The muddles of multiculturalism ”

The muddles of multiculturalism ”

After going through different critique parts of the report, I found that the main and central theme in Brain Barry report is reviewing or rethinking multiculturalism inadequacy, with some credible references as the international human rights documents and so on. In Brain views in the face of cultural diversity, not only individuals but also communities need to have rights.  In part one of the report, Mr Parekh argues that, the government should declare Britain to be a multicultural society; he further recommends that, the advantages of this are said to include encouraging organizations ‘to devise policies that. Public participation in formulating and suggesting policies and regulations can help the government to serve better and the gaps among community and government would be ideally shorten or almost none. Doing so will naturally promote diversity and equality. The reports which focus more on Britain suggest that, Britain is undoubtedly a multicultural society and has been since Neolithic times but it does not follow from this fact that there is any obligation on organizations to promote diversity; any more than there is an obligation on them to promote uniformity. The report recommends if equal treatment is understood to include appropriate acknowledgement of cultural differences the amount of diversity that comes about as a result of the choices people make will be the right amount.

Brain Barry in his report, state and elaborate the principle of non-discriminations; and the corresponding principle of equal opportunity. People living in a society regardless of their races, ethnicity, origin, culture, religious values and practices; they all and must be treated equally and the law should be the same for all. Brain Barry suggest that,  one has to concede to sustain these proposals is that people who are similarly circumstanced in all respects except morally irrelevant ones, such as membership of an ethnic  group, should not be treated differently by the police, have different employment opportunities, and so on. This principle of nondiscrimination is less likely to be flatly rejected in contemporary.

Lacking of anti-poverty measures is another critique which is elaborated and well argued in the report. It says, ‘poverty affects certain communities disproportionately’. But the implication that should be drawn is simply that those communities will benefit disproportionately (but fairly) from equally effective anti-poverty measures. None of this impugns the validity of the point, also made, that the same measures may be differentially effective.  Fair and equal job opportunities, health scheme, balanced services deliveries and so on are direly needed to promote a multicultural society. In a nutshell, everyone should be adhering to the core values of respect for diversity.

In regards lost opportunities, the survey report recommends setting up two new statutory bodies: an Equality Commission (incorporating and possessing stronger powers than the Commission for Racial Equality) to oversee the operation of a new Equality Act, comprehensively outlawing discrimination; and a Human Rights Commission ‘the functions of which would include the review of legislation, scrutiny of draft legislation, the provision of advice and  assistance to individuals and guidance to public authorities, the conduct of investigations and inquiries, and the general promotion of human rights culture.

Racism or perceiving first and second class citizen, which remains a critique and point of discussion in the report, furthermore, universal and cultural norms, minorities and operative public values, repatriating anti-universalism and last but not the least equal obligations are the most substantive parts of the reports which were analyzed with supportive arguments.

Brian Barry’s work “The Muddles of Multiculturalism, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain” was published in the fall of 2001.  It is the work of a multiplicity of professionals under the chairmanship of Bhiku Parekh, after which the report was associated. Despite the fact that Parekh insisted the report should not be identified as a single effort but as a collective one, many parts of the report correspond with his themes in Rethinking Multiculturalism.

The government should consider Britain as being not only a multicultural society, but also a plural society and attempt to develop policies that promote such diversity and equality.  Codes of good practice have been developed for employers to provide all civilians with an equal opportunity.  The police themselves, are required to treat all citizens equally as the contrary would decrease their efficiency and popularity.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen and Parekh highlights that discrimination plagues all sectors of the British society.

Statistics are included in reports to provide a logistics aspect of a problem and to visually see how it has developed over time.  The difficulty arises when there is little guidance on the application of such statistics and how to use them in relation to anti-discrimination measures.  In some aspects of British society, the idea of fair treatment (such as in the media) can be more efficient than that of non-discrimination.  Discrimination, though it is rather hard to prove, can be understood as an injustice that requires legal intervention.

Parekh’s Report analyzes the UK’s cultural diversity and how it should be dealt with.  Multiculturalism has long been a debate in Britain, but the key to the respect of individual and communities’ rights lies in the long-term approach to the problem.  An argument made against cultural diversity within a state is that the concepts of rights and wrong are themselves subjective and stem from cultural beliefs.  For instance, the way women are treated in countries other than Britain, and how it would be unfair to treat them this way in said society.

Universal standards are necessary for a multicultural society to coexist to a certain extent, and continue to be criticized for being too “thin” when dealing with cultural concepts of morals and values. Internationally recognized documents such as the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is a good place to start.  Debate on who and how is to decide what cultural norms to withhold in a society and which ones to not needs to be defined but Parekh’s three arguments provide us with valid criteria on where to start.




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