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The Interpretation of Multiculturalism From Different View Points and Opinions

Dana Warmack

Argosy University


In an effort to personally interpret the meanings and views behind the term

Multiculturalism this paper will express a personal definition of the word.

That view will be explained from keywords such as supportive, interpretation

and racial equality. The controversial debate between traditional and diverse

societal focuses will be discussed from the supporters side of the issue as well

as the opposing side, in attempt to reveal validity behind both perspectives.

A national sociological telephone research survey by Edgell P. and Tranby E. (2010),

will explore the views of optimist, critics and preservationist on societal issues.

In conclusion this paper will relate, left and right wing politics to three terms-

social functionalism, social conflict and symbolic interaction to further explain

concepts behind multicultural approaches.

Keywords: recognition, interpretation, support, immigration, right and left

wing politics

The Interpretation of Multiculturalism

From Different View Points and Opinions

Dana Warmack

Argosy University

Multiculturalism in simple terms is the recognition of cultural diversity in this country. Recognizing the existence of those who are fewer in number and of separate origin or decent. By personally understanding the concept behind multiculturalism and what it means to those who are of ethnic origin, and not of ethnicity may be a solution to the continuous debate on what our societal focus should be. By creating a personal definition of what the term means to each one of us, is a way to interpret the many other views towards diversity and equality. After understanding the meaning behind the perspective of multiculturalism, its necessary to reveal the controversy behind the debate of diversity vs tradition. There are three parts of a social perspective triangle that will assist in understanding the concept behind a social diverse society. The differences and similarities in the terms social functionalism, social conflict and symbolic interaction lead to an interpretation of the concept behind multicultural diversity and equality of all races.

Multiculturalism is a supportive interpretation towards racial equality of all races in the United States. It is the very idea that all men and women of all races are considered equal in this country (Macionis 2008, p. 26). When we support an idea we do it for several reasons. We either relate to the idea, or we care very much about something or someone the idea affects. Our sense of self and values allows us to be a strong advocate of our own personal troubles. So you would definitely support yourself in any matter. If a family member or friend needs support on an issue, this relationship makes it easier to be supportive of someone other than ourselves. You could even be supportive of a total stranger if your own values and ethics matched their struggle. Within my definition of multiculturalism,the term support in the meaning gives it purpose and action.

In order to be supportive of anyone or anything, we need to have an idea or an interpretation of what we are supporting. Its so important to have the right information before going to action on any side of an issue. Especially issues of race and equality. Two subjects that have stained this country since its beginning. Therefore its important to have accurate and appropriate information about an issue before we stand in favor of it. In terms of race and diversity, we need to be sure that we understand the principle behind being equal. Because a misinterpretation of this fact can lead to complicated misunderstandings. Within my definition of multiculturalism, the term interpretation in the meaning gives it ideal and perspective (dictionary.com, 2010).

The way in which we should live together in this country is a matter of perspective and opinion. Some U.S. citizens feel that each race should have its own segregated community-

workplaces, schools, stores and hospitals away from all other cultures, races and creeds. They feel the proper way to live is in segregation. They claim that all races and people are not created equal. Its hard to believe that there are people out there who still share these ideals, together as a community. They share this same opposing opinion and perspective on racial equality. Truly believing that their race is superior to all others. For what reason, there could be many. Possibly because of the history of slavery, and then oppression in this country (dictionary.com. 2010). Its hard to believe that someone could actually feel that things should have remained the way they were. Even physical appearance is a problem for some. There are people out there who actually think that because of skin color or hair texture, they have a right to superiority. The blood of Kings. Despite what is said in our countries declaration and other laws and doctrines, they actually believe their land has been invaded. And they have been wronged by the government. Calling themselves the original Americans. We all know that Native American Indians are the original inhabitants of this land, historically and scientifically.

Historically racist views are based on ignorance and generations of dis-functional value systems. Oh, and lets not forget about plain old hate. They misunderstand the benefits of racial equality and diversity, positive things that have already taken place. The benefit of diversity creates new ideas and understanding. An understanding of who we are as a people, and a human race. If racial inequality in this country still exist to this date in the 21st century. Then it could be hard to say when it will end. There is only one way I can see this country and the world coming together as one group, a group of racially equal species. And that will have to be when we are visited or confronted by a new and different species. A culture not of this global creation... Then we'll have a separate race to persecute and oppress. Within my definition of multiculturalism, racial equality in the meaning is the root of the matter (dictionary.com, 2010). Multiculturalism is a supportive interpretation towards racial equality of all races in the United States. It is the very idea that all men and women of all races are considered equal in this country (Macionis 2008, p. 26).

There are more than issues of equal race when it comes to the controversy that surrounds multiculturalism. What lies behind the controversy of diversity and tradition are issues that lie on both sides of the fence. For those who support the recognition of equality, their controversy centers around separatism and division. And for those who oppose, a loss of traditional values, income, job and or social status. It can't be said that everyone who opposes multicultural diversity is prejudice and hateful. Some are legitimately concerned about their economic futures and families traditional pasts. Many who oppose do not have a problem with every man being perceived and treated as equal. They greatly fear the loss of their financial and economic futures because of the open border and ease of immigration that has come with the idea of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is certainly controversial for non-white ethnic groups such as Black, Hispanic, Chinese, Indian and so forth for reasons that are apparent, these are cultural groups who have suffered the most in our history, and statistically they are the minority. For the majority of Caucasian-white non-Hispanic Americans of usually European decent, loss of tradition, economic standing and social status are reasons for their opposition and continued protest. With these things in mind multiculturalism can be viewed controversial from many sides of the issue.

The controversy for minority groups is a continuation of a long struggle that has lingered for so long in this nation, that many ethnic groups and people give up hope and turn towards division and separatism themselves. According to Macionis (2008), W.E.B. Dubois a pioneer in sociology grew bitter by the end of his life believing that little had changed in the racial divisions in this country (p. 24). Dubois died Aug 27, 1963 and his assumption that little has changed lives within the controversy surrounding multicultural affairs today, in 2010 (Answers.com, 2001). For those who oppose diversity and equal standing in some cases it could be a matter of a decrease in economic standing or wage. The opposition may have a strong case in their favor when it comes to the ease of immigration in places like Arizona. Where the majority of labor jobs go to Mexican workers who will accept minimum wage or lower pay for hard labor. The problem is now being discovered that most of these workers are not legally citizens of the U.S. Situations such as this illegal immigration and others shed a new light on a multicultural and diverse affairs in America. Will a multicultural America continue to allow equal opportunity or create numerical competition for those who want to make more than just low or minimum wages?

Competition in the workplaces, in social affairs and just about all other areas of life where the higher the working population, the more difficult it will be to get the job you want, or the house that you prefer, or even a social status that you desire. The controversy that surrounds multiculturalism carries some legitimate aspects on many sides of the issue.There is legitimacy in favor of those who oppose in light of the immigration problem that we have on the borders of Mexico. And the cheap labor and jobs that many of those immigrants render unavailable for other Americans that work in the same industry and live in the same area. Especially the construction and building industries. This continues to be a controversial issue because

Mexican Americans make up close to the majority of the population of some states like California and Texas. This Multicultural issue has many people of ethnic non-European decent turning sides on this issue. This creates more controversy for those who are in support of Multiculturalism. For example on subjects that center around Afrocentrism. When those strategies of correcting centuries of ignoring cultural achievements turns into that culture identifying with its own racial category, rather than other groups (Macionis 2008, p. 13 ). Sociologist believe that these complex issues will create a fear of even worse separatism and segregation, based on not only race but religion as well (Edgell P. and Tranby E., 2010). Recent research shows that Americans have different views on how they feel about each others struggle in societal equality.

In a recent nationally represented sociological telephone survey, over 2000 Americans were asked questions about ten other ethnic, religious and social groups. They were asked if these groups "shared their visions of America". According to Edgell P. and Tranby E. (2010), out of three patterns of responses subjects showed differences in social location, views of diversity and stereotypes (p. 1). As well as how much they understood about society. The three groups are 1. optimistic pluralists, 2. critics of multiculturalism 3. and cultural preservationists. Optimistic pluralists believe in diversity to the point of excluding religion. Critics of multiculturalism are worried about their lifestyle and the social and political changes that come with diversity. Cultural preservationists wish for moral order, shared values and the history of a Christian white culture. These three views are typical of the controversy of multiculturalism and diversity. In conclusion of the study sociologist referred to these findings as (culture wars), and desired more research on how Americans interpret social differences in society (Edgell P. and Tranby E., 2010). There are three similar angles that explain the approach to the concept and meaning of multiculturalism.

social functionalism symbolic interaction

social conflict

Social functionalism, social conflict and symbolic interaction are three sides to a social triangle that connect three different views equaling the concept of multiculturalism. Each of the three are perspectives, and each of the three represent a particular side of the whole idea of cultural diversity and equal standing. Social functionalism relates to the explanation of the term Left wing politics. Left wing politics in the united states represents human development and social change. As do left wing politicians. Leftist believe that class distinction will ultimately create a less than efficient society, right wing politicians support a class system (Ruypers John, 2005). The approach of these two political sides are examples of a social functionalist approach. The operation of all social patterns including class distinction, that create social consequences responsible for the operation of society as a whole (Macionis 2008, p. 15). When these politicians oppose each others views reacting everyday in meetings and forums to try and solve our social problems and create solutions through legislative voting. These interactions are examples of social conflict approaches in their arguments. Arguments that initially say social patterns benefit some in this country, and not others (Macionis 2008, p. 11). The interactions and meetings these politicians are involved in, including the voting, are an examples of the term symbolic interaction. The every day activity and lobbying of politicians is an example of a symbol that we relate to. What they do as politicians has meaning, and is recognized as a symbol to people of this country. Its the seeing and doing every day in these meetings that is an important part of the functioning of our society (Macionis 2008, p. 4 ).

Both political sides in this case view society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change. Both left wing and right wing politicians approach the subject of diversity in different ways that creates that conflict of inequality that needs to be changed.

Change is the goal of multiculturalism. Change to a new tradition of how we perceive, recognize and acknowledge each others differences. It is intended for us to have many physical differences on this planet. Not political ones. It is originally intended that this nation be a melting Pot. Cultural contributions and differences are reasons why we are so successful as a Nation. Multiculturalism is not just an interpretation of racial equality, it is a National Recognition of Success.

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