‘Multiculturalism’ – uses and abuses of a modern cliche

‘Multiculturalism’ –

uses and abuses of a modern cliché

A.R. KNEEN deconstructs a much misunderstood term


We are all familiar with the term ‘multiculturalism’. This word[i] is used by many, including by those with power, authority and expertise – such as politicians, educators, judges and journalists. It is a term frequently imbued with positive emotions and imagery. ‘Multiculturalism’ is so desirable to some that it is held as an aim – this reportedly included the British government[ii]. In Canada ‘multiculturalism’ is the law, as legislation has been enacted to preserve and enhance it[iii]. The BBC allegedly ‘believes in it and promotes it’[iv]. International bodies (such as the United Nations) use the term, sometimes referring to occasions in which ‘multiculturalism’ is not sufficiently promoted[v]. In many contexts being opposed to ‘multiculturalism’ can be held against people[vi]. Judges use the term in court[vii] – and in a positive manner, sometimes referring to it as a ‘value’[viii]. In fact, some people consider ‘multiculturalism’ so positive[ix] that they stand on the streets with signs stating ‘celebrate multiculturalism’[x], and there are even monuments constructed to it[xi].

The term is used in discourse on immigration and immigration-related phenomena and has been used to discuss, justify, mandate, celebrate and explain massive changes in millions of people’s lives. But what does it actually mean?

The meaning of ‘multiculturalism’ from a rational perspective will now be investigated. From such a perspective, the meaning of a term is its definition. A term is a symbol that signifies a phenomenon, and that phenomenon is described by the definition of the term. Hence, to examine the meaning of ‘multiculturalism’ from a rational perspective one must analyse its definition.

There are many ways of discovering the definition of a term: checking dictionaries and glossaries, reading the relevant literature, examining the definitions as given by public figures; etc. When these exercises are performed one finds that there are many different definitions of ‘multiculturalism’[xii]. The author has analysed these definitions alongside those given in interviews[xiii] – interviews conducted by the author with MPs, parliamentary candidates, local councillors, various government officials[xiv] and members of the public[xv].

The seven elements of multiculturalism

This analysis shows there to be seven main elements of the definitions that are available – plus the descriptive definition[xvi].

1.       All groups practising their own culture

2.       All the same

3.       Celebration of diversity

4.       Everyone living happily together

5.       Equality

6.       ‘Anti-racism’

7.       Cultural relativism

These elements are found to be given either alone or in combination[xvii]. These headings group similar definitional elements together[xviii]. This list covers the most frequently found elements but other definitions and definitional elements exist; for example Lord Parekh[xix] notes that the term is used in two senses which he term: the ‘relativist’ definition (Element Seven); and also what he refers to as the ‘interactive, dialogical or pluralist’ one[xx] – Parekh summarises this definition by stating that ‘[multiculturalism] is basically a celebration and philosophical justification of multicultural society’ (Parekh, 2007, page 131, ibid). Hence, this list is non-exhaustive but largely covers the currently[xxi] most frequently found definitional elements.

Of course, the fact of multiple meanings in itself is problematic from a rational perspective, but it will also be shown below that each of these seven meanings is problematic in itself and/or in the context of descriptive ‘multiculturalism’.

Element One – Can all groups really ‘do their own thing’?

This definition[xxii] was the most frequently given definition during interviews with the public[xxiii] [xxiv]. However, the idea of all cultures practising their own culture within one space is not possible to achieve in practice[xxv].

The features of a culture can be conceptualized as being described by ‘rules’ (explicit or implicit)[xxvi]. Such ‘rules’ might be in the form of laws, religious or otherwise in nature – others are informal and of the form of habits or traditions[xxvii]. Only one set of such ‘rules’ can describe a culture which means that if there is a difference (s) between any such sets, then all rule-sets cannot describe the culture of an area. This presents the one set of rules dilemma.

To demonstrate this logical fact with a hypothetical example, one could imagine a city inhabited by an indigenous group who paint their buildings pink. An immigrant group who live in blue-painted cities moves in[xxviii]. The view of the city cannot be simultaneously all pink and all blue – someone’s culture is altered in this respect (if not everyone’s)[xxix].

This can also pertain to all the ways in which culture can be described and/or classified. A group of people does not remain the same when there are other people there – the appearance might be different, the atmosphere different, etc. Many believe that aspects of culture that are not directly people-based are related to the people, and hence a different make-up of people alters these other aspects of culture[xxx]. Although the topic of race is controversial and causes much fear, to many it is this aspect of culture to which the term ‘multiculturalism’ primarily refers[xxxi][xxxii]

This dilemma can also be seen in relation to the rules of governance, presenting such an area with the one set of rules governance dilemma[xxxiii]. This pertains to any rule of governance (proscriptive or prescriptive), e.g. may women drive on the roads or not?

Although the idea of all groups practising their own cultures within one geographical space is unachievable, it is sometimes found that groups separate and, to a large extent, practise their own cultures within separate areas (of a city or a country, etc.[xxxiv]). However, such separation in close proximity is frequently problematic. Why would a government facilitate such a separation? Is this not in itself creating problems – and ultimately viewable as giving away parts of one’s territory?

Even in cases in which the splitting of tangible space occurs to a significant extent, there are still areas of tangible space that are shared, e.g. government administration buildings, hospitals, educational buildings, etc.[xxxv]. Even were all such buildings to be separate, there would still be some shared areas such as public roads, train stations, airports, etc.[xxxvi] Again, the impossibility of any area of tangible space being representative of all cultures is present. For example, what sounds are to be heard across public roads? Is the Muslim call to prayer to be heard[xxxvii]? Are women to be allowed on such roads at night[xxxviii]?

A parallel issue is found in relation to shared intangible space[xxxix]. The Danish cartoon affair illustrated that the media (occupying intangible public space) can only be described and governed by one set of rules. The media either published the cartoons or not. Either way, some groups did not have their cultural beliefs followed. Various government decisions and actions, such as foreign policy, can also be viewed as occupying intangible public space – as can certain symbols and figureheads of a country[xl].

Hence, Element One describes a situation that cannot be achieved: ‘multiculturalism’, defined as ‘all groups practising their own culture’, is simply inconsistent with mass immigration[xli]. When groups share space, then the preservation of one culture occurs at the expense of another[xlii] – and in some cases aspects of all relevant cultures will be lost – meaning that the rationale of preservation of culture is invalid[xliii].

It is hence not rational to use this element to define the term ‘multiculturalism’[xliv] – this is true whether the term is used as a political aim/policy, a value, a description, or otherwise.

Element Two – Are we really ‘all the same’?

Element Two states that ‘we are all the same’. This is found to form a constituent part of many definitions of the term ‘multiculturalism’, either implicitly or explicitly. Sometimes a general sameness is stated, (e.g. ‘everyone’s the same’) and sometimes a more specific form of sameness is claimed, (e.g. ‘we all want the same thing’)[xlv].

But the idea that we are all the same is simply untrue – both in respect of individuals and in respect of groups[xlvi]. This element is also inconsistent with other elements, e.g. Element One implies difference[xlvii]. The discourse on this topic shows many inconsistencies in relation to the idea of sameness. For example, the claim that ‘race does not exist’ is refuted by the numerous references to race – these include the very fact of distinguishing people by race, (e.g. for statistics whether these are used for quotas or otherwise[xlviii]).

To define such a term with an untruth is problematic[xlix]. It is also problematic to use various tautologies such as ‘people are all people’ to define a policy, aim, etc.[l] – and these are sometimes used rhetorically to disingenuously obscure differences and other phenomena[li].

Hence, this element is untrue and it is problematic to use it to define the term ‘multiculturalism’[lii].

Element Three – Celebration – or over-compensation?

Element Three can be found in many definitions of the term ‘multiculturalism’, e.g. in dictionaries[liii]. Not only is this element present in the definitions, but also in the general culture[liv] and the literature – including government reports[lv].

Element Three – celebration of diversity – does not describe general reality. Diversity (as brought by immigration[lvi]) in fact tends to make people less happy and, despite frequent claims to the contrary, tends to bring many harms the people or society experiencing it. Studies show diversity causes people to be less trusting, less willing to sacrifice for others, less secure, less mentally healthy, and is also associated with lower levels of social capital[lvii].

Diversity is a factor that brings tensions – these detrimental to people[lviii]. Such tensions are expressed in various forms of rivalry and inter-group problems – including many issues in Britain’s diverse schools[lix]. In certain contexts such diversity leads to civil unrest (as in Britain in 2001[lx], etc.) and even civil war[lxi].

Diversity is inconsistent with various other definition of ‘multiculturalism’, e.g. that we are all the same (Element Two), that culture is preserved (Element One[lxii]), etc. Also, various phenomena that are considered as desirable by many are problematic to achieve with diversity – such as solidarity/fraternity and some forms of ‘equality’[lxiii], (e.g. before the law[lxiv]).

It would be inconsistent to celebrate all diversity (this could involve celebrating uniformity if practised by a group), and amoral by definition. This would also entail celebrating any practice known to man – including child sacrifice, slavery, rape, etc.[lxv] (see Press, 2007, page 17[lxvi]).

In an inversionist manner, the diversity of immigration tends towards uniformity – and this is hence inconsistent (in the context of immigration[lxvii]). This contradiction has prompted some[lxviii] to say that ‘multiculturalism’ is ‘the anti-thesis’ of what is presented as meaning, thereby making it a form of Orwellian ‘doublethink’. This tendency to uniformity is incidentally noted by Chomsky, who views globalization as tending to reduce people to “interchangeable cogs”, without differences of race or culture[lxix].

Not everyone celebrates diversity – e.g. one senior lecturer at SPRU, Sussex University, rejects celebrating diversity (see Hasan, 2010[lxx], e.g. page 245) preferring instead ‘creolisation’.

Hence, such ‘celebration’ is inconsistent, immoral, rarely found in real life[lxxi], irrational in light of the problems it brings[lxxii] – and also the diversity brought by immigration tends to uniformity. These facts present problems, from a rational perspective, in using this element to define the term ‘multiculturalism’.

Element Four – Is everyone happy together?

Element Four was given in definitions in the form of ‘happily’[lxxiii], and sometimes in other forms that used adjectives that had similar positive effect[lxxiv] – such as ‘peacefully’ or ‘harmoniously’. Element Four can be seen in some experts’ definitions of ‘multiculturalism’ – in which the term is defined as diverse groups ‘happily coexisting’, etc. Element Four is also found in some of the glossary and dictionary definitions[lxxv].

However, in the real world it is found that diverse people[lxxvi] do not generally live together happily – and this is hence untrue as a description. As documented by Taylor[lxxvii] with numerous real-life examples, people generally prefer to separate and will do so when feasible[lxxviii]. There is significant segregation in Britain – this is noted by many commentators[lxxix]. When people are mixed together, this tends to decrease happiness and many other measures of well-being (as noted above). Different groups living together increases the chances of civil disorder or even war (also noted above).

Most people do not in fact believe that ‘everyone lives happily together’; quite the contrary[lxxx]. The desire to ‘live amongst one’s own kind’ is reported to and by governments[lxxxi] around the world[lxxxii]. All ‘cohesion teams’[lxxxiii] and other lavishly-funded bodies admit, albeit by implication, that such mixing is potentially problematic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly noted:

“Of course the tendency had been to say, ‘let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other’. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly”[lxxxiv]

Some believe that the problems that arise from ethnic diversity are best resolved by the achievement of homogeneity[lxxxv] through intermarriage[lxxxvi] (hence refuting Element Four[lxxxvii]) – one frequently hears calls for all races to end/mix into one ‘coffee-coloured race’ as a proposed end to conflict/tension/problems. There are a number of influential people in politics, academia and the media who explicitly call for miscegenation as a solution, (e.g. Podhoretz ibid).

But if the problems of mixing ethnic/racial groups within one country are so severe and intractable that the best solution involves the ending of the relevant groups[lxxxviii] (or at least the indigenous group[lxxxix]), this calls into question both the attainability and the descriptive accuracy[xc] of this idea of  ‘everyone living happily together’.

Hence, this element is neither a rational description nor an easily achievable political policy. The moral justification in attempting to achieve this situation[xci] is not clear in light of the harms caused[xcii] – especially if this involves destruction of groups[xciii] (culture and/or people[xciv]).

Element Five – Unequal Equality

‘Equality’ is also a nebulous-power-word and hence should not be used in rational discourse – including not being used to define another term.

If used in the sense of equal quantities or identical nature, etc. the term ‘equality’ possesses high referentiality[xcv]. However, when used in the social or political context there are many definitions found[xcvi] – some of which are incompatible with one another.

For example, two of the various forms of ‘equality’ are those of equality of process (such as equal opportunity) and equality of outcome/result. If groups differ on the relevant criterion (a), then equal opportunities will produce unequal outcomes – and equal outcomes can only be achieved by unequal process (sometimes inversionistly referred to as ‘equal opportunities’). These two forms of ‘equality’ are hence not both achievable – so how can one be ‘for equality’? To what is one referring?[xcvii]

Even when taken separately the various forms of ‘equality’ can be problematic. For example, if one is referring to ‘equality’ as a moral, then in some of its forms this would be strange; equality of wealth[xcviii] can tend towards increases in poverty, unhappiness, despotism, massive power differences[xcix], etc.[c] If ‘equality’ is taken to mean all people/groups are the same, then this is simply untrue[ci]. Ontological equality might or might not be true – but even if it is true then this tautology[cii] would not make sense as a definition of ‘multiculturalism’.

In the context of ‘multiculturalism’ there are specific problems in respect to ‘equality’ – including the inherent inequality of fraternity between groups and the inequalities of condition[ciii] between indigenous and immigrant groups. Immigration can be viewed as a form of inequality – the desires of immigrants overriding those of indigenous people.

Hence, whether the term ‘equality’ is being used as a moral/value[civ] or as a political policy/aim, one needs to be precise about in what sense it is being used. Once a definition with high referentiality has been specified, then one would need to know if this outcome is attainable and, if so, at what cost (financial and/or otherwise). If ‘equality’ is being used as a description, then it would also need a clear definition – and in some cases this can never be true. This term is hence inadequate from a rational perspective, and should not be used to define another term.

Element Six – ‘Anti-Racism’

‘Racism’ is another nebulous-power-word[cv]. It exerts massive influence over people, yet[cvi] the term has numerous definitions, and is inadequate from a rational perspective[cvii]. Although this term was used by respondents as an element to define ‘multiculturalism’[cviii], many people could not define ‘racism’[cix]. According to the McPherson Report[cx], a ‘racist’ incident is one so perceived – which is a definition possessing low referentiality. The lack of referentiality makes, amongst other things, many ‘anti-racist’ activities, (e.g. International Conferences[cxi]) and policies problematic[cxii].

The many multiple definitions[cxiii] of this term given include: hatred[cxiv]; mistreatment; stereotyping; prejudice; discrimination; preference; superiority; intolerance; ‘inequality’; ignorance; and yet others – and many include the idea that ‘racism’ is genocidal and/or murderous. All of these definitions are problematic either per se[cxv] and/or in the context of ‘multiculturalism’[cxvi] and/or in the context of their usage[cxvii]

Amongst the numerous inconsistencies in relation to ‘multiculturalism’ the following one is particularly striking: if discrimination is the noting of difference[cxviii] (and hence ‘racism’), then many definitions of ‘multiculturalism’ explicitly or implicitly note[cxix] such difference[cxx]. There are many striking others, such as if ‘racism’ is ‘mistreatment’, then have indigenous people not been mistreated by ‘multiculturalism’[cxxi] – hence rendering it ‘racist’ and also ‘anti-racist’[cxxii] (if so defined)?

It is difficult to know where to begin in an analysis of this term[cxxiii]. The nebulous nature of this term enables the associated meanings of genocide and murder[cxxiv] to be implied when any of the definitional elements might be relevant, e.g. if a small child asks an innocuous question such as ‘why are they dark?’ anger, panic, action and ‘racism’ accusations can ensue[cxxv]. This term clearly illustrates the power of nebulous-power-words and also the manner in which their influence is contingent upon their characteristics[cxxvi]. Were a single high referentiality definition to be used[cxxvii], then the power would be diminished and the manipulative nature of the term more easily exposed[cxxviii].

As a nebulous-power-word, then, this term is not adequate to define another term.

Element Seven – It’s All Relative

The original meaning of ‘cultural relativism’ referred to the idea that a culture can only be understood on its own terms [cxxix]. This would either be true or false, and hence in either case makes no sense to use this definition to define ‘multiculturalism’ [cxxx]. In the context of descriptive ‘multiculturalism’ this would, if true, be problematic – for example, how is public space to be governed?

However, the phrase ‘cultural relativism’ is frequently used to refer to other, related, ideas/beliefs, e.g. the idea that all cultures are of equal value. But if one has any criteria of judgement [cxxxi], then this is false.

Moral equivalence is another common interpretation – however, to the extent that this can be achieved, this is inherently amoral and also is likely to be harmful to the relevant people[cxxxii].

Sometimes ‘cultural relativism’ is used to refer to the Culture Cult[cxxxiii] – holding that all cultures are of equal worth, are to be preserved, and assimilation is evil. Were one to genuinely believe these tenets, then this would be incompatible with descriptive ‘multiculturalism’. If this phrase is used to refer to the idea of accommodating immigrant cultures, then this overlaps with the idea of subjugation of indigenous culture – which is hence not ‘equal’[cxxxiv], inconsistent[cxxxv] and morally questionable[cxxxvi].

Hence, this group of definitions presents problems whether this definition is used as a description, an aim, a moral or a political policy.

Descriptive ‘multiculturalism’

All seven definitional elements are hence problematic[cxxxvii]. However, there is a definition of ‘multiculturalism’ that is not problematic in these ways: that of defining the term descriptively – referring to an area that is racially/ethnically mixed. Such a mixture can only occur by movement of people: in Britain this refers to the results of immigration[cxxxviii]. Hence, this term denotes the results of a political policy (s).

Although not problematic as a definition per se, this definition does present various problems. For example, it is inconsistent with many other definitions of the term ‘multiculturalism’ (see above)[cxxxix]. Also, if a replacement exercise is performed this definition does not always make sense. For example, if the term ‘multiculturalism’ is the existence of racial/ethnic mixture, then how can it be the ‘justification’ or ‘celebration’ of this mixture, (e.g. see Parekh ibid)? Or, as one academic is quoted as saying:

“There is no really serious alternative to multiculturalism as a means to deal with[cxl] our cultural diversity.”[cxli]

But how can it be the solution to diversity if it is the diversity? In these contexts the term must be defined in a different manner – but what?

Another set of problems presents itself when we ask why ‘multiculturalism’ is generally portrayed as positive. In Britain the majority of people want immigration to be reduced, if not reversed – and immigration has presented many problems for British people[cxlii]. Immigration is frequently spoken of, and justified, in terms of revenge against the Brits for perceived past misdemeanours, (e.g. ‘payback time’)[cxliii]. So why should ‘multiculturalism’ be represented in a positive manner? Recently, some have spoken out against ‘multiculturalism’[cxliv] – but what are they speaking out against exactly? Immigration? The lack of assimilation? Or is this merely an acknowledgment of the falsity of Elements Three and Four, etc.? Using nebulous-power-words obscures, amongst other things, what people really mean.

Even if one examines the results of immigration from a theoretical perspective it is difficult to see why it would be positively represented. Immigration can produce only one of two outcomes: there is either one homogenous group; or there is diversity[cxlv].

As noted above, such diversity is problematic in many ways[cxlvi]; these problems justifying the existence of a ‘race relations industry’ (etc.[cxlvii]) to manage/contain/reduce the problems. Not only are there many direct harms caused by diversity, but many indirect harms are presented[cxlviii]. For example, a country can be easier to govern because of ‘divide and rule’ policies[cxlix]; some hold such diverse countries require authoritarian rule[cl] to manage the diversity and associated problems – these problems acting as a distraction from more positive endeavours[cli]. A government might add to these harms by implementing forms of ‘moral relativism’, various ‘equality’ measures, suppression of truth and dissent, etc. in attempts to ‘manage the diversity’. Of course, diversity presents many other drawbacks, including the inescapable fact of destruction of culture[clii].

Thus, diversity is problematic. The only other alternative is that of homogenisation. This result clearly cannot be achieved without loss of culture and most groups generally do not wish to lose their cultures[cliii]. Full homogenisation includes homogenisation of people; and if homogenisation occurs in all other ways this will follow. Hence, homogenisation presents the result of loss – loss of culture and loss of existence as a people[cliv].

Some influential people, as already noted, explicitly desire ‘miscegenation’ and the ‘merging of the races’ as a solution to the problems of diversity, (e.g. see Podhoretz[clv]). Others are less explicit. Liberal Democrat Sandy Walkington is reported[clvi] to have stated that in 200 years we will all be coffee-coloured, and that he has “no problem with that”. Of course any politician, academic, journalist, etc. recommending mixing is, albeit not explicitly, facilitating this result[clvii].

The fact that the only two possibilities both involve harm presents the dilemma of cultural contact – a dilemma because the only two choices are both harmful[clviii].

The social representation perspective

We have seen that the term ‘multiculturalism’ is problematic from a rational perspective. However, a social representation perspective on meaning can show, inter alia, what the term might mean to those who experience[clix] it.

A social representation perspective takes a different view on meaning: instead of merely the direct correspondence of term to phenomenon, the social representation perspective acknowledges various social factors incorporated in meaning[clx].

In some cases an image replaces a concept – lending it impermeability to reason[clxi]. Images can actually be what is signified by a term, rather than a real object or concept – as discussed by social representation theorists:

“The second stage, in which the image is wholly assimilated and what is perceived replaces what is conceived, is the logical outcome of this state of affairs. […] images become the elements of reality rather than elements of thought. […] When this takes place, images no longer occupy that peculiar position somewhere between words which are supposed to have significance and real objects to which only we can give significance, but they exist as objects, they are what is signified.”

(Moscovici, 2000, page 51[clxii])

‘Multiculturalism’ is frequently represented by a visual image of diverse happy people[clxiii] – such images associating positive emotion with ‘multiculturalism’, this set in bipolar oppositional form to ‘racism’[clxiv]. Here is a typical example.

Although the seven elements are all problematic from a rational perspective, such an image can ‘make sense’ of these irrationalities by fitting them into an organised structure of thought – the elements describe the image in some ways and hence the image ‘makes sense’ of them and one ‘understands’[clxv]. However, amongst other things[clxvi], many issues are thus obscured.

Of course, as an abstract image this does not represent reality: if one contextualises this image in space, time and reality it becomes problematic. For example, in whose country is this happy scene set? What language do they use to sing? In some cultures the children would be arrested during the happy sing-song[clxvii]. Contextualising the scene in time would present various contradictions such as what happens immediately after the sing-song? What food is served[clxviii]? Do all the children split up and go to their respective separate areas? Is the vision of ‘equality’ sustainable in the real world? In the long term if there were to be such ‘equal’ happy mixing, then the variations in features and skin tones, etc. would not be preserved.

From a social representation perspective one can identify various ‘voices’ that contribute to constructing social meaning. Four main such voices can be identified in respect of the term ‘multiculturalism’[clxix]. For some individuals, these ‘voices’ can represent a large part of their identity[clxx].

The first such voice is the ‘abstract’, de-contextualizing the representation and imbuing it with the impression of intellectuality, authority, expertise, etc. This voice gives the impression of rationality to the term and gives it a social force[clxxi]. People do not wish to appear intellectually incompetent and assume that if this term were not a proper term, then surely all these experts would not be using it – and judges would not be using it in court[clxxii]?

The second voice is that of the ‘nice’ people. It is just not ‘nice’ to query this, or to be ‘racist’, etc. Such ‘nice’ people are found throughout the Western world and prioritise being viewed as ‘nice’[clxxiii]. However, what is the definition of ‘nice’?[clxxiv]. If it means smiling, being compliant, pleasing others, etc. then one wonders whom they please, and at whose expense[clxxv]? In the context of ‘multiculturalism’, many problems are fundamentally a clash of desires. Also, is it ‘nice’ to destroy someone’s culture – to cause widespread mistreatment – perhaps to ultimately cause the extinction of a group?[clxxvi] The self-serving nature of this voice is obvious, (e.g. appeasement, self-advancement/enrichment/protection, self-indulgence[clxxvii], etc.[clxxviii]).

A third voice is that of the ‘angry’. The rage of this group provides a strong motivation not to cross them. Although purporting to be acting against hate, in fact hatred is the main motivating force for this group[clxxix]. Utopian thinking is, ironically, an expression of hatred. Attempts to achieve utopian visions require destruction and control – and these are desired by many utopians[clxxx]. In fact, it is chiefly a desire to destroy and control that underlies such positioning – however often peace, ‘equality’, love and defending ‘victims’ from ‘oppressors’ may be claimed as motivations.

The fourth voice is that of some immigrants[clxxxi]. Inversionistly this voice claims victimhood and uses ‘multiculturalism’ to justify satisfaction of their desires. Of course, these voices all act in concert with one another and this can clearly be seen in relation to this voice acting with the ‘nice’ and ‘angry’ voices – do you want to be mean to those poor victimised immigrants? This voice presents motivations of shame and guilt, especially to white people who are sometimes taught to feel guilty[clxxxii]. However, there is an element of threat presented by this voice too. There is an inversionist nature to who is actually being harmed and victimised.

A fifth ‘voice’ could be added – that of ‘the crowd’[clxxxiii], those swayed by the power of the term. Who wants to be viewed as stupid, not ‘nice’, or picking on those already victimised? Who wants to be attacked by the enraged? People know it is safer to behave accordingly (and more beneficial[clxxxiv]). However meaningless nebulous-power-words may be, people understand their forces (fear, guilt, pride, etc.) and take aversive action. For example, when the crowd sees someone attacked[clxxxv] for being ‘racist’ this causes fear and people recoil respectively – people who possibly cannot[clxxxvi] even define the term.

‘Multiculturalism’ as talisman and taboo

We have seen that the term ‘multiculturalism’ does not meet the requirements of a properly rational term and should hence not be used in rational discourse. There are multiple meanings, many inherently problematic in themselves, and also these are frequently mutually inconsistent.

The use of nebulous-power-words enables reality to be obscured, inhibits truth and rational thought[clxxxvii], and facilitates the operation of emotional and social forces. The power of these terms is contingent upon the very nature of this type of word.

By using such a form of term in relation to social and political phenomena people have been confused and manipulated[clxxxviii]. Power has been exercised in an insidious manner, and this being a more total form of control over people than some previously labelled as totalitarian[clxxxix] – although originating outside, this power can control from within. The nebulous-power-words ‘multiculturalism’, ‘racism’ and ‘equality’ have been used[cxc] to facilitate social and political control in relation to race and immigration.

The truth is simultaneously very simple and very difficult – the multicultural Emperor is starkly naked, but although many have noticed, still too few care to mention it.

Dr. A. R. KNEEN is an academic


[i] And its derivatives such as ‘multicultural’, e.g. while Prime Minister, Tony Blair held that we should ‘continue celebrating’ multicultural Britain – as reported by BBC News 8th December 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6219626.stm

[ii] E.g. one Labour MP reported to the author that ‘multiculturalism’ was an aim and an important value of his Government. Also see: it is claimed by a former government adviser, Andrew Neather, that Labour deliberately implemented mass immigration with an aim of “creating a multicultural society”, (e.g. see: Daily Telegraph, 23rd October 2009)

[iii] E.g. see the 1985 Canadian Multiculturalism Act which commences with the declaration that the Act is for the ‘preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canada.’ (Canadian Multiculturalism Act R.S.C., 1985, c. 24 (4th Supp.)). Also see R. v. Keegstra judgment

[iv] E.g. as claimed by Jeff Randall to have been stated to him by a BBC senior executive. E.g. see: Daily Mail 26th October 2006


[v] E.g. see: Human Rights Council, United Nations General Assembly, Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. Geneva, 21st May – 4th June 2012 (page 14, section 100) – this particular Report actually states “state multiculturalism”.

Some organisations are otherwise discussed as ‘promoting ‘multiculturalism’’, e.g. see Daily Mail 4th December 2012

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2242804/Rap-music-fan-shouted-n—black-man-CLEARED-racism-magistrates-accept-using-street-slang.html (this article also provides interesting examples of use of the nebulous-power-word ‘racism’ – and in a legal context)

[vi] This is found to occur in direct and indirect means. For example, some people suffer serious consequences if they are even associated with groups and/or others who are not held to support ‘multiculturalism’ sufficiently. Also see the Rotherham foster case in which Thacker is quoted as stating that ‘UKIP has very clear statements on ending multiculturalism…’, e.g. as quoted in the Guardian 24th November 2012


[vii] This has occurred in Britain and elsewhere, and has been found during both civil and criminal cases

[viii] E.g. see R. v. Keegstra judgment

[xi] Sculptor Perilli’s monument to ‘multiculturalism’ is inscribed with the words it is a ‘tribute to multiculturalism’, e.g. see http://spacingtoronto.ca/2009/03/20/monument-to-multiculturalism/

[xii] And these definitions are of many types of phenomena, e.g. ‘multiculturalism’ is defined sometimes as policy, sometimes as value, a description, etc.

[xiii] It should be noted that when asked many could not define the term at all

[xiv] Home Office employees, local government officers, etc.

[xv] These interviews were conducted across the country in many towns and cities including: London, Cambridge, Salford, Oldham, Burnley, Bradford, Accrington, Dewsbury, etc.

[xvi] This definition underpins all the definitions but is less frequently given as a definition – see later.

[xvii] For example, a definition might hold that ‘multiculturalism’ means: ‘a celebration of diversity with no racism, everyone practising their own culture together’. This particular example would contain three of the elements listed (Elements Three, Six and One) – and implies the descriptive definition

[xviii] It would not be feasible to analyse each variant separately, and neither would this add much to the arguments presented here

[xix] E.g. Parekh, B. (2007) in Identity, Ethnic Diversity and Community Cohesion Edited by Margaret Wetherell, Michelynn Laflèche and Robert Berkeley. Sage Publications: London

[xx] According to this definition, ‘multiculturalism’ means, inter alia, that all cultures can benefit from dialogue with others, and through this dialogue the hegemony of the dominant culture is challenged. One of the main policy concerns of ‘multiculturalism’, under this definition, is that of enabling different communities to feel ‘valued and respected’. As can be seen, this second definition overlaps somewhat with the seven elements enumerated and hence shares their problems.

[xxi] Definitions of terms can vary across time – this particularly true in relation to nebulous-power-words. In this sense the research presented here provides a snapshot of current and recent reality.

[xxii] Or ‘definitional element’ – take as read throughout

[xxiii] A typical response to a request to define the term being ‘it means everyone practising their own culture, all cultures doing their own thing’

[xxiv] Sometimes this element is given in the form of ‘preservation of culture’, and appears to be an implied definition of the term as according to the Canadian legislation that states it aims to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians (ibid). This element is also frequently found in glossaries and dictionaries, for example some defining the term ‘multiculturalism’ as the ‘preservation of cultures within one society’. The idea of preservation of culture also is often found to be used as a moral argument.

[xxv] And if some groups are given priority over other groups, then this raises issues of ‘equality’ etc. and hence various inconsistencies. This choice of whom to favour also raises various moral issues.

[xxvi] E.g. ‘all buildings are painted pink’

[xxvii] E.g. it could be conceptualised as a ‘rule’ that everyone paints their homes pink – this could be a ‘rule’ even though there is no such explicit prescription; nor prohibition on using other colours of paint (legal, religious or otherwise)

[xxviii] For simplicity in this example only one variable and only two groups will be used – but of course this can be extended to any number of either or both.

[xxix] It could be that the city would be part blue and part pink – and/or any other colour (s). It is not impossible that no buildings will be pink or blue. There are numerous possibilities, e.g. perhaps as a compromise everyone uses purple paint, or it is agreed that only yellow and green are to be used, or everyone just uses any colours and the city looks like a rainbow, or the blue-painters force or persuade everyone to use blue, etc. However, in any imaginable scenario the city will not be all pink and all blue (see Orwell’s blackwhite).

There are various means by which indigenous and/or immigrant cultures can alter, e.g. by the will of the people concerned, by orders from Government, by force from either group, etc.

Examples in the real world are numerous and include matters such as flags and British symbols being banned, and of course Christmas celebrations being inhibited.

E.g. see: http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/2288512.motorist_told_flag_could_be_racist/






By whatever processes changes occur, if there are any alterations in indigenous and/or immigrant cultures, then this is not all cultures practising their own cultures. And, as noted above, even in cases in which all groups maintain their own cultures (to the extent this is possible, e.g. some pink and some blue houses), culture in that location has been altered by the very fact of this occurring (the city-scape looks different, e.g. is no longer all pink). The idea of ‘everyone doing their own thing’ is incoherent in relation to preservation of cultures – if everyone does their own thing, then this is not the preservation of culture – and hence the resultant culture is not one of everyone doing their own thing (in the sense of the resultant culture being any of the original cultures). Subjective judgments as to what constitutes an improvement or not are irrelevant to the logical fact that preservation of all cultures in one space at one time is not possible to achieve.

[xxx] Also see Kemp, A. (2009) The Lie of Apartheid – and Other True Stories from Southern Africa. Ostara Publications: United States of America

[xxxi] For example, the strongly ‘anti-racist’ Channel Four News programme uses the term to refer to the racial appearance of the people in an area in cases such as Jon Snow asking the Justice Minister just how ‘multicultural’ Oslo actually is, noting that he had been observing the people in Oslo over recent days and had seen that they are ‘very white’.

[xxxii] By switching the referent the term ‘multiculturalism’ tends to confuse people.

[xxxiii] A subset of the one set of rules dilemma

[xxxiv] This is found in many areas in Britain. However, some believe that these areas are thus ‘monocultural’ and not ‘multicultural’, e.g. see Daily Mail 16th November 2012


[xxxv] The one set of rules dilemma is illustrated by many real life examples. As with all examples given in this essay, even were an example shown to be falsely reported this would not detract from the argument presented here – these are merely illustrations of a logical point – a point that remains true whether any particular illustration is accurate or not.

Examples include matters such as: the alleged banning of representations of piglet from a council office in the Midlands, e.g. see: Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, 3rd October 2005.


Or the case of a mother reportedly told not to breastfeed in a ‘multicultural’ local government building in Oldham, e.g. see Daily Mail, 14th July 2011.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2014222/Breast-feeding-mother-told-leave-council-headquarters-offend-Muslim-visitors.html

Also see: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1435753_mums-in-flashmob-protest-over-breastfeeding-ban-at-oldham-town-hall

And: the Vice Chancellor of a London university reportedly considering dividing the areas into those with and those without alcohol, e.g. see: Daily Mail, 12th April 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128788/London-university-considers-stopping-sale-immoral-alcohol-campus-offends-Muslim-students.html

[xxxvi] And were all of these totally separate, then one might wonder why such a situation has been created. If such total separation ere required, then this, inter alia, questions the wisdom of bringing in immigrants in the first place.

[xxxvii] This is an issue of disagreement in Britain, e.g. see:


Sometimes these issues are discussed in relation to threat to culture (‘way of life’), e.g.


Divergences in opinion regarding this issue have also been found in countries other than Britain, e.g. see:



[xxxix] Which will be shared even if there is extensive geographic separation in relation to tangible space

[xl] For example – what language does the Queen speak and what does she wear?

[xli] One could imagine the hypothetical term ‘mixarationism’ being used by painters to describe the process of putting two or more water-based paints into one vessel and mixing them. No rational problems there. However, if mixarationism were also to be used to refer to the preservation of the discrete colours, then this is internally inconsistent: ‘multiculturalism’ defined as Element One is inconsistent with immigration

[xlii] In relation to the differences between them. Take as read that depending upon the actual differences (and the interactions) the level to which this will be noticed and/or will be consequential varies.

[xliii] This phenomenon can be viewed as form of zero-sum game, but not an exact zero-sum game with losses exactly balancing gains. However, the idea of ‘zero-sum game’ can be useful to conceptualise the idea of loss of culture when space is shared

[xliv] In the context of mass immigration (see descriptive ‘multiculturalism’ below) – of course, were the term so defined used to refer to separation, then this could be rational

[xlv] Not only is this element found in definitions of ‘multiculturalism’, but it is also associated with immigration-related discourse more generally. Sameness is sometimes suggested by the claim that ‘race does not exist’. Some children are already taught that there is no such thing as race (and others call for this to happen). Also see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146334/The-Jungle-Book-Britain-nation-passive-racists-says-John-Barnes-blames-classic-authors-bigotry.html

It is also sometimes claimed that one should admit external differences, but teach that despite these differences, we are ‘all the same inside’. E.g. see Yahoo, 2nd December 2011


There are various books and teaching materials that use this phrase, most of which are aimed at children. E.g. see


(However, these phrases are also found in various teaching materials for adults – such as those used in employment ‘equality and diversity’ courses.)

Many people remember being taught this as children.

E.g. see London’s Biggest Conversation on radio 97.3 FM.


[xlvi] In this context such groups distinguished by race, culture, ethnicity, immigration status, heritage, religion, etc. And of course, take as read that some groups (and subgroups) do not differ on some criteria. Also take as read that the notion of ‘subgroups’ is dependent upon the main group heading used, etc.

[xlvii] And Element Three celebrates it. Other inconsistencies are found, (e.g. in relation to various forms of Element Five, etc.)

[xlviii] E.g. in discourse on racial statistics for jobs (and the rationales for such) what are these people talking about if race does not exist? And how do they determine membership in these categories if race does not exist, e.g. who is ‘black’ if there is no such thing as race? Such discourse can be seen widely, e.g. Guardian 27th January 2013 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jan/27/law-police-diversity

[xlix] E.g. if this is used as an aim or policy, then this is inherently dishonest

[l] Sometimes such tautologies are slipped into discourse as a form of argument, but a tautology alone is inadequate as an argument

[li] ‘We are all mammals’ – so why can tigers not vote or go to university?

[lii] E.g. if this is a policy, description, etc. this is problematic

[liii] E.g. the Business Dictionary defines ‘multiculturalism’ as celebrating diversity (by promoting recognition of differences).


Such definitions are interesting in a number of ways – one of which is that they acknowledge difference – which could be viewed as inconsistent with Element Two (and variants of Elements Five and Six).

[lv] E.g. after the 2001 riots, racial ‘tensions’ being the main underlying cause, many reports used this phrase such as the Oldham Independent Review (2001) and the Community Cohesion Report (2001)

[lvi] This term is used in this paper to refer to the diversity brought by immigration. Other forms of diversity generally are not celebrated – and are not relevant to the definition of ‘multiculturalism’. In fact, in another example of inconsistency, many other forms of diversity are strongly condemned by those celebrating the diversity of immigration, (e.g. such people frequently call for the arrest/punishment of those with different beliefs and ideas – unless those with different beliefs are immigrants).

[lvii] For example: Putnam studies the reductions in social capital (see Putnam, 2007, “Diversity and Community in the Twenty First Century”. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30 (2), 137-174); the reduction in willingness to sacrifice for others is discussed by David Goodhart, (e.g. see Prospect Magazine, 2004 and ibid); general levels of trust reduce with diversity (also see for further reading: Salter, F. K., Ed., 2002, Risky Transactions. Trust, Kinship, and Ethnicity. Oxford and New York, Berghahn).  Also for further reading on related health issues see, e.g.: Stafford, M., Becares, L. and Nazroo, J. ‘Objective and Perceived Ethnic Density and Health: Findings From a United Kingdom General Population Survey’, American Journal Epidemiol (2009) 170 (4):484-493.doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp160; and http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE58352X20090904)

[lviii] These tensions are detrimental to people in themselves. Also, the specific matters that cause concern provoke anxiety and this anxiety is detrimental even if the specific events feared do not occur,  e.g. even if the fears of civil war prove to be unfounded the anxiety is harmful in itself.

[lix] Such phenomena allegedly leading the suicide of a 9-year old boy whom it is claimed was bullied for being white (while at a ‘very diverse’ school in Birmingham) – e.g. as reported by The Sun newspaper 24th February 2013


also: http://in2eastafrica.net/family-of-schoolboy-9-who-was-found-hanged-at-home-claim-he-was-hounded-to-his-death-by-asian-bullies-for-being-white/

Diversity in schools has presented widespread problems, e.g. see Henry Webster case as in Daily Mail 30th October 2009


These problems are not confined to Britain, e.g. see across Europe and the USA:

Frankfurter Allgemeine 21st July 2010


Osloby 23rd March 2011


Daily Mail 15th February 2013


Neither are such problems confined to schools – there are found to occur in neighbourhoods, universities, work-places, etc.

[lx] Riots were experienced in many towns and cities in 2001 including: Oldham, Bradford, Burnley, etc.

[lxi] Many predict more civil disorder, and possibly even civil war, for Britain – this is widespread amongst the population and is even occasionally suggested by public figures, e.g. Paul Weston believes that civil unrest and even possibly civil war could occur by 2030;


Also see: Daily Mail 13th March 2010


[lxii] This also falls under some definitions of Element Seven (see below)

[lxiii] This issue presents another area of inconsistencies, (e.g. with Element Five)

[lxiv] E.g. it is frequently found that people will judge according to group membership. This was clearly illustrated in relation to the reactions to the O. J. Simpson case.  For some analysis of relevant variables see for example: Murray, C. B., Kaiser, R. and Taylor, S. (1997), The O. J. Simpson Verdict: Predictors of Beliefs about Innocence or Guilt. Journal of Social Issues, 53: 455–475. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1997.tb02122.

In legal matters, jury selection is frequently difficult for such reasons, and in South Africa ‘racial politics’ has caused the jury system to be abandoned. Such phenomena are clearly problematic not only for equality before the law, but in many other contexts. For relevant social psychological research see for example: For example: Tajfel, M. (1972) “Experiments in a Vacuum”, The Context of Social Psychology, eds. J. Israel and H. Tajfel. Academic Press: London; Tajfel, M. (1981) Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology. Cambridge University Press; Tajfel, H. (1982) Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Cambridge University Press. Also see: Sherif, M. (1966) In Common Predicament: The Social Psychology of Inter-Group Conflict. Houghton-Mifflin: Boston.

[lxv] These practices, and others, are still found around the world today – even human sacrifice persists in some areas

E.g. see Daily Telegraph, 6th January 2010. Available at:


The body of a child found in the Thames is believed by some to be the victim of a sacrifice – see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/torso-in-thames-was-ritual-sacrifice-671690.html

[lxvi] Press, J. K. (2007) Culturalism. Social Books: New York

[lxvii] Take as read throughout

[lxviii] E.g. see: “The Rivkin Project: How Globalism Uses Multiculturalism to Subvert Sovereign Nations”, Dr. K R Bolton Foreign Policy Journal, 12 March 2011.

[lxix] Also see: Noam Chomsky (2002) Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, New York: The New York Press

[lxx] Hasan, R. (2010) Multiculturalism. Some Inconvenient Truths. Politicos: UK.

[lxxi] Although common amongst politicians, journalists and academics

[lxxii] This of course assuming that such problems would not be desired

[lxxiii] E.g. ‘it’s all races living together happily’

[lxxiv] As noted above, these elements group similar definitions together

[lxxv] For example, the Combat Poverty Agency of Ireland defines ‘multiculturalism’ as diverse groups co-existing in harmony within one country.

On 1 May 2010 the Social Inclusion Division became part of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. From 1 May 2011 the division moved to the Department of Social Protection http://www.cpa.ie/index.html


and The Free Dictionary thesaurus defines ‘multiculturalism’ with reference to such peaceful and equitable co-existence


[lxxvi] In this context of different racial/ethnic groups

[lxxvii] Taylor, J. (2011) White Identity. Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century. New Century Foundation: USA

[lxxviii] As within such diverse contexts, (e.g. tend to live separately within cities, tend to separate within and between diverse educational establishments) – and if there are not strong incentives otherwise. One personal account of some relevant experiences is given here: Telegraph 29th January 2013


[lxxix] E.g. the head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, has stated that Britain is “sleepwalking” into segregation – see BBC News 22nd September 2005


Ted Cantle referred to communities living “parallel lives” in his Report after the 2001 riots (page 9)- The ‘Cantle Report’ – Community Cohesion: a Report of the Independent Review Team. Chaired by Ted Cantle. Published: January 2001. Source: Home Office.


Headmaster Levin speaks of his alarm at the level of segregation. See Telegraph 4th October, 2011


Also see: Daily Mail 27th January 2013


Or Daily Mail 21st February 2013


[lxxx] Taylor cites a study conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies at Berkeley, reporting that the majority of the four major racial groups in California surveyed (blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians) agreed with the statement that ‘people are happier when segregated’ (see Taylor, 2011, page 41, ibid). As some say: ‘what could be more obvious?’, e.g. see:  John Derbyshire, Taki’s Magazine, 29th March 2012


[lxxxi] For example, the British Government Home Office Report commissioned after the 2001 riots noted that the main cause for the segregation found in Oldham was the preferences of groups “to live with their own kind” (Oldham Independent Review, 2001, page 9, ibid).

[lxxxii] Which hence makes it implausible for them to deny that they know this – and hence makes some of their statements and policies difficult to understand.

[lxxxiii] ‘Cohesion’ is a term worthy of some debate. Sometimes this term is used as a code-word for there not being open inter-group conflict, civil war or riots. Also, has anyone wondered why we would need such ‘cohesion’ teams/departments, etc. were the result of happy co-existence a likely outcome?

[lxxxv] Such authors present a challenge to the ‘celebration of diversity’ (Element Three) as well as to Element Four

[lxxxvi] Or mixed race relationships without actual marriage (take as read throughout)

[lxxxvii] This refutation is respect to this element reflecting real life (actual and/or potential)

[lxxxviii] As a people and/or a culture, etc.

[lxxxix] The immigrants might have other members of their own group remaining in their home country – existing and practising their own culture

[xc] This also presents a moral problem in respect to the implementation of immigration – and/or ‘multiculturalism’ as used in its descriptive sense (see below)

[xci] In one shared space

[xcii] E.g. see above – the increased unhappiness, increased chances of disorder, the costs (financial and otherwise) of trying to ‘manage’ this situation, etc.

[xciii] The only other likely alternative appearing to be that of separate groups at ‘tension’ with one another and other inherent problems (see the dilemma of cultural contact discussed later)

[xciv] Such destruction would also be contradictory to various other elements defining ‘multiculturalism’ – such as the celebration of diversity

[xcv] Yet untrue in many contexts and hence irrational to so state in these contexts

[xcvi] There are many ways in which this term is used, including: equality of treatment (equality of opportunity, equality before the law, etc.); equality of outcome (including equality of wealth and equality of representation); the claim that ‘we are all the same’; ontological equality; equality of rights; equality of recognition, and yet others. Turner identifies four commonly used types of ‘equality’: ontological equality, equality of opportunity, equality of condition, and equality of outcome/result (Turner, B. S. (1986) Equality. Tavistock Publications Limited: London, UK )

[xcvii] This example illustrating a possible consequence of using a nebulous-power-word

[xcviii] As a form of equality of outcome/result

[xcix] Amongst other things presenting inconsistency, (unequal levels of power)

[c] See for example: David Stove (2011), What’s Wrong with Benevolence. Happiness, Private Property and the Limits of Enlightenment. Encounter Books: New York. Also see the classics: Hayek, F. A. (2001) The Road to Serfdom. Routledge: London (first published in 1944); and Mises, L. (1981) Socialism. An Economic and Sociological Analysis. Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, USA.

[ci] And is also inconsistent with various other definitions of the term ‘multiculturalism’ – e.g. Element Three implies (and celebrates) difference (‘diversity’)

[cii] E.g. ‘all men are equal’ as Jefferson claimed. Interestingly, although Jefferson held this, he also held that the differences between blacks and whites meant that they should be separate.

[ciii] Including breaches of ‘indigenous rights’ (‘rights’ is a tricky concept – see forthcoming book), e.g. see: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007:



[civ] For example, the Canadian judgement cited above explicitly states that equality (and ‘multiculturalism’) is a value – which form of equality is a value? At the expense of which other (s) form (s)? At what other costs? Why? To what exactly does this judgement refer?

[cv] However, it differs from the nebulous-power-word ‘multiculturalism’ in a number of ways – including that fact that these two terms hold opposite emotional affect (‘racism’ negative and ‘multiculturalism’ positive), and that the term ‘racism’ is much stronger and more powerful than ‘multiculturalism’.

[cvi] Or rather contingent upon!

[cvii] And yet is used by politicians, journalists, educators and even judges in courts of law.

Also see BBC News: 4th April 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/4877412.stm

30th March 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17562016

11th May 2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-13361478

‘Anti-racism’ is supported and heavily funded, e.g.  http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/pound-45k-grant-combat-racism/story-17285717-detail/story.html

[cviii] In the sense of ‘multiculturalism’ being ‘anti-racist’ or combatting ‘racism’, etc., e.g. ‘‘multiculturalism’ is an anti-racist ideology’, or ‘‘multiculturalism’ means there is not ‘racism’, it’s against ‘racism’, etc.

[cix] This includes some who used the term to define ‘multiculturalism’ and/or in discourse in general.

[cx] The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Report Of An Inquiry. By Sir William Macpherson Of Cluny. Advised by Tom Cook, The Right Reverend Dr John Sentamu, and Dr Richard Stone. Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department by Command of Her Majesty. February 1999. Also see Dennis, N., Erdos, G., Al-Shahi, A. (2000) Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics: the McPherson Report and the Police. Civitas. The Institute for the Study of Civil Society: London, England

[cxi] E.g. United Nations Durban Anti-Racism Conferences http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/

[cxii] And other problematic areas exist including in relation to those whom are praised for ‘anti-racism’ activities – what exactly are they praised for? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268301/Doreen-Lawrence-receives-honorary-doctorate-praising-tireless-campaign-racism-inequality.html

[cxiii] And, of course, multiple meanings in itself denotes low referentiality.

[cxiv] Of a racial group (s) – take as read throughout in relation to all these definitional elements of ‘racism’

[cxv] E.g. how can ‘tolerance’ be held as moral in itself? This is inherently amoral. ‘Equality’ is  nebulous-power-word itself. Etc.

[cxvi] E.g. under some definitions of ‘multiculturalism’, stereotyping is inherent. Also, it could be viewed that ‘multiculturalism’ (under some of its definitions) grants superiority of immigrants over indigenous people. Etc.

[cxvii] E.g. an advertisement that featured a white family was discussed by many as being ‘racist’ – under which definition could such a Christmas advertisement be ‘racist’? E.g. see Wave, 23rd November 2011.  http://wave.wavemetrix.com/content/john-lewis-christmas-ad-reveals-hostility-youtube-and-brand-love-facebook-00855

Also, many such usages are not applied consistently to all racial groups, which would be ‘racist’ under some definitions of the term and hence, amongst other things, inconsistent. E.g. see http://unfaircampaign.org/press-room/releases/

Fox Insider 20th February 2013 http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/02/20/debate-un-fair-campaign-releases-controversial-anti-racism-psa-featuring-white-people-with-writing-on-faces/

Differential (or ‘racist’) application in this area is not uncommon, e.g. one could have a black association, (e.g. for police officers or otherwise), but a white one would likely be labelled as ‘racist’.

[cxviii] Which is how it is frequently defined

[cxix] Williams rejects ‘colour-blindness’ as being ‘racism’ – and recommends that people move from colour-blindness to ‘multiculturalism’ which she holds is an ideology that, inter alia, acknowledges, highlights, and celebrates ethnoracial differences. Monica Williams, PhD., Psychology Today, 27th December 2011. See http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/colorblind/201112/colorblind-ideology-is-form-racism

[cxx] Which would render ‘multiculturalism’ as inconsistent in that it would be both ‘racist’ and ‘anti-racist’ (according to the relevant definitions, e.g. if ‘racism’ is defined as discrimination and ‘multiculturalism’ is defined as ‘anti-racist’)

[cxxi] Under some if its definitions, including in its descriptive sense

[cxxii] And hence internally inconsistent

[cxxiii] Further analysis and discussion is available at: Kneen, A. (2012) ‘Multiculturalism’: The Uses and Abuses of a Cliché. Washington Summit Publishers: USA

[cxxiv] Although these were not frequently given as the main definition of the term ‘racism’ in sources such as dictionaries, they were frequently given in the definitions as elements by people and are also found to be strongly associated in the surrounding discourse. These ideas are also frequently found in the discourse surrounding the term ‘multiculturalism’ in which ‘multiculturalism’ is held as being in opposition or contrast to such violence and genocide, e.g. see Perilli discussing ‘multiculturalism’ as being opposed to genocide and violence http://spacing.ca/toronto/2009/03/20/monument-to-multiculturalism/

[cxxv] Children are accused of ‘racism’ (and occasionally arrested) for such innocuous remarks and questions, e.g. see: Melanie Phillips Daily Mail 12th February 2012


[cxxvi] As opposed to the ‘power of word’s being because of the force of explaining truth and/or rational debate (with high referentiality terms), etc.

[cxxvii] Of course, with his term being so powerful at present the old associations of meaning would adhere for many, and this could not be conducted immediately for all of those who are currently controlled by this term.

[cxxviii] Other issues would become more transparent also, including unwarranted attributions, etc. For example, were the term to be solely defined as ‘hatred’, then were a small child to ask an innocent question this would not so readily be associated hate, nor with evil and genocide. Also, which social and political policies were more aptly labelled as being motivated by and/or facilitating hatred (or genocide) might more easily be seen.

[cxxix] E.g. see: Franz Boas 1887 “Museums of Ethnology and Their Classification” Science 9: 589

It is thought that although frequently attributed to Boas, he possibly did not actually use the term “cultural relativism.” It is claimed that the first use of the term was in the journal American Anthropologist in 1948, after Boas’ death in 1942. However, it is claimed that the term was used as a result of the ideas of Boas

[cxxx] I.e. that would mean that the term was either defined with a  falsehood or as a tautology

[cxxxi] And who does not? Holding this as a value would in itself contradict the idea of the holder having no values anyway.

[cxxxiii] See: Sandall, R. (2001) The Culture Cult: On Designer Tribalism and Other Essays. Westview Press: Oxford. Some define ‘multiculturalism’ as the Culture Cult, e.g. also see Dutton, E. (2012) Culture Shock and Multiculturalism. Reclaiming a Useful Model from the Religious Realm. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK.

[cxxxiv] This could fall under some definitions of ‘racism’ (hence presenting, amongst other things, further inconsistencies)

[cxxxv] E.g. inconsistent with many ‘multiculturalism’ definitions – including those variants of Element Seven that hold all cultures are of equal value, one of which is the Culture Cult (also see Element One above).

[cxxxvi] Also one wonders why a government would want to implement this against its own people – or why they (or anyone) would celebrate this?

[cxxxvii] Either per se and/or in the context of mass immigration

[cxxxviii] In some contexts this could be migration if no national borders were crossed, but in Britain this is only caused by the results of immigration. In some cases this could be caused by amalgamation of areas/countries into one. However, for tangible space to be shared there must still be movement of people. In these cases, even if there were not such movement, intangible space would be problematic in some contexts (see Element One).

[cxxxix] Some definitions of the term actually specify that it is a political policy, but such definitions usually do not state it is merely the results of the policy of immigration. For example, one dictionary defines ‘multiculturalism’ as: ‘ the policy of accommodating any number of distinct cultures within one society without prejudice or discrimination’ (Chambers Concise Dictionary, 1991. Cambridge, UK) which defines the term as a policy, but not merely as the policy of immigration (and/or its results)

[cxl] The idea that ‘diversity’ needs to be dealt with implies it is problematic – but what about Element Three? Is this potential for problems not inconsistent with its celebration?

[cxlii] Of course, as with all relevant alterations, the exact problems are dependent upon the qualitative and quantitative measures. Not all immigrants are the same, and different numbers present different issues. Also see Daily Mail 22nd April 2010: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1264963/Migrant-citys-help-Anguished-letter-Brown-Cameron-reveals-devastating-toll-immigration.html


[cxliii] This idea of immigration as vengeance is frequently found to be stated during debates with pro-immigration speakers. Also see: Browne, A. (2005) Do We Need Mass Immigration? (second edition) Civitas: London

[cxliv] For example, there are reports of various politicians bemoaning ‘multiculturalism’ (reportedly including David Cameron) – in these cases it is not clear exactly how they are defining the term, and also in some cases one needs to be careful with translations, (e.g. with some of the foreign speakers).

[cxlv] One could perhaps believe that the term ‘multiculturalism’ refers to the state of not being homogenised. This would present a rational definition of the term – however, this is not a definition that is found in the dictionaries, interviews, literature, etc. Were the term to now become so defined, then the dilemma of cultural contact, amongst other things, might become more apparent to many.

[cxlvi] E.g. reductions in fraternity, lower social capital, more unhappiness, etc.

[cxlvii] E.g. also the many ‘multiculturalism’ academics, etc.

[cxlviii] And of course some such harms could be viewed as both, e.g. the lack of solidarity could be viewed as harm in itself, and also as causing other indirect harms. Also see David Goodhart Guardian 24th February 2004:


[cxlix] E.g. see Steinlight, S. October 2001 Report: The Jewish Stake in America’s Changing Demography, Center for Immigration Studies

[cli] Hence possibly reducing useful productivity, creativity, political challenge and improvement, etc.

[clii] See Element One above – even if there is ‘preservation of culture’ to whatever extent is possible, there has to be some alteration (s) in at least some one’s culture. At the very least a homogenous group is no longer so.

[cliii] A fact shown in reality, and also assumed by Element One

[cliv] This labelled as ‘genocide’ by some. Of course, the exact definition of the term ‘genocide’ is relevant, but many definitions do not require there to be physical violence, merely the reduction in numbers of a group (some requiring intent). For example, one type of action that qualifies as genocide according to the definition as given by the United Nations is: the act of deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group (see Article 2). Under this definition not only does the political policy of mass immigration possibly qualify as a genocidal act (intent-dependent), but many of the academics, media, politicians and other experts appear to probably be guilty of ‘complicity in genocide’ (an international crime under Article 3). The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. This can be viewed online at various sites, including that of the UN. Under other definitions of genocide only the destruction (in whole or part) is relevant – not the intent etc.

[clv] E.g. see: Podhoretz, N. (1963) My Negro Problem and Ours. New York: American Jewish Committee. Norman Podhoretz was Editor-in-Chief of Commentary (1965-1995), advisor to the U.S. Information Agency (1981-1987) and Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute (1995-2003). George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and he was Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Rudy Giuliani in 2008 (amongst many other accomplishments and acknowledgements)

[clvii] And this is true whatever the nomenclature used, e.g. ‘assimilation’, ‘creolisation’, ‘integration’, ‘métissage’, ‘homogenisation’, ‘absorption’, etc. Of course, the plethora of terms in this context (and those frequently having unclear meanings), is another factor that tends to confuse and obscure. Some discuss various social and political polices as being genocidal, (although the label used is not the most important factor here) e.g. the assimilation of Australians is so discussed by some. Former Australian Prime Minister (1975-1983), Malcolm Fraser, has allegedly claimed that if the purpose of a political policy is the total absorption of one group into another, and hence its disappearance, then the political policy(s) in question should be considered as genocide, e.g. see The Age 7th July, 1997. Also see: Geoffrey Robertson in the Guardian 14th February 2008 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/14/australia

[clviii] It is felt by most people that these two choices are both harmful. However, some celebrate the loss of existence of a race of people and/or the loss of the not directly people-based aspects of culture of a group. E.g. see:  BadEagle.com, 16th June 2009 at: http://www.badeagle.com/2009/06/16/the-hated-white-race/

[clix] Experiencing a term includes hearing it, reading it, knowing it, etc.

[clx] E.g. see: Marková, I. (2003) Dialogicality and Social Representations. The Dynamics of Mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

[clxi] Herbert Marcuse discusses the manner in which images can replace concepts, e.g. see Marcuse, H. (1964) One-Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon Press

[clxii] Moscovici, S. (2000) Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology. Translated by G. Duveen. Polity Press, Cambridge University

[clxiii] Such images are widespread in western culture. typified by the Hilltop Coca-Cola advertisement, e.g. see http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/about-us/coca-cola-corporate-blog/ted-ryan-id-like-to-buy-the-world-a-coke.html. For example, one furniture company used a similar idea in a 2012 advertisement see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ODfJdVrNE and they state they believe in ‘celebrating the diversity’ and ‘equality for all’, etc.. Also see for example:


These images are frequently associated with the relevant mantras/elements, e.g. see: http://www.diannesdaycare.com/

http://www.decaturclassical.org/wiki/doku.php etc.

Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech also drew on such imagery.

[clxiv] Parallel to the social representation of gender being constituted by ‘boy/girl’ figurative nucleus, e.g. see: See Duveen, G. and Lloyd, B. (1990), Social Representations and the Development of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Such dichotomies are characteristic of propaganda, e.g. see:  Moscovici, S. (2008) Psychoanalysis. Its Image and Its Public. Translated by D. Macey. Edited with an introduction by G. Duveen.  Polity Press, Cambridge

[clxv] This social representation is dominant in both frequency and effect and is of the type termed by Moscovici as a “hegemonic” representation – see Moscovici, S. (1988) Notes Towards a Description of Social Representations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 18. 211-259

[clxvi] The malleable nature of reality, perception dependent upon how it is described is discussed by some, e.g. see: Scruton, R. (2006) A Political Philosophy. London: Continuum

[clxvii] Some cultures do not allow such mixing of the genders, or even singing at all.

[clxviii] Are ham sandwiches allowed? With shandy? And who serves the food – which people and speaking which language (s)? For disparities in representation in certain activities see for example: Gellner, E. (1983) Nations and Nationalism. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford: United Kingdom

[clxix] These four all largely inversionist in their identity claims

[clxx] The identity function of social representations is discussed by social representation theorists such as Dr Gerard Duveen, e.g. see Moscovici, 2000 ibid. These could be viewed as identities in the sense of narratives available and in relation to which an individual will position himself

[clxxi] Also see: Sowell, T. (2009) Intellectuals and Society. Basic Books, Perseus Books Group: New York

[clxxii] Not only do judges and others working in law, (e.g. CPS, police, etc.)  use the nebulous-power-word ‘multiculturalism’, but also the nebulous-power-word ‘racism’, e.g. see: BBC News, 30th March 2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17562016

[clxxiii] Also see: Anthony, A. (2008) The Fallout. How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence. Vintage Books: London; Bawer, B. (2006) While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West From Within. Doubleday, Random House: New York (especially pages 64-5).

[clxxiv] These issues illustrate that such ‘niceness’ is not necessarily admirable, honourable or moral, etc. In these senses, ‘nice’ can be not nice (!) – and hence this identity narrative has an inversionist nature

[clxxv] Financial and otherwise

[clxxvi] Other behaviours that might be classed as ‘not nice’ can be witnessed in the treatment by the ‘nicers’ of those deemed to be ‘racist’

[clxxvii] Including feelings of moral superiority

[clxxix] Also see: Glazov, J. (2009) United in Hate. The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror. Los Angeles, CA: WND Books; Rossiter, L. H. (2006) The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness. Free World Books, LLC, St. Charles, IL: United States of America

[clxxx] Also see: Scruton, R. (2010) The Uses of Pessimism and the Dangers of False Hope. Atlantic Books: UK.

[clxxxi] This is not to claim that all immigrants draw on this voice

[clxxxii] Also see: Steele, S. (2008) A Bound Man. Free Press: New York

[clxxxiii] There is much research on conformity factors per se, e.g. see: Asch, S. E. (1951) “Effects of Group Pressure Upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgement”. In H. Guetzkow (Ed.) Groups, Leadership and Men. Carnegie: Pittsburgh; Asch, S. E. (1955) “Opinions and Social Pressure”. Scientific American, 193(5), 31-35; Asch, S. E. (1956) “Studies of Independence and Conformity. A Minority of One Against Unanimous Majority”. Psychological Monographs, 70

[clxxxiv] E.g. more profitable (career-wise, etc.)

[clxxxv] The attacks found to occur in this context are not only physical attacks on people and property, but are found to occur by other means – including verbal, financial and legalistic attacks, etc.

[clxxxvi] This phenomenon was found to be widespread during the author’s research, and can be seen in everyday life: even though they act in such a manner as not to be accused of ‘racism’ and they might tell you that they are not ‘racist’, if one asks them for a definition of the term many people cannot give one (also true for ‘multiculturalism’, but the emotion is of course reversed and less strong).

[clxxxvii] Hence the high level of inversionism that is associated with these terms – clear high referentiality definitions would inhibit inversionism

[clxxxviii] ‘How we bought it’. Also see: Kupelian, D. (2005) The Marketing of Evil. How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom. WND Books, Washington, D.C.: USA (especially pages 99-103)

[clxxxix] The manner in which new methods have achieved almost total control is discussed by many authors. A number of people refer to recent socio-political environments as a new form of totalitarianism. Also see: H. Colebatch The Australian 21st April 2009:


Huntford, R.  (1971) The New Totalitarians. New York: Stein and Day Publishers

Boot, A. (2006) How The West Was Lost, London: I. B. Tauris Publishers

[cxc] Nebulous-power-words are useful tools, but will only be useful as long as they are useful (!). In some cases a nebulous-power-word might no longer be useful in the sense that its function has been achieved and it is hence not necessary any more – e.g. such a term might be used to stall, control, distract, confuse, etc. while certain objectives are achieved. In other circumstances, a nebulous-power-word might be no longer useful in the sense of it not being able to fulfil its function any more. This could occur because of one or more of many possible reasons – such as the term being exposed, certain real events occurring, or the emotional power failing, etc. When a nebulous-power-word is no longer useful it might be discarded/ignored and/or critiqued and/or have its meaning (emotional and/or otherwise) switched; etc. In some circumstances a replacement might be more useful. It could be the case that the nebulous-power-word ‘multiculturalism’ will soon be replaced by another problematic term such as ‘interculturalism’. Whatever terms are used to discuss significant social and political issues, people should require high referentiality definitions – such clear terminology would reduce the chances of obfuscation, inversionism, manipulation and control (amongst other matters).

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2 Responses to ‘Multiculturalism’ – uses and abuses of a modern cliche

  1. The problem with cultural relativity is that it implies an objective viewpoint from which some exalted souls can make the judgement of such relativity. Objectivity, however, is transcendental to the day-to-day lived-through experience which is all we have to build a working model of reality by. (We do have also the results of quantum physics experiments, which tell us what Kant and Husserl told us, that reality-in-itself is different from the model of reality we build through our shared experiences of it.)

    No human can claim an objective viewpoint. The closest we have is intersubjectivity, a truly common sense made up of what most people agree constitutes their experience of reality, which is in opposition to the “objective” viewpoint pedaled to us by elitist groups who want to consolidate their social and cultural hegemony by “re-imagining” our world for us. Hence the howls of protest and derision when somebody claims that something is what it seems to most people to be – “a crime is a crime is a crime” is a good example. Most people in Britain agree that traditional British culture is a good enough standard to guide our lives by, hence the hatred of elites for most people in Britain.

  2. David Ashton says:

    Thanks to TQR for this informative addition to my collected literature on this subject over 60 years, from membership of the then academic (subsequently subverted) Institute of Race Relations, through “infiltration” of the leftist “agenda-working” (their own word for conspiracy) in education, co-foundation of Majority Rights, to my forthcoming resignation from the (long subverted) Royal Anthropological Institute.

    My personal experience, in crude summary, of “terms” used as tools, a major object of which all along was the destruction of English nationhood, was that “anti-racism” preceded “multiculturalism”, the former originally designed initially to “integrate” black immigrants, mainly from the West Indies, and the latter subsequently developed to accommodate Asian immigrants, who did not have similar religious and linguistic backgrounds. The two notions were fused together in various ways, and of course sectarian disputes arose.

    The Marcusean doctrine of western revolution, via students, and ethnic & sexual minorities, has morphed through “political correctness” into “our own” state ideology of “equality and diversity”, enforced formally through legislation and informally through schools and television.

    Several early events stick in my memory, e.g.:

    The propaganda literature, “Here to Stay – Here to Fight!”
    Professor Parekh telling us de haut en bas that it was essential to “sugar his pill to get the [recalcitrant] Englishman to swallow it”.
    The Institute of Education lecturer who explained that it was important to secure the maximum possible number of South Asian immigrants into Britain, and the maximum suppression of opposition, because the destruction of English “racism” was the overriding priority, while Muslim “sexism” could be dealt with later.
    My instructions as a Head of English to disregard the Swann Report requirement of “survival English classes” for recent illiterate immigrants from Bangladesh on the grounds that this was “racist”.
    The extraordinary subversion of the National Curriculum Committees to secure and implement almost the exact opposite of what the Conservative ministers actually wanted.

    It is a long, gruesome story, which I am trying to document in a book with the title “The Murder of England?” which I hope to publish before I or my ancestral nation finally perishes, whichever.

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