Multiculturalism was once a good thing - people learned about the world outside their own neighborhoods - but it has become bad. Instead of being a positive, multiculturalism is often invoked by people with an agenda; people who want to promote division among their constituents note that the majority will homogenize their beliefs while people against immigration complain about pockets of foreign nationals with unknown motivations inside their cities.

America has an illegal alien problem while Europe has a legal one - they are happy to let foreign people enter and do low-wage jobs and pay taxes for a dwindling citizen population but those immigrants are Not Really European, and never will be. In America, illegal aliens come over the border to have a child that will be American but in Europe the path to citizenship is arbitrary. Because there are sometimes generations of people still not Europeans, they do not feel European - they do not integrate and so multiculturalism has become a negative in many European countries.

Multiculturalism is good for people who want to force women to dress like this, but bad for countries who think it should be a choice. Credit: Wikipedia

A new paper compared citizenship programs in four European nations - the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark - and concluded that multiculturalism has a primarily negative meaning now, but actual public policies designed to help ethnic minorities to integrate and remake citizenship remained in place and were, in fact, being expanded. 

Countries will create formal policies for citizenship and declare the issue resolved, but that does not mean citizenship is really possible. The authors found that, even in countries such as Denmark and Germany where multiculturalism was never formally adopted, some public policies were being developed to recognize minority communities and facilitate their participation in the labor market, educational systems and other key social sectors at local and national levels.  Europeans love to insist that Americans should just give amnesty to people who got into the United States illegally but they won't even give citizenship to their legal residents. 

In countries where some multiculturalism has formally been adopted, such as the UK and the Netherlands, the picture was more mixed but showed that newer approaches, such as civic integration - including citizenship education, naturalization ceremonies and language classes - also built on and developed multiculturalism rather than erasing it. National identities have been remade in light of it - players of Indian descent can even get on the British cricket team now. 

Dr. Nasar Meer, a Reader in Comparative Social Policy and Citizenship at the University of Strathclyde, lead author of the paper, said, "As European societies have become more diverse, the task of developing an inclusive citizenship has become increasingly important. In recent years, however, there has been a backlash against multiculturalism as path to achieving this.

"The reasons for this include the way that, in some countries, multiculturalism is seen to have facilitated social fragmentation and entrenched social divisions, while for others, it has distracted attention away from socio-economic disparities or encouraged a moral hesitancy amongst 'native' populations. Some have even blamed it for incidents of international terrorism."

Dr. Daniel Faas, of Trinity College Dublin's Department of Sociology, a co-author of the research, said, "Legislations have become more inclusive of diversity, and the large anti-far right demonstrations highlight the solidarity with migrants, but also show that multiculturalism is a fragile concept there."

Meer added, "Our study clearly shows that, where there have been advances in policies of multiculturalism, these have not been repealed uniformly, or on occasion not at all, but may equally have been supplemented by being 'balanced out' in, or thickened by, civic integrationist approaches."

Published in American Behavioral Scientist.