Cultural Anthropology

Assessing Population Integration Models Mosaic vs Melting Pot



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It is obvious that the world has become a "Global Village" with the evolution of global transportation/travel and international commerce aided by the Internet and other forms of instant communication, not to mention the socio/political effects of organizations such as NATO and the UN in creating common allies and common enemies in war and in peacekeeping in far-flung areas of the world.

In Canada we speak of a "Mosaic" of different cultures; whereas, the U.S.A. is described as a"Melting Pot" whose primary purpose is to become a single culture. I am sure that similar comparisons could be made of the cultural identities in countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere. By comparison to the Canadian "Mosaic", the "Melting Pot" model as shown in the U.S.A. demands relinquishing one's past individual cultural identity and assuming a new "identity" and allegiance to the cause(s) of the United States of America.

The "Mosaic" model is built on the premise that it is expected that differences in individual heritage and group ethnicity will be respected, protected and celebrated and that this "diversity" will somehow strengthen the country. A "Mosaic" is seen as a group of "distinct cultures within a culture", each with its own identity, that will somehow come together voluntarily and cooperatively on issues that impact on the progress of the society and for the common good of the country. Although historically the "Mosaic" model has worked surprisingly well over the past 139 years, "diversity" is a very difficult balancing act as it attempts to meet the needs of each of the various ethic groups in the country and, in the process, it consumes at great deal of economic and political capital by having to appease several different political agendas. While I am very proud to be a Canadian, in my view "diversity", by its very nature, divides rather than unites and it begs the question of: How much greater... ?; How much wealthier... ?; How much more...? could we have done had we not had this yoke of "diversity" hanging around our collective necks? At the risk of sounding totally cynical, "diversity" has become a "make-work" project for many Canadian politicians in our country.

On a world scale, critics have recently begun to blame some of the serious current social problems in Britain and Holland (and elsewhere, including Canada) on the past and present liberal immigration policies that are based upon policies of "diversity". According to some, it has literally and figuratively destroyed the social fabric of the respective nations. While Canada is still a "work in progress" and we need skilled immigrants to continue to develop and prosper, it is time that we conducted a critical examination of our current immigration and citizenship policies and revised them with a view to creating one culture, one set of values and beliefs and one nation. While Canada has enjoyed a rich history under liberal immigration policies and immigrants have obviously made this country what it is (in terms of our national transportation systems, our cultural identity and our internal presence on the world stage, etc.), it is time to test the validity of the "Mosaic" model in the context of our modern world. Observation of recent events in Holland and Britain suggest that the "Mosaic" model needs to be revised or abandoned altogether in favor of another model that is in tune with the realities of today.

While Holland and, perhaps to a lesser extent Britain, seem to want to "put the genie back into the bottle" by reverting back to their "pure" ethnicity, I for one do not think that it can happen. While I am proud of my Canadian heritage, it is my view that it is time for countries like Canada, Britain and Holland to reinvent themselves in order to continue to prosper. To do this, they have to be willing to look at a new and different societal model, whether its the "Melting Pot" model or some other model. If we have the political will to reshape the cultural values and beliefs of our respective countries, we will evolve into even stronger group of allied nations politically and economically so that we can advance the cause of democracy, not through war, but through sharing our wealth with developing third world nations.

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