what are two different definitions for multiculturalism?

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The first way of looking at multiculturalism is that it is a method of valuing and facilitating the support of different cultures or ethnic minorities within a unified national community However, it is important not to presume that we should ‘preserve’ alternative cultures in some sort of mothballs. All the while the main culture is developing, the smaller ethnic cultures within our society are evolving too and hopefully there are government agencies monitoring and enhancing that change. As Joyce Appleby said:

 It is important to note that multiculturalism does not share the postmodernist stance. Its passions are political; its assumptions empirical; its conception of identities visceral. For it, there is no doubting that history is something that happened and that those happenings have left their mark within our collective consciousness. History for multiculturalists is not a succession of dissolving texts, but a tense tangle of past actions that have reshaped the landscape, distributed the nation's wealth, established boundaries, engendered prejudices, and unleashed energies.‘

This is important because there is another way of looking at multiculturalism that is not so enlightened or modern to its proponents. Their definition would be less liberal, less accommodating and (perhaps justifiably in cases of holocaust or genocide) more suspicious. You may want to think about the consequences of that for society, a society perhaps where multiculturalism is just tolerated, not celebrated. Where other cultures are allowed to work and be educated but only under strict provisos such as the registering of ID cards or learning citizenship or a native language. It would also be worth exploring how this would make its children and young people growing up under this version of multiculturalism feel.


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