Understanding Multiculturalism

Understanding Multiculturalism

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May 4, 2012
 

Removal of the unusual and exclusion of the non-conforming is the primary purpose of state-sponsored education. Aboriginal knowledge centers, on the other hand, stress the importance of making a place for everyone and everything.

Promoters of superficial education like to pride themselves on the practicality of career-oriented institutions of higher learning, but one look at the world they have created should give one pause to think. As aboriginal cultures understand, knowledge cannot be fast-tracked. The path to wisdom is a slow, arduous undertaking; as more of us are beginning to realize, short cuts in learning are literally dead ends.

One hears progressives promoting the melting-pot theory of social organization even today, long after that theory has been shown to undermine cultural diversity. The human dignity at the root of multiculturalism requires a respect for the sovereignty and self-determination of each unique people; while white supremacy denies different peoples equal rights as citizens, the melting-pot theory denies the human dignity of multiculturalism.

In the United States of America, we have equal rights as citizens, but we have unique rights as nations. As one country composed of many nations, our constitution recognizes these differences. The Anti-Indian message of racist organizations like One Nation United is an attack on Native American sovereignty. The melting-pot theory of homogeneity unwittingly aids and abets that message.

The root term of dominion defines the relationships of governance that the Continental Congress surmounted by threat of force; voluntary confederation of equals went out the window. Nostalgia for dominion — above and below the 49th parallel — is a desire to subsume multiculturalism to inherited privilege.

Using contemporary Europe as an example, the bedrock nations (i.e. Catalonia, Alba, Saami and Pais Basque) are achieving cultural and political autonomy through the principle of subsidiarity — governance at the most appropriate level — which enables civic participation and national identity to flourish alongside modern state constructs. The administrative overlay of states is less an identity than a fetish of centralized power, a power that now requires dissemination in order for democratic principles to prevail. Regional identities that recognize landscapes as integral to a sense of belonging, affiliation with place, as well as one’s pre-state heritage is an essential aspect of our mental health, and ultimately might undo the unhealthy governance customs of dominion, empire, and superpower.

But in order to achieve a more human state, we will first have to dispense with nostalgia for the dominant point of view. Today, genocide against tribal peoples involves more than just rape and murder. The practice of ethnic cleansing, for instance, entails forced removal of aboriginal nations from the lands and resources that give them their sustenance and identity. Once removed from their lands and resources, it becomes impossible to continue their indigenous way of life, thus rendering them something other than that to which they have evolved as collective societies.

Non-tribal people worldwide, having grown accustomed to the authority of the modern states that forceably displace tribal peoples for power and profit, are not only cognitively co-opted by this systematic crime against humanity; they are also largely oblivious to indigenous peoples’ existence as alternative systems of social organization. Despite there being over 500 million people living as tribal entities around the world, their non-aggression apparently makes them invisible.

It is perhaps the most tragic of paradoxes that in order to garner attention and respect, indigenous peoples are expected by dominant societies to behave as savagely as modern states. If we continue on this trajectory of relationships with aboriginal societies, we unfortunately might reap what we have sown.

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