HAS THE MULTICULTURALISM FAILED?

Multiculturalism is a word that describes the society where many different cultures live together. These cultures either lived in the present geography for a long time or had to migrate as a result of a crisis. If they have been living for a long time, they can often find an available position in society. But they have migrated later, and if the population of this migration is large, they have a high potential to be excluded from society, discrimination, and even racism. Another dimension is this; The adoption of another structure that is against the nature that the society is accustomed to has the potential to cause problems such as entering Islam from the Christian community.

Today’s conjuncture shows that uniculturalism is the choice of right ideologies in the political spectrum. Because there are ideas that protect society against external factors in the right antagonism such as nationalism and conservatism. To give an example to this situation; we can underline the rising right-wing in Europe. Countries ruled by nationalist-conservative governments such as Poland and Hungary are trying to provide cultural and historical unity in order to achieve national unity and national solidarity. This situation disturbs the minorities in these countries, communities that have not been able to gain cultural freedom such as gipsy issue in Hungary. [1]

The deteriorating Soviet housing complex on the left is home to many Roma (Hungary), while others, like this young boy, live in tiny shacks. (Photo by Emily L. Mahoney)

When we look at the government policies, it seems that the government could not convince its citizens to the multicultural structure. The announcement by the German chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010 that multiculturalism has failed proves this. However, it was previously attempted to create a multicultural Germany. [2] Looking at the latest surveys, 30 percent of citizens think that foreigners have invaded their country. When asked what caused this situation, it is claimed that immigrants resisted learning German and established their own neighborhoods in cities.[3] Former British Prime Minister David Cameron says there was a failure in this regard. According to him, different cultures do not live together. Every culture creates its own living area. He even claimed that Muslims cooperate with terrorist groups. Thereupon, the Muslim Council in England declared that “it is disappointing that the Muslim community is shown as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution.”[4] However, it was previously attempted to create a multicultural structure in the United Kingdom too.

An anti-Islam Pegida activist holds a picture of Merkel in a headscarf with the words ‘Mrs Merkel – here is the people’. Activists wants her to ban full-face veil in Germany. [Arno Burgi/EPA]

As seen above, multiculturalism has been tried but has not been successful in this regard. The citizens of the host country, as well as immigrants, have mistakes in this failure. Because while the host country wants to protect its culture against external factors, immigrants also want to live in new places where they can keep their culture alive. Regardless of the outcome, protecting national interests is a country’s first goal. States that cannot defend the interests of their own people cannot defend the interests of people belonging to another nation. Because problems such as economic problems, unemployment, and instability in such cases will be felt firstly in their citizens. Therefore, every country has to take responsibility for this event in possible migration crises. Otherwise, if more immigrants are found in a country, this could lead to a violation of human rights.


[1] https://odatv.com/cingeneler-de-ozerklik-icin-basvuruda-bulundu-0110171200.html

[2] https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2010/10/101017_merkel

[3] https://www.dw.com/tr/merkel-%C3%A7ok-k%C3%BClt%C3%BCrl%C3%BCl%C3%BCk-ba%C5%9Far%C4%B1s%C4%B1z/a-6120526

[4] https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2011/02/110207_cameron

Ömer Cihan Şan
Hacettepe University, Department of International Relations.
Posts created 1

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