Samuel Abrahám: Multiculturalism was originally an affirmative term indicating the diversity of the “melting pot”. Today, however, it has come to be associated with ethnic ghettoes. Rather than celebrating difference and creating respect for pluralism, multiculturalism has brought new conflicts. Kenan Malik, what went wrong?
Kenan Malik: It seems to me that part of the problem is confusion over what we mean by multiculturalism. It can mean one of two things. First: diversity as lived experience. Second: multiculturalism as a political process. To talk of diversity as lived experience is to talk of the experience of living in a society that, through mass immigration, has become more open, more vibrant and more cosmopolitan. In that sense, the mass immigration of the past 50 years has been of great benefit, it seems to me. But multiculturalism as a political process has come to mean something very different, namely the process of managing that diversity by putting people into ethnic boxes. It's a process through which cultural differences are institutionalized, publicly affirmed, recognized and institutionalized; through which political policy is predicated on the ethnic box to which one belongs. That seems to me deeply problematic.
more from Kenan Malik and Fero Sebej at Eurozine here.