“The concept of multiculturalism is difficult to make fit with a democratic society.”
Helmut Schmidt, Statesman
Advantages & Disadvantages of Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism (sometimes also referred to as ethnic pluralism) is a term that describes the presence and acceptance of many different minority cultures besides the main culture in a specific region.
Multiculturalism is present in many big cities and has many important advantages.
Yet, there are still some problems related to this concept.
In this article, the pros and cons of multiculturalism are discussed in detail.
Advantages of Multiculturalism
- Higher level of tolerance towards minorities
- Multiculturalism can lead to a more peaceful society
- We can learn from different cultures
- Life becomes more interesting with multiculturalism
- We can make connections with people from many different cultures
- Multiculturalism is an important part of a modern tolerant society
- Can help to lower prejudices towards certain cultures
- Multiculturalism may help to lower tensions in school
- Can give us a broader picture of reality
- Multiculturalism can provide us with a variety of different foods
- You can learn a new language in multicultural regions
- Can improve confidence levels of minorities
- Multiculturalism can also be beneficial for companies
- May foster technological progress
- Can improve the overall chances in the lives of many people
Higher level of tolerance towards minorities
One important advantage of multiculturalism is that it has the potential to increase the overall level of tolerance towards minorities in our society.
This is extremely important since minorities have been discriminated throughout history for a quite long time and we urgently have to solve this problem in order to significantly increase the quality of life of people who belong to those minority groups.
Through the promotion of multiculturalism, every one of us can make his or her contribution towards a more tolerant and open society, which is welcoming to all groups of minorities.
In turn, also the image of a region may greatly improve throughout the world since people from foreign countries will know that they are welcome.
In turn, it also becomes more likely that foreign companies will open branches in those regions.
Hence, multiculturalism can not only improve the level of tolerance towards minorities in our society, but it can also help in an economic context.
Multiculturalism can lead to a more peaceful society
If people become more tolerant towards minorities, chances are that the overall level of peace in society will increase as well.
It is quite sad but there are still many regions all over the world where minorities are still discriminated and many of them are even attacked in a verbal or even in a physical manner by the local population who doesn’t accept those minorities and their different ways of life.
Consequently, it is crucial to accept ethnic pluralism in our society in order to improve the living conditions of minorities and also to increase the overall level of peace in many regions all over the world.
We can learn from different cultures
People also often underestimate how much they could really learn from people with different cultural backgrounds.
We are often quite proud of our cultural values and social norms and think that they are superior to all other ways of life.
However, if you travel the world and talk to many different people, you will soon realize that many people in our society just have a one-sided attitude towards life and don’t realize that their cultural values are just one among many ways of life.
Yet, it is crucial that we understand that our culture is not superior at all compared to other cultures and that we should try to learn from other cultures in order to really broaden our horizons on how the world really works.
Therefore, having a mix of people with many different cultural backgrounds can be quite beneficial for society since people can get to know other cultural values and social norms and can grow in character.
Life becomes more interesting with multiculturalism
Another benefit of multiculturalism is that life will become much more interesting.
Many people in our society just have their standardized program from Monday to Friday, meaning that they wake up in the morning, make breakfast, go to work, come home late in the evening, eat, sleep and repeat.
However, this has nothing to do with what life really has to offer us.
This routine is just a robot-like way to spend your life.
With multiculturalism, you may be better able to realize all of this since people from different cultures will often not join this sort of lifestyle and may rather live their lives on their own terms.
Hence, multiculturalism can also help us to experience new lifestyles.
Moreover, in regions with a high level of ethnic pluralism, chances are that you will also be able to experience new hobbies.
There are sports out there which you will likely never have heard of. Yet, you may be surprised how interesting some of them really are.
Therefore, in general, multiculturalism can make our lives much more interesting and can also help us to overcome narrow social conditioning.
We can make connections with people from many different cultures
Ethnic pluralism can also help us to make connections with many people with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
This can be quite interesting since you can experience completely new ways of life.
For instance, if you visit a friend with a different ethnical background, chances are that the family life at his home will look different compared to what you are used to.
Experiencing those different ways of life is extremely beneficial since only if you see many different things, you will realize that what you have been told your whole life is just a one-sided picture of reality and that there is so much more out there to experience and to learn.
Moreover, if you are good friends will people from different ethnical backgrounds, you may even go on vacation with them to their home country.
This can also be a quite unique experience since you will have the chance to closely connect to foreign cultures, not only in your home country but also in other countries and will have the chance to really get to know how locals in other countries live their lives.
Multiculturalism is an important part of a modern tolerant society
In general, multiculturalism is just part of a modern and tolerant society.
Politicians often claim that they are so tolerant and want to accept everyone in our society, independent of his or her gender, race and so on.
However, the truth is that minorities are still discriminated against in many different countries all over the world and that their chances in life are much lower.
Therefore, if a country really wants to promote the equality of all people, it also has to accept the concept of multiculturalism.
Can help to lower prejudices towards certain cultures
Many people are still quite prejudiced and skeptical about people from different ethnical backgrounds.
This can be due to negative personal experiences in the past, but also due to a historical perspective.
However, most of those prejudices towards ethnical minorities are not true at all and multiculturalism can help to remove those prejudices in the long run.
If people get to know other people with different ethnicities and they talk to each other, chances are that they will be much more willing to accept those cultures and they will also realize that there is nothing wrong with different attitudes towards life as long as we all live together in a peaceful manner.
Therefore, multiculturalism can also be quite important in order to remove prejudices towards other cultures which may still be present in many countries all over the world.
Multiculturalism may help to lower tensions in school
Multiculturalism can also be important to lower the tensions in school.
In many countries all over the world, children from minorities still have a quite hard time in school since they are often bullied and not accepted by the rest of the class.
Hence, it is crucial that multiculturalism is promoted in schools and that teachers focus on this important topic.
In fact, teachers should take sufficient time to show students how important it is to interact with other students in a respectful manner, independent of the ethnic background students might have.
Consequently, through the promotion of multiculturalism in school, students will be more likely to accept each other.
Can give us a broader picture of reality
Another upside of ethnical pluralism is that this concept can also give us a broader picture of reality.
In fact, we are all biased in a certain cultural direction.
When we grow up, we are taught to behave in ways that are in line with local cultural values and social norms.
However, those social norms have nothing to do with an absolute truth regarding how we should live, they are just one of many different ways how people can live their lives.
This is quite important to realize.
Culture is not reality and if we really want to understand how the world works, we have to be exposed to a variety of different cultural attitudes so that we can learn and integrate all this knowledge.
Multiculturalism can provide us with a variety of different foods
Multiculturalism can also give us the opportunity to enjoy many different foods.
While there is nothing wrong with being proud of the local dishes a country has to offer, relying on just one culinary direction may become boring in the long run.
Thus, it can be quite interesting to try out new dishes from foreign countries.
Quite often, you will be surprised regarding how good those foods can really taste.
You may even get additional ideas about what to cook at home when you try restaurants that specialize in dishes from foreign countries from time to time.
You can learn a new language in multicultural regions
Also in case you are interested in learning new languages, multiculturalism can be quite beneficial for you.
If there is a high level of ethnic pluralism in a society, you will have it much easier to find a language buddy with whom you can practice a foreign language.
In turn, you will learn much faster compared to a state where you don’t have someone you can talk to in person.
Therefore, also from a learning perspective, multiculturalism can give you a real edge in various different ways.
Can improve confidence levels of minorities
People who belong to certain ethnical minorities often still have a hard time being accepted in many countries all over the world.
Quite often, those people live together in certain communities and don’t have too much contact with the majority of the local population since they fear to get attacked or to be discriminated in various other ways.
Hence, in order to improve the confidence levels of those people, it is crucial that the general public becomes more tolerant toward those minorities.
One way to achieve this is to promote multiculturalism so that the general public loses their fear and their prejudices towards minorities and accept them as valuable members of society.
Multiculturalism can also be beneficial for companies
Apart from the positive impact of multiculturalism on society as a whole, it can also benefit corporations all over the world.
There are many highly-skilled people who belong to certain minorities and in order to stay competitive in the long run, companies have to become more tolerant and open towards minorities so that people who belong to those minorities want to work for those companies.
May foster technological progress
Multiculturalism can also help to foster our global technological progress.
People from different cultures have different knowledge, strengths and weaknesses.
Hence, it is crucial to bring people from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds together so that they can share their knowledge with each other in order to speed up technological progress as much as possible.
Can improve the overall chances in the lives of many people
In general, multiculturalism can improve the overall chances in the lives of many people all over the world since it can contribute to a more open and tolerant society.
In turn, the problem of the discrimination of minorities can be lowered, which in turn will translate into a much higher quality of life for people who belong to these minorities.
Disadvantages of Ethnic Pluralism
- Tensions between people with different cultural backgrounds
- Some people have a hard time to integrate into society
- Language barrier as a big problem of multiculturalism
- Local population may be skeptical towards this concept
- People may fear to lose their identity with multiculturalism
- Multiculturalism may lead to radical movements
- Original local population may become extinct
- People may become frustrated
- Social tensions may increase
- Unemployment can be a problem
- Multiculturalism may lead to higher sovereign debt
Tensions between people with different cultural backgrounds
Apart from the many important advantages of multiculturalism, there are still some issues related to this concept.
For instance, one problem of multiculturalism is that it can lead to tensions between people with different cultural backgrounds.
While the majority of the local population is often quite tolerant and wants to coexist with people from other cultures in a peaceful manner, there are also some people out there who think that their way of life is the only valid one and that all other people should also follow the same lifestyle.
In turn, this attitude implies plenty of tensions between people with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which may turn into serious conflicts in the long run.
Some people have a hard time to integrate into society
Some people who come from foreign countries also have difficulties to integrate themselves into society.
If people move to another country, everything is new for them and it can take plenty of time until they assimilate themselves with the new conditions.
While many people are willing and integrate themselves over time, some migrants may not be willing to do so at all, which can lead to serious problems for your society.
Language barrier as a big problem of multiculturalism
Especially if people with different ethnical backgrounds don’t speak the language of the country they migrated to, chances are that those people will suffer from serious levels of social isolation.
Speaking the local language is crucial in order to find work and also to make friends over time.
In turn, if people don’t have sufficient knowledge of the local language and are also not willing to learn it, chances are that those people will never become valued members of society.
Local population may be skeptical towards this concept
In many regions of our planet, people are also still rather skeptical about the concept of multiculturalism.
Many people are proud of their own culture and are not willing to accept other cultural attitudes besides their own.
Therefore, in those regions, people with different cultural and social backgrounds may have a quite hard time since they may not be accepted by the general public, even though they might try their best to integrate themselves.
People may fear to lose their identity with multiculturalism
Many people also fear ethnic plurality since they think that they will lose their cultural identity sooner or later due to this concept.
While ethnic minorities bring new ways of life, this doesn’t mean that all traditions will be eroded.
It just means that there will be a variety of different cultural lifestyles to choose from, which actually is a good thing since if you have more options to choose from, chances are that you will be happier with your life in the long run.
Multiculturalism may lead to radical movements
One real danger of multiculturalism is that it can be misused for the spread of radical religious ideas.
In fact, in many countries all over the world, gurus and other spiritual or political leaders try to use multiculturalism for their purposes in order to spread radical ideas among the general public.
This can be a significant threat to our overall level of freedom and we should take great care that the spread of those radical ideas can be limited in order to prevent unpleasant consequences in the long run.
Original local population may become extinct
Opponents of multiculturalism also often claim that if we allow too much migration, the local race will become extinct in the near future.
While it is true that our genes will be altered over time, this should actually be considered to be a good thing since genetic variety is known to have many positive effects.
People may become frustrated
Multiculturalism can also increase the level of frustration of certain people.
Many people in our nowadays society feel lost since they do no longer have the skills that are needed to succeed in our current state of the world.
Those people are often quite frustrated and search for a scapegoat, which is often found in multiculturalism.
In fact, many people claim that they are not able to find a job since migrants steal those jobs from them.
However, this is quite flawed logic and those people should rather try to improve their skill level so that they can find work instead of blaming other ethical minorities for their misery.
Social tensions may increase
Another downside of multiculturalism is that the social tensions in society may increase as well.
If people get the impression that minorities are supported while the majority of the general public is neglected in terms of welfare and social benefits, chances are that people will become quite frustrated over time and that the social tensions in many regions all over the globe will increase significantly.
Unemployment can be a problem
In case too many unqualified people migrate to a country, chances are that the unemployment rate will also increase.
Many unqualified people will not be able to find a job, which can have serious adverse effects on an economy and for society as a whole.
Multiculturalism may lead to higher sovereign debt
If unemployment rates increase due to multiculturalism and an excessive level of migration, chances are that also sovereign debt will increase in those countries since more money has to be spent on welfare and other social subsidies.
In the worst case, this can even lead to sovereign debt in the long run.
Top 10 Multiculturalism Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Multiculturalism Pros||Multiculturalism Cons|
|Multiculturalism can help increase tolerance||Multiculturalism may lead to social tensions|
|May broaden our horizon on things||Different cultures may clash|
|Better chances for minorities||Integration difficulties|
|Multiculturalism can make life interesting||Language problems can be problematic|
|May be helpful to lower prejudices||Local population may be skeptical|
|Multiculturalism can help minorities||Multiculturalism may lead to radical movements|
|Can help to improve technological progress||Local population may become frustrated|
|May help to learn new languages||Higher potential unemployment rates|
|Ethnic pluralism may offer you new foods||Higher government expenses|
|Can improve overall chances in life||Protests against multiculturalism|
Should We Promote Multiculturalism?
As we have seen before, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of multiculturalism.
In my opinion, multiculturalism is part of a modern and tolerant society and we should encourage cultural diversity.
At the same time, we have to make sure that this framework is not misused by radical groups in order to ensure a peaceful society where we can learn from each other on a daily basis.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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