        Immigrants of the modern today are trying to bring their ways and culture in this great nation. Thus, they have to transfer their allegiance to their new home, America. The migrants who attempt to impose their ways of living and their culture upon their neighbors fail to achieve their main objective when they were migrating. Some of them try to bring in their failed cultures which make them to restructure America to be identical like their home country that failed them and from which they are trying to flee themselves from.

                        Some of the cultures we have may teach their members to prey on insiders while others may teach their members to prey on outsiders (Hage, 2012). If the culture is tolerated, it may be beneficial to some members at the expense of others. Some immigrants thus can be harmful to our nation rather than becoming assets. In connection to that, we ought to calibrate our tolerance to multiculturalism in order to support our culture and to avoid being misled by others. Abraham Lincoln, a former president of America, said that a divided nation cannot stand. He added that multiculturalism divides the nation thus weaken it. We must identify the dangers of diversity and rectify our mistakes as a nation in order to embrace development. The leadership of the country, starting with the president, must take each and every measure to discourage multiculturalism to avoid destroying the great America.

                        United States has been a catalyst change all along. The nation, from the time it was founded, has witnessed new entrants from diverse communities more than any other country in the globe. Immigrants come to America due to the effects of economy, war, diseases among other factors which make them to feel they want to be part of this nation. The migrants have brought in diverse cultures thus influencing the American family in different patterns. We should not deny or ignore the norm of multiculturalism. The arrival of various communities with diverse cultures has changed many areas.

Conclusion

            It is evident that multiculturalism has both positive and negative effects in the community. The positive benefits of multiculturalism outweigh the adverse impacts, implying that the government should aim at promoting multiculturalism among the residents. Among the concepts that should be observed include cultural maintenance, which implies preserving the language and other aspects of culture in a given community. The society needs to be sensitized on the importance of embracing cultural diversity instead of trying to assimilate individuals to conform to the culture of majority people in the community (Sleeter, 2011). It is important for communities to learn about cultural acceptance. For nations to compete with the others favorably, they must embrace multiculturalism and reap the benefits of the concept. In the present world, the interaction of people is inevitable thus making it important to ensure that the interactions promote peace and unity. The education sector is among the players that have a responsibility of ensuring that individuals in the society respect cultural diversity. The curriculum should emphasize on lessons about cultural diversity and social inclusion to ensure that students learn the importance of respecting their differences with other people for harmonious co-existence. The religious organizations also have a primary role to play in promoting multiculturalism in the United States. Any other organizations that have the capacity to influence the actions of the society such as human rights activists also play an important role in enhancing multiculturalism in the United States.

References

Banks, J. A., Cookson, P., Gay, G., Hawley, W. D., Irvine, J. J., Nieto, S., … & Stephan, W. G.    (2001). Diversity within unity: Essential principles for teaching and learning in a        multicultural society. The Phi Delta Kappan83(3), 196-203.

Hage, G. (2012). White nation: Fantasies of white supremacy in a multicultural society.      Routledge.

Plaut, V. C., Thomas, K. M., & Goren, M. J. (2009). Is multiculturalism or color blindness better for minorities?. Psychological Science20(4), 444-446.

Sleeter, C. E. (2011). Keepers of the American dream: A study of staff development and     multicultural education (Vol. 121). Routledge.

Taylor‐Gooby, P., & Waite, E. (2014). Toward a more pragmatic multiculturalism? How the UK policy community sees the future of ethnic diversity policies. Governance27(2), 267-            289.

Wilson, H. F. (2014). Multicultural learning: parent encounters with difference in a Birmingham   primary school. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers39(1), 102-114