Introduction and Background
The contemporary globalized world of today has brought about many changes in the world. One of the most important consequence is the removal of geographic boundaries of the different territories. Many people have left their home country and settled in different parts of the world for many different reasons, but mainly due to employment purposes (Hansen, 2017). This has led to the intermingling of people from different cultural backgrounds, different ethnicities and different believes. This gave birth to the concept of multiculturalism which is a political philosophical ideology. This paper seeks to discuss the various policies adopted by the United States of America and Canada with respect to the dominant prevalence of multiculturalism. The paper will analyze several scholarly article sand will make a detailed evaluation of such analyses which deals with multiculturalism in these two countries. It will finally conclude with the importance and significance of multiculturalism in the contemporary world.
The significance of this topic is that multiculturalism has a wide prevalence in the contemporary period. Almost every nation of the world has people of different cultural background. Since it is the primary duty of the State to serve its citizens, the States need to formulate policies which will respect the existence of multiculturalism and fulfill the needs of its citizens without discrimination.
Summary of Sources researched
Through the years, Canada became a host to many different ethnicities. People migrated to Canada for various reasons and built a home there. To accommodate these people and to prevent the outbreak of any conflicts among the people belonging to different cultures, the Government of Canada framed several important policies to uphold the spirit of multiculturalism. Canada is home to more than two hundred different ethnic backgrounds. According to Guo & Wong (2015), in the book “Revisiting multiculturalism in Canada: Theories, policies and debates” Canada passed its first policy for multiculturalism in 1971 known as the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. This policy laid to rest the conflict that emerged between the French in Quebec and the Englishmen in other parts of Canada. This paved the way for the formulation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988.
The harmonious presence of different ethnicities in Canada is lauded by many other nations of the world. According to Kenyeres (2014), in the article “Aspects of Canadian multiculturalism: history, policy, theory and impact”, Canada provides natural harmony among the people belonging to different cultural backgrounds. Canada framed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom in 1982, which provided with a section, Section 27, which upheld the soul of multiculturalism and made multiculturalism as one of the fundamental aspects of Canadian value. This provided the immigrants with relief, as any discrimination made against them is constitutionally illegal.
The policies related to multiculturalism are not as strong in the United States as they are in Canada. The United States of America does not have a separate multicultural policy as Canada does. According to Nieto (2017) in the article “Re-imagining multicultural education: New visions, new possibilities”, the policies for education vary widely across the different States within the country. Moreover, there is no fixed policy to accommodate the people belonging to different cultural backgrounds within the United States. The immigration policy has also been restricted severely with the changes in regime in the recent times.
Explanatory Analysis of Multiculturalism in Canada and the United States
The advent of multiculturalism necessitated an interference from the State Governments to formulate policies, which will help to maintain peace and harmony among the people belonging to different ethnicities and cultural background (Banks, 2014). Canada was the first country to incorporate a State backed policy for multiculturalism. It even went so far as to create a Multicultural Act to protect the citizens and to ensure that everyone is equal in the eyes of the State. However, Canada faces problems when it comes to the local units. Conflicts continue to exist in the local village units of Canada and the State policies to safeguard multiculturalism faces problem to penetrate deep down to the individual local units (Fleras, 2015).
The policies, which ensure multiculturalism in schools, is also very strong in Canada. A Directorate for Multiculturalism was founded in 1972 whose main aim is to integrate the children and the youth, coming from various cultural backgrounds, harmoniously in the educational curriculum (Fleras, 2015). The main motive behind this step is to uphold the universal principles of equity and diversity in its true spirit.
Another land mark within the sphere of multiculturalism in Canada is the decision of the Government of Canada to allow people for dual and multiple citizenship (Kenyeres, 2014). This policy meant that people who are already citizens of Canada, can acquire citizenship of another country as well, without the fear of losing her/his Canadian citizenship.
The Multiculturalism Act passed by the Government of Canada in 1988 incorporated a provision to maintain the different cultures existing in Canada (Guo & Wong 2015). The Act provides funds to the concerned authorities for such purposes, which will ensure that all the people of Canada feel included in this activity.
The United States is popularly known as the ‘melting pot’ of the world. People from diverse ethnicities and cultural backgrounds have found their home within this country and has made a living (Ansell, 2016). However, there is no fixed policy for safeguarding multiculturalism within the United States of America. A persistent conflict has ensued between the individuals of different racial background and this can be evidenced even in the contemporary world (Tyrrell, 2015). No policy has been framed to address this issue which gravely violates the tune of multiculturalism.
The United States of America also does not believe in the funding of various activities and organizations, which work for the integration of the immigrants in the mainstream society (Spring, 2016). The State has a clear policy of maintaining a neutral stand when it comes to giving support to the immigrants.
A commendable step taken by the Government of the United States is the provision of affirmative actions to the immigrants who are disadvantaged. The State does not make any discrimination while formulating policies which provides employment on the basis of education, race, gender or religion. Everyone is treated equally by the State.
Summary of Findings
Based on the analyses of the various scholarly articles, it can inferred that Canada has a strong policy on multiculturalism. The Government of Canada takes an active interest in the lives of the immigrants and continually finds out various steps and measures by which their standard of living and quality of life can be improved. On the other hand, the Government of the United Sates takes a neutral approach where the immigrants are concerned (Manning, Baruth & Lee, 2017). The United Sates does not have any formal policy on multiculturalism; however, it expects its citizens to uphold the spirit of equality as guaranteed by the Constitution.
To conclude, we can deduce that multiculturalism has gained a strong foothold in almost all the parts of the world. Many State Governments have taken positive action to safeguard the people of various cultural backgrounds residing within the concerned territory, such as Canada. Canada plays host to over two hundred different ethnicities and the Canadian Government has realized the importance of multiculturalism. The Government takes measures which ensures the harmonious relationship amongst the various cultures. United States on the other hand, has chosen to be neutral and has not framed an official policy on multiculturalism. However, the Government of the United States gives utmost priority to its Constitution, which clearly enshrines the spirit of equality. Equality is a universal human right, which is available to every individual, and the various State Governments must ensure that they do not breach on the human rights.
Ansell, A. E. (2016). New right, new racism: Race and reaction in the United States and Britain. Springer.
Banks, J. A. (2014). Diversity, group identity, and citizenship education in a global age. Journal of Education, 194(3), 1-12.
Fleras, A. (2015). Beyond Multiculturalism. In Revisiting Multiculturalism in Canada (pp. 311-334). SensePublishers, Rotterdam.
Guo, S., & Wong, L. (Eds.). (2015). Revisiting multiculturalism in Canada: Theories, policies and debates. Springer.
Hansen, R. (2017). Why Both the Left and the Right Are Wrong: Immigration and Multiculturalism in Canada. PS: Political Science & Politics, 50(3), 712-716.
Kenyeres, J. (2014). Aspects of Canadian multiculturalism: history, policy, theory and impact. Central European Journal of Canadian Studies. Vol 9 (27-44)
Manning, M. L., Baruth, L. G., & Lee, G. L. (2017). Multicultural education of children and adolescents. Taylor & Francis.
Nieto, S. (2017). Re-imagining multicultural education: New visions, new possibilities. Multicultural Education Review, 9(1), 1-10.
Spring, J. (2016). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality: A brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States. Routledge.
Tyrrell, I. (2015). Transnational nation: United States history in global perspective since 1789. Palgrave Macmillan Education.