“French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Thursday that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it.
‘My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure,’ he said in a television interview when asked about the policy which advocates that host societies welcome and foster distinct cultural and religious immigrant groups.
‘Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want… a society where communities coexist side by side.
‘If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France,” the right-wing president said.
‘The French national community cannot accept a change in its lifestyle, equality between men and women… freedom for little girls to go to school,’ he said.
‘We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him,’ Sarkozy said in the TFI channel show.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia’s ex-prime minister John Howard and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar have also recently said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants.
Merkel in October said efforts towards multiculturalism in Germany had ‘failed, totally.’
The prime minister, who took power in May 2010, argued that ‘under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.'”
The way these leaders described mult-culturalism sounds a bit like a less brutal form of state-mandated segregation since they “different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”
Now, they seem to indicate they will mandate an integration plan.
I am not a sociologist or anthropologist, but that doesn’t sound like it will work either. They sound a bit like Michael Scott on the The Office or Stephen Colbert when they insist the best way to handle a diverse world is by not seeing color at all.
Rather than a state-mandated strategy, what would happen if these highly conservative Europeans began to have Muslims or Nigerians over for dinner? What if they naturally reached out to connect with people from different cultures? What if loving, serving, and influencing those around us (no matter from what culture they came) became the norm? What if these government leaders found the pockets of society where diversity is working and highlight that?
The culture may become a bit more mixed with all sides influencing the others, but isn’t there something beautiful in that?
What solutions can you see working?