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Language and Learning (English) - Essay Example

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Multiculturalism has since the early 1970's been the Australian governments approach to immigrating groups of people. While viewed by politicians as a progressive policy, multiculturalism encourages divisions in the community by advocating a leaning towards identifying with ones ethnic background through government sponsored community language programs and ethnic media outlets…
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Language and Learning (English)
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Language and Learning (English)

Download file to see previous pages... Multiculturalism is a concept which has in recent years, been embraced by the Australian government. However, a policy of allowing a diverse melting-pot of cultures within our borders has its dangers which are often overlooked as discussions on the topic are considered to be politically incorrect. This essay argues that the Australian governments stance on multiculturalism has lead to national disunity and that our national identity is damaged as a result. The current policies and social issues relating to the subject will be examined in support of this argument as well as public opinions on the issue of multiculturalism. Furthermore the failed policies of multiculturalism in other countries will be examined.
Since the Whitlam government implemented radical changes to the policy of multiculturalism in the early 1970's, successive governments have all demonstrated a commitment to perpetuating the policy. However, criticism of this sensitive issue is often overlooked or discarded offhand by many academics as politically incorrect. Politicians tend to advocate multiculturalism based on its positive aspects and yet are quick to turn a blind eye on its undesirable outcomes. After three decades, the policy of multiculturalism has in fact caused deeper divisions in the community, and though originally implemented with good intentions.
Through multicultural policies foreign cultures are sustained and encouraged creating bases of foreign culture within Australia, to the direct detriment of the Australian identity. The policy is divisive as it encourages people to identify with their "ethnicity" rather than to adapt to an Australian way of life. Multiculturalism has lead to the creation ethnic enclaves; migrants living within these 'micro-nations' are presented with a situation where they have little incentive to learn English and become socially and economically integrated with those outside their group. Multiculturalism, with its emphasis on community languages and ethnic media, promotes the development of these ethnic identities and impedes the development of a strong Australian national identity.
Multicultural policies are also responsible for accepting and promoting all cultural traditions. Many traditional ethnic customs are considered unacceptable by mainstream Australian society, and some do not accord with the rule of law. Deep seeded ethnic hatreds that immigrants may harbour are divisive, these hatreds then have a haven in which to sustain themselves in the ethnic enclaves discussed earlier, and have the potential to be passed onto successive generations. These hatreds, coupled with a sense of cultural identification with ones country of descent rather than with Australia can then lead to the establishment of ethnic gangs, which have grown in many major population centers. The divisiveness that these impacts have on Australia's cultural identity is exemplified by the Cronulla riots in December 2005.
Public opinion over the years on the topic of multiculturalism has seen a constant division on attitudes. According to a 1987 survey approximately 42 percent of the respondents believed that immigration should be halted altogether. Two polls, in 1995 and 2003, both found "over 70% support for the view that it is better for society if groups adapt and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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