Where has multiculturalism been successful ?

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,907
What are cases of success ?... What are cases of failure ? What is the rough ratio of success to failure


Here is a case of failure (Malmo , Sweden)


Multiple cases of failure are related to the breakdown of empires (for example Austria Hungary) or even countries (Yugoslavia)

The difficulty lies in defining "multiculturalism"

Mulitculturalism is defined as the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

The key point here is "distinct" , i.e. not integrated with the mainstream culture of the country..... As always it is difficult to define such concepts precisely... For example having a different diet is "not it", whilst not speaking the country's official language "is it"..... Importing different sets of customs that do not align with the country's traditions and core values would be "it" as well
Malmö is too complex to have any kind of single-factor explanation, certainly including "multiculturalism".

The elephant in the room, if that's still a thing even, is that it is Sweden's "southern gateway" and has a proportionally large immigrant population. But we all knew that since twenty years or more.

But otoh one problem isn't immigrants per se, but that Sweden doggedly (and certainly with some good arguments as well) continues to maintain a distinctly high-wage, high-skill labour market. Entry-level jobs requiring no or little qualifications hardly exist. It's nothing like Germany, which has Europe's largest low-wage sector. This has effects for how and when immigrants can successfully enter into the national labour force, and doing that is a know key to integration.
What no one so far can explain is why the sudden, massive upsurge in violence? Yes, there has been gangs and drug dealing for quite some time there. That's hardly unique among the rougher cities of Europe. Just the recent upsurge in violence is.

Sure, Sweden there are plenty of privately owned weapons in Sweden, it's one of the better armed countries in Europe. But again, it's not unique. And besides, it IS Malmö that sticks out. The two other major cities, Göteborg and Stockholm, have declining violent crime rates. (And lots of immigrants too, for all that matters. Göteborg has been the Swedish Violent Crime Capital for some generations too, only to suddenly be overtaken by Malmö). There is an aspect to this that there is substantial illegal imports of firearms and explosives, military grade, from the Balkans (former Yugoslavia). That's where a lot of it comes from.

What does get commented on by police, sociologists et al. trying to get their heads around the situation, is that there is an apparent vicious cycle that started a while ago, has escalated, the young men involved in this kind of alternative criminal life-style in the underprivileged neighbourhoods are caught up in it, and – interestingly – they are not just being killed, but are sounding the alarm themselves over the situation, which has developed into something they did not expect, did not want, but have no way of getting out of.

What police describes is a situation where "gangs" is a bit generous, since that implies a certain formality and hierarchy. These are more loose sets of groups of friends and individuals, young men on the margins of society, who are engaged in fairly petty criminal activity, but has escalated violence to a level where deadly forces is the first recourse, weapons and explosives abound, idiotic tiny slights (sometimes imagined, someone looked at someone else's girlfriend, maybe, the wrong way) are met with massive disproportionate and deadly violence. Deadly feuds are entertained where the parties no longer recall the reasons, except the body of the latest mate has to be avenged by whacking one of the other group. And the people involved in this realize that it is super dangerous, deadly, shitty survival prospects for everyone, and yet they are unable to end the cycle. It is also then being fed by the fact that since propensity for deadly violence has become a way of climbing a prestige ladder. Even younger newcomers can quickly establish themselves by being even more outrageously prepared to just kill some dude they don't even know because reasons y'know... And so they have escalated the vicious cycle even further.

That does of course imply a massive policing problem. And that would be the case. Swedish police has been massively re-organized while this trend was getting started, and it has completely failed to be either present enough to avert anything, or good enough at catching the killers to make it stop. The gang-warfare now can continue because the police is unable to get inside the circle of information of who is killing whom why, and as a consequence the spiral of violence within these marginalised groups of petty crims continue. If you kill the "right" kind of person in certain neighbourhoods in Malmö, you will almost certainly get away with it.

However, for perspective, while this is all bad, and historically new to Sweden, it is not exactly historically new. It is the kind of stuff that retrospectively gets mythologized, and not necessarily that far in retrospect:
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Last edited:
Aug 2018
586
Southern Indiana
Brazil, Singapore, Trinidad, Canada, numerous African countries have populations that speak different languages and are from different cultures/tribes.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,218
Lisbon, Portugal
Singapore enjoy an overall economical over-culture which allows the real cultures to cohabit. This essay is very interesting : The Myth of Multiculturalism in Singapore

In particular I tend to share this analysis:
Thank you for the insightful article that you sent me, really interesting and intellectually stimulating.

Of course the idea of Multiculturalism is part of the mythologized national identity of Singapore. Nations depend on myths and constructive narratives, in Singapore case they use Multiculturalism which is mostly based on a sort of a sterilized inter-ethnic relations between the nation's different races, just as in Japan they use the narrative of a single pure race and common people which is also mostly based on certain constructed myths that most of the time denies and ignores the existence of a more diverse people that inhabit the Japanese islands.

In succinct, the myth of multiculturalism in Singapore works in general and it's working, as much as the myth of a single mono-cultural Japan also works well.
 
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Jul 2019
173
Ghana
Brazil, Singapore, Trinidad, Canada, numerous African countries have populations that speak different languages and are from different cultures/tribes.
Very true... In Ghana we have between 80 and 250 languages, depending on how you count, as well as 70 distinct ethnic groups. Even within my own tribe, there are 2 distinct, non-mutually intelligible languages, because of different groups coming together to form a single entity almost 300 years ago, with older (relict) parts retaining some of their original customs including language. (In Akuapem, Akuapem Twi is spoken as well as Guang language). The name "Akuapem" itself comes from "Akuw Apem", which means "a Thousand Forces", referring to the diversity of the original alliance, now under a single umbrella. Intermarriage is very common across all the tribes. Of course there are also frictions, but all in all, in Ghana it's really not so bad. In other countries it can be a lot worse, almost always because of politics weaponizing differences, instead of building bridges. Even economic interests usually play a key role in sudden upticks of ethnic violence on the continent, whether it's about pasture, farmlands or precious minerals and lucrative contracts. Tribalism is usually not the cause, but a tool which is used by unscrupulous people across the board, much like religion is used for similar divisive purposes. It's not the tribal structure, the religion, or the diversity in a society that determines it's success. It's its ability to be governed successfully, which is determined by incredibly complex factors of which multiculturalism is only one facet. Something which can be an asset, or a liablity, depending on how it's managed. But I think that has been said a few times in this thread already. Basically, it depends...
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,058
But that “technicality” was not the point, the point of my comment was that the Spanish is a language spoken as native language by a significant minority of the population (a bit more than 58 million persons according to Wikipedia – see bottom), it is the second language of the country, it is growing, has strong historical roots (even previous than the English), and yet apparently is still seen as alien by many English speakers in the USA, as your expression seemed to show, even if there is already government documentation in Spanish, but seems still much "ignored" in the schools as second language (read here basic and high school) and seen as foreign.
having several languages in a country is a recipe for problems

I wanted to make a thread about "language as a defensive weapon" but did not get around to it... You'll notice that several countries once they became independent moved to get rid of the language of their ex imperial power and reinstate ONE other language (that is the case for example in Algeria where arabic -but bot berber- was reinstated).... A separate language makes conquest and assimilation more difficult

what you advocate is that once a minority is sufficiently numerous -below 20% in the case of spanish speakers in the US- (even if it is composed of a large number of illegals) the host country must move to instate that minority's language a "second language"... This would mean arabic, for many european countries... perhaps Chinese for Australia etc....
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,058
Brazil, Singapore, Trinidad, Canada, numerous African countries have populations that speak different languages and are from different cultures/tribes.
Canada has only 2 languages, the second one being French and mostly limited to Quebec... And Quebec has a strong independence (so far unsuccesful) movement

Numerous african countries are in strife.... The worst example of strife having been that of Rwanda and its genocide.... We have a poster from Nigeria who several times made the point that it would make sense for Nigeria to be several countries

What are the different langauges spoken in Brazil ?
 
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Jul 2019
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Ghana
The worst example of strife having been that of Rwanda and its genocide....
Rwanda has turned into an African success story, in spite of it's past genocide, which was driven by politics, more than an intrinsic desire of different groups to kill each other off...

We have a poster from Nigeria who several times made the point that it would make sense for Nigeria to be several countries
The poster from Nigeria doesn't advocate splitting the country along each and every ethnic, tribal, linguistic or religious line, that would be impossible. There are c. 500 languages alone... He's rather advocating a more sensible split between what feel like essentially different countries, which in themselves would still constitute an enormous amount of diversity, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and tribal... They would still be very much multicultural countries and societies, in the most literal sense...

What are the different langauges spoken in Brazil ?
Portuguese is the official and national language of Brazil[5] and is widely spoken by most of the population. The Portuguese dialects spoken in Brazil are collectively known as Brazilian Portuguese. The Brazilian Sign Language also has official status at the federal level.

Aside from Portuguese, the country has also numerous minority languages, including indigenous languages, such as Nheengatu (a descendant of Tupi), and languages of more recent European and Asian immigrants, such as Italian, German and Japanese. In some municipalities, those minor languages have official status: Nheengatu, for example, is an official language in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, while a number of German dialects are official in nine southern municipalities. Riograndenser Hunsrückisch is a German dialect unique to Brazil, which has official status in Antônio Carlos and Santa Maria do Herval.

As of 2019, the population of Brazil speaks or signs approximately 228 languages, of which 217 are indigenous and 11 came with immigrants.[6] In 2005, fewer than 40,000 people (about 0.02% of the population at the time) spoke any of the indigenous languages.[7]
Of course, Portuguese is dominant, but even then, there are some significantly divergent dialects depending on the region. It's a huge country...
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,058
Rwanda has turned into an African success story, in spite of it's past genocide, which was driven by politics, more than an intrinsic desire of different groups to kill each other off...

The scale and brutality of the massacre caused shock worldwide... Most of the victims were killed in their own villages or towns, many by their neighbors and fellow villagers. Hutu gangs searched out victims hiding in churches and school buildings. The militia murdered victims with machetes and rifles. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, about 70% of the Tutsi population


It has only been 25 years since the genocide , so a bit early to declare Rwanda (GDP per capita under $800 per year , bottom 20 of all countries worldwide) a "success story"

Genocides are always driven by politics, but in the Rwandan case individuals took matters in their own hands and actively participated in the slaughter .... A clear case where multiculturalism has failed big time....
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,140
Portugal
having several languages in a country is a recipe for problems
There are countries that deal with that better than others.

I wanted to make a thread about "language as a defensive weapon" but did not get around to it... You'll notice that several countries once they became independent moved to get rid of the language of their ex imperial power and reinstate ONE other language (that is the case for example in Algeria where arabic -but bot berber- was reinstated).... A separate language makes conquest and assimilation more difficult
Some comments of my part here, and it seems that you don’t consider as I the official language a “technicality”:

All the countries in America that became independent didn’t get rid of the language of the imperial power. Much of the same happened in Africa, on a lesser scale, since Africa’s colonization was quite short (in some countries less than a century).

The case of Algeria, that you mention, is a case of the maintenance of the language of imperial powers that controlled the territory much more time than France, and besides that has a religious significance, even if the French has still a strong presence there.

And yes, I agree with you in the last sentence, “A separate language makes conquest and assimilation more difficult”. If conquest or assimilation are objectives... that is other political question.

what you advocate is that once a minority is sufficiently numerous -below 20% in the case of spanish speakers in the US- (even if it is composed of a large number of illegals) the host country must move to instate that minority's language a "second language"... This would mean arabic, for many european countries... perhaps Chinese for Australia etc....
Not exactly. You are saying that the country must move to a second language. In the case of the USA, the USA don’t need to move to a second language. The Spanish is already the second language there. And in many states it even predates the English.

As for the number of illegals, I don’t know if those 58 million people that Wikipedia mention are illegal or not. I would think that if we add the illegals that number would rise, but I don’t know the statistics, the number that I mentioned is from the link that I provided.

As for the Arabic being de facto the second language in some European countries, I don’t know: In France is the third (according to this: Languages of France - Wikipedia, but the number of Portuguese speakers there is quite underrated, so the number of Arabic can also be). I also don’t know the number of Chinese speakers in Australia. But those countries have a different situation that the USA: They have official languages.

I also think that the Chinese migration to Australia is also a bit more recent. So we still aren’t aware of its effects.

What are the different langauges spoken in Brazil ?
Besides the pre-Columbian languages in the South of Brazil there were areas where the German migration was quite intense, and the German culture is quite present in the culture and architecture, and as Sundiata1 mentioned, a German dialect is still spoken and recognized.