There are folks who believe that ‘multiculturalism is not a big deal’. They believe that multiculturalism is one of those things that can be safely ignored. These are usually folks who have fascist mindsets: folks who believe that their cultures are superior to others. Consequently, they believe that it is others who should be learning about their (supposedly ‘superior’) cultures, and that they have no business learning about other people’s (supposedly ‘inferior’) cultures. Anyone who has had the opportunity to teach a college-level multiculturalism class will surely have encountered these attitudes.
The truth of the matter is, however, in that it is very dangerous to ignore multiculturalism: both at the individual level and at the societal level.
At the societal level, you find that the societies that fail to fully appreciate multiculturalism run the risk of ending up being left behind in today’s globalized world.
At the individual level, you find that folks who fail to appreciate multiculturalism run the risk of ending up being unable to tap into some of the benefits available in today’s (globalized) world. Worse still, they run the risk of getting into trouble with the law, on account of hate crimes and other such things. This became clear to me recently, when I was looking for the picture of a certain individual in the MedfordOregon mugshots database. The said database has photos of the current Jackson County inmates. In the course of my search, I encountered a listing about an inmate who, from the look of things he is charged with, is probably motivated into crime by racial or religious hatred. And it bothered me to imagine that the fellow would probably be in less trouble if he had taken the trouble to develop multicultural appreciation. I felt sad for him. And then it occurred to me just how dangerous it can be to ignore multiculturalism in today’s world — where we more often than not have to live side by said with people whose ways of life may be different from ours.