Deep Multiculturalism is Oppressive

Many cultures around the world are patriarchal. In these cultures, women suffer sexist oppression. If multiculturalism represents the demand to accept, even promote multiple cultural traditions within a single jurisdiction, then enshrining multiculturalism in law and policy will almost always in some way limit the freedom of women (and others). In this way, multiculturalism runs counter to the humanist values of democracy, individual liberty, and personal sovereignty.

It is one thing to appreciate the food, music, art, and literature of other cultures. Indeed, life in a cultural plural society through which different tradition streams flow is highly desirable. Diversity can enrich our collective experiences. But freedom and democracy cannot thrive in a society segmented by religion and ethnicity; when the state permits cultural traditions to determine law and policy, then the state is sacrificing the individual on the altar of multiculturalism. This is unacceptable in a free society based on human rights and personal sovereignty.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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