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Friday, October 7, 2016

First Video Script! ''Multiculturalism, Racism and Cultural Assimilation, Why the Extremes Fail''

First Video Script! ''Multiculturalism, Racism, and Cultural Assimilation, Why the extremes Fail.''

 [October 7th 2016] This is a script for a video I will make. Yes, you read that right! I'm starting my own youtube channel ( for realsies this time) ! I will post the link to the video right here:                                   

Hi everyone, my name's KeLvin... Well that was awkward. Ahem, so you probably heard of multiculturalism, right now both the left and the right are talking about it, and it seems to be rather divisive. The left generally praise it because it ''protect'' minorities, but others on the left criticise it for not doing it job properly. The right hate it, because it means having to tolerate others' cultures. I guess they don't really like the idea of eating with chopsticks. Or black people. Joking joking! I know this is just a stereotype of conservatives... And anyway some right folks do support the idea, for reasons I will come back to later. You see, it seems that on the matter of how we should handle the integration of immigrants' cultures, people tend to have radically, but oddly similar, points of views. It's either ''let's be super multicultural'' or ''Immigrants better convert to this culture or we'll kick their asses back to  where they came from''. Those extremes never appealed to me. Let's start with the obvious one, assimilation.

 Assimilation is simply when a culture proclaim itself as the best and want to impose itself, with force and/or coercion by the way, as the only acceptable culture that should be. There is countless examples of countries and empires that tried to assimilate others, but they always failed. The Romans thought they succeeded in making everyone same-y and organised, but they actually ended out taking from these cultures as much as they were forcefully giving their. They learned how great spices and silk can be, they learned about new weapons, new medecines, They also learned about opium... well, maybe they didn't only take the good parts, but they sure learned a lot about asian and african cultures, and it enriched their own culture. As for the Asians and Africans, they got a lot of great things from this forced exchange too! Well it wasn't forced at first, it only was for some regions but you get the point... They learned a lot about organisation, since the Romans were legendary bureaucrats. They learned about their technology, their philosophies and their arts, and so did the Romans with their cultures. The Romans tried to assimilate such a vast empire... it was destined to fail.

 Assimilation only work when you have the numerical advantage, and even then, the results are not what the supporters of this idea asked for. Even if we force linguistic and ethnic minorities to conform to a dominant culture by outlawing their languages and traditions, the process will have an effect on the dominant culture as well as the minorities' cultures. Remember that while assimilation might seems useful, for getting rid of barbaric ideas, forceful conversion is not desirable. We might find other cultures too barbaric, like Islamic countries, but when it concerns people outside of our countries, we can't force them to behave as we wish. We choose the rules on our grounds, and we respect others' cultures as long as they don't conflict  with laws and fundamental principles of the dominant culture. Not tolerating any difference is a staple of assimilation. Nazi Germany is another good example: a country that wished to obliterate every other culture, on it's own territory ( and also elsewhere, but that's imperialism, another story).  Convincing people to adopt elements of your culture is part of cultural exchanges. . Also, force isn't required to get rid of bad ideas, reason and support from the population may suffise. Europe ended slavery with relatively few casualties for example. Oh and the U.S ''melting pot'' system is also assimilationist by the way, it's just that there has been a strong multiculturalist influence these last few years. So, back on the topic of assimilation, The dominant culture always end up adopting elements of other cultures it citizens liked and enjoyed, and the assimilated minorities, even if their children don't speak their native language or practice as many traditions as their parents, they will still inherit elements from that now evolved culture. Yes I did say evolved, because cultures can't be destroyed, nor can they be created, like matter and energy, cultures can only transforms.  Did you know that most cultural elements, mainly philosophies and values, that we can see in Antiquity both in the West and the East are still the same nowadays? Cultures don't really dissapear or appear, they merely split into subcultures, merge together, or exchange elements from each other's and that lead me to multiculturalists, who also fail to understand that idea. 

Multiculturalism was created as the opposite idea of cultural assimilation: instead of forcing itself on other  cultures, the dominant one must protect minority cultures from it's own influence, while maintaining the ''purity'' of their own culture. Presented like this, I am sure you see where I am going with this. Multiculturalism might present itself as tolerant, but it's the ''let's segregate black people instead of enslaving them'' kind of tolerance. It is better than forcing them to assimilate, but it does  still hurt both parties. The mistake most people make is to assume culture is a finite, objective thing, like apples and oranges are both finite, objective fruits. They are correct to say they are different, but they don't view it with the right angle. To stay on the topic of fruits, cultures are more like juices than solid fruits: like juices, you can mix them to different degrees to get different results. The flavors created will be unique and different, not everyone will like the new flavors, there is always a risk of creating terrible flavors, but without taking the risk you'll never know which delicious cocktails you can make.

Multiculturalists think that by segregating cultures they will protect both the small and big ones, but this kind of thinking is on the same level as nationalists that believe immigrants will destroy their culture, it's a reasoning born of a false premisse, a non-sequitur. Those people, both on the left and on the right, believe that all cultures are unique and pure, like a beautiful orange, and that mixing cultures with other fruits, say a crispy apple, will always end up making a messy inedible puree. They always remind me of these people both black and white, that used to oppose interacial relationships because both wanted to maintain the ''purity'' of their races from the ''evil Negros/Neanderthals''. It's a point of view that is so relative and subjective that it is ultimately meaningless. What is black? What is white? Don't answer, it was a rethorical question, you see, depending on who you ask, you probably will get different answers. Not everyone use the same subjective criterias for ''blackness'', ''whiteness'' ''Americaness'' or ''Canadianess''. Some will say that black people must have  a skin at least this dark, or that if they are this pale, they are actually white, but some people might disagree, and say that no, that person is actually black. Those concepts can't be objective because they are highly relative. You are only black compared to what is white, the same way you can only be poor compared to what is rich or old compared to what is new. And since it's relative, it's also subjective, because everything you see you will inevitably see it in relation to you. People are poor when they make less than you, or you are poor when most make more than you. You use an old smartphone if everyone around you use a newer one, but it's as new as everyone else, if most people use a phone as old as yours. That's where culture is relative.

This is not to say that you can't argue with reason that some elements of a culture are better than others. Having freedom of speech or separating religion from state affairs is definitely a plus for a society, while eating with a fork or with chopsticks is rather trivial. Same thing can be said of fashion or gastronomy, there is no objective hierarchy for these, because there is nothing more subjective and relative than tastes and preferences. Though forks are more easy and practical to use than chopstick, that's for sure...  

Ultimately, what multiculturalists fail to realise, it's that by putting the pretty flowers in mason jars you will end up suffocating them, or making them withered because you didn't let the bees polinate them. Cultures thrives when they allow themselves to exchange and engage with each other's. By forcing everyone to adopt certain cultural elements with cultural assimilation, or by desperately trying to curb and discourage interacial  intercultural relationships, you hurt both cultures. Cultures can't be ''corrupted''  because, we, both as individuals and as a collective, decide what is our culture. There is no such thing as ''my culture'', a culture is an inherently shared social object, the same way there is no such thing as ''my race'' if you are the only human on Earth... There is only one race anyway, the human race.

So let's go on a small tangent about race here to illustrate how subjective culture really is. Ever saw ''the most black person in the world'' or ''the whitest person alive'' or even ''the most pure of dalmatians'' in the Guinness world records? You didn't, because a race is an arbitrary classification that we human use for quick references. We say that a dalmatian is a white and black dog that look like this (Image of a steretopical dalmatian is shown in the video at that time), but it isn't grounded in any objective logical reasonning. It's only a difference when we say it is.

Ever saw a stray cat or dog and tried to find out from which ''races'' it was made from? Why? Those racial traits were defined by us, genetically there is only one species of cats, of dogs and of humans. Those cultural classifications were made by us for us, and like everything that has a label, not just racial, we are tempted to compare it with other labels, and rank them from worst to best, with our subjective, and often personnal and emotional, criterias as a guide. Black people aren't genetically more prone to crime, nor are asian people naturally smarter or white people inherently bigoted. Why? Because there is no such thing as White, Black, Asian or even Latino people, there is just people. If Aliens looked at us, would they see multiple races or just humans with different skin colors? Or would they made up their own classifications, based on which cereals we eat in the morning?

Labels are what we want them to be.That's not to say that there is no difference ever within our own species. We still reproduce sexually, and biological gender differences have been observed. But even if science found that the stereotypes we created about each others' skin color or genders were partly or entirely reflected by our biology and not just the way our cultures evolved, should we act any differently? If studies found that men are more prone to violence, and even more if they are black from a genetic point of view, would we be justified in profiling people by gender and skin color? No. Many cities have banned pitbulls from their territory after some violent incidents happened, but they were unable to clearly define what even was a pitbull in the first place. Plus isn't it ironic to ban a ''race'' of dog that only exists because two centuries ago people were really into breeding weird looking dogs by basically making them inbreds? If you keep breeding neurologically more violent dogs to get a specific look, no wonder that particular breed seems to be the problem, while in reality, inbreeding was the real issue.

 In the same way, if you keep perpetuating and teaching that race is a real thing, may it be to reinforce stereotypes and prejudices, or to get rid of them, you may end up strengthening the belief in the concept of race, and by extension, of racism.  I know I am not racist, because I don't believe in races. When someone mention someone's skin color in a way that is not relevant to the conversation, that is almost all the time, I can't help but interrupt them and be perplexed: Why are you telling me that the cashier your story's about is white or black? Would you be as excited to share their hair color or their height for no reason?  I think that it's not just those who are open about being bigoted based on race that are reinforcing racism, but also those  who keep telling us that we must change our behavior for racially motivated reasons. You might think that granting privileges to those you deemed underprivileged or being racially biased in favor of those people helps them, but I think your good intentions are only stirring up racism, not stifling it. After all, if your solutions rely on the concept of race, how are they any better from the prejudices that used the same concept, but in the opposite direction? Your definition of race is no less subjective and susceptible to being used for bigotry as the one your opponents use. The first step towards racism, the ranking of races, is to have races. By tapping into the idea that races are a thing, you hurt the very same people you are trying to help...

 Back to cultures now. There are cultural differences, some of which may seems tied to a skin color, but it's by exchanging ideas, concepts, traditions, technologies,  arts and more that we are capable of achieving great feats such as space travel, international trade or connecting the world through the world wide web. We also ended the big slave trades, slavery is way less common than it used to be. We did it without segregating minorites cultures and without assimilating them or ourselves. That idea convinced millions of people by it's merits alone, it made it way by virtue of being a good, reasonable argument. You can try censoring bad ideas, or banning books like Mein Kamph or the Coran, but you are just making those ideas go silent, you didn't destroy them. Ideas can't be destroyed. By censoring or banning certain cultural objects, we only avoid confronting those unpleasant objects, instead of competing with better ones. Ideas should be fought with better ideas, not censorship and authoritarianism.

 Countries that try to protect their culture from the imaginary cultural  threat of immigration hurt themselves more than they hurt the immigrants, really. Countries like North Korea, Singapour, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar are prime examples of countries that try to protect an identity that never even was threatened, so they just hinder their own cultural evolution instead. It's natural to prefer your own culture, you know, that's called ethnocentrism, and it isn't a bad thing as long as you don't consider everyone else's cultural elements inferior to yours. China is opening up to cultural exchanges with the West, and it's policies loosened up on the economical and freedom levels now that it's less isolationist.

 Many europeans fear to lose the elements of their cultures they like to elements of muslims' cultures that they fear, such as how they view women and homosexuals, but the only way your cultures can change that way is if you accept those elements. Complacency is the real threat. After all, we share many cultural elements, but not necessarily all of them. The Italian Pizza is loved internationnally, so much that each culture took the concept in a new direction, making the pizza an even better meal than it was before, without ever really stealing it from those who came with the idea. On the other hand, not everyone like the idea of eating insects, that cultural element didn't catch on as well as Pizza for some reason, maybe it will later, who knows?

 The reality is, there is  no such thing as ''cultural appropriation'' because no one own a culture, nor is it tied to anything but the people. And as we saw before, despite the differences,we are all ''the people'' .You could make every american and chinese person on Earth switch place right now, and you wouldn't see much of a difference from a peoples' perspectives because they would bring their culture with them. Sure, your history is tied to a specific land, and maybe if you youself immigrated it wasn't the land your ancestors left as an heritage, but history and lands are just that:  an heritage. We are free to embrace that heritage or build our own for our descendants, in a new land if we personally wish so. Multiculturalists countries fail for the same reason as assimilationists, but in a bigger scale: by trying to make every culture stagnant  they all rot instead of just their own.

If you truly believe that immigration hurt Canadian or British cultures, it's probably because of multiculturalism. It creates ghettos and ethnic conflicts, it accentuates racism and xenophobia, instead of diminishing it as intended, which might had gave you the impression it's the immigrants' fault, while it's everyone's fault. A video by Rebel media inspired  me to make this video. I don't like the Rebel, just to be clear, they are like The Young Turks, Fox ''news'', and Buzzfeed to me: Biased ''journalism'' full to the brim with ideologues. But I do watch their videos, just to see what next crazyness they'll come up with, like how I watch Buzzfeed to see how more recycled and retarded their content can become. The video, by Lauren Southern, is saying multiculturalism is a failure for Canada and had worsened intercultural relationships in the country. However, despite everything I just said I couldn't agree with her, what she was describing didn't seems to be a reality I witnessed...

 Then I realized something, I'm a Quebecer, a French-Canadian, and Quebec being the quirky little blue ducky that it is, we do things differently here, and integration is one of those things. There was pressure from the other provinces and the federal government that we adopt the multiculturalist approach, but we resisted, mostly, instead we have interculturalism. Interculturalism is often confused for a disguised form of multiculturalism, but it really isn't.

 While multiculturalists might consider measures such as ''affirmative action'' or ''safe spaces'', interculturalists aren't eager to agree. Interculturalism is about cultural exchanges and growing in an unifying culture, an unifying identity, not a fragmented multiplied and divisive identity as it is the case with identity politics these days. Nor is it an isolationist concept, paranoid about the idea of ''losing'' one's culture. It's pretty laid back actually. One of the idea interculturalism share with multiculturalism for example, is ''reasonable accomodations'' which is a law that say that if there is something reasonnable you could do to accomodate people's cultural preferences, you should, well, you have to, try to accomodate those people, within reasonnable limits. Of course, with a strong push for multiculturalism , many accomodations are not as reasonable as they used to be, but that was to be expected. Those accomodations are for things like the right to wear facial hair because of your religion, or the right to pray in a public place without disturbing others. But these have limits. You can't , for example, ask to wear a knife on you at all times because you are a Sikh, or ask to interrupt a child classes for prayer, those are considered unreasonnable. The same way that muslim women are allowed to wear a hidjab in public if they wish, but not a niquab or a burqua, because those hide your face, which is against the law, especially in places such as airports. It's not just for religions though, accomodations can apply, if reasonnable, to vegans too for example.

The idea is that while we learn from other cultures, they learn form ours, and then both cultures progressively becomes our culture, instead of what is considered two separate entities. Those accomodations are here to normalise trivial differences mostly, not the fundamentals values and principles we have enscribed in our laws. It's all about compromises and taking the best of both cultures. We agree to try their gastronomy, they agree that women are men's equals, or that chopsticks might not be the best way to eat a salad. Like I said, we are free to give and take what we want, without imposing all of it. We have guidelines, with our constitutions and laws, and those represent the cornerstones of our cultures, the founding principles we don't want to change. For example, you can regulate gun ownership without banning guns, which for Americans would still ensure that the second amendment is respected. Remember, It's an Amendment, no need to keep things exactly as they used to be if  present day Americans want to change it.

 I found an interesting research paper on Interculturalism, which I will link to in the description (here it is for those who are reading this or  I want to read you a particularly telling paragraph: ''In keeping with these ideas [integration and diversity], interculturalism advocates a particular type of pluralism that I would define as integrationary. This is its third defining trait. A majority culture that feels threatened by its minorities will feel the need to either assimilate them (which predicts the end of duality) or to integrate them (the road that Quebec has thus far taken). It instinctively fears all kinds of fragmentation, ghettoization, or marginalization. This is even truer when this majority is a minority on the continental level, as is the case with francophone Quebec. This state of affairs becomes an imperative that frames the discussion on how to approach the intercultural reality of Quebec. It highlights the importance that must be given to the integration of minorities and immigrants in order to strengthen this francophonie and ensure its future. Measures that run counter to pluralism (such as those currently proposed by republican secularists) tend to increase the risk of marginalization and fragmentation—two phenomena precisely associated with multiculturalism that have contributed to its rejection. The central idea here is that francophone Quebec is itself in a difficult situation and must avoid fostering costly long-term divisions—it would do much better to create the allies it needs within immigrants and cultural minorities. All attempts at a general model must incorporate this basic concern''

  As you can see, it may share the idea that diversity is a good thing with multiculturalism but applies it very differently. I invite you to read this paper, it's great really. I could talk more on the topic, but I think it's enough for a first video, If you wish that I talk about culture or racism even more and deeper, please leave comments, like and subscribe, I guarrantee high quality writing from my part. Though I don't guarrante great editing, so I hope you don't mind if the graphics I  show you aren't very interesting, It's really more about what I have to say anyways. So thanks for watching and see you next time!-KeLvin

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