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Too much Accommodation in the Name of Pluralism/Diversity

Reader comment on item: Canadian Islamists host [William W. Baker,] a neo-Nazi

Submitted by Mimi (Canada), Jan 8, 2004 at 10:27

As an American living in Canada twenty years now, I think there is too much of an effort here to sacrifice anything tasteless at the altar of diverse "Canadianism" or more appropriately, the negative of "what-we-are-told-but-have-not-extensively-experienced-comfortably-stereotypical-defintion-of" Americanism. One thing is that many (not all) Canadians feel that Canada is more ethnically diverse than the US. Statistically, this is not so, but these conclusions are probably because Canada's experience (and noticeable social impact) with mass immigration from developing countries is more recent than that of the US. So, it has a novelty-like ring to it, "diversity". This is not to diminish the welcoming attitude of Canada to its immigrant populations. If anything, the country, for economic and surely political reasons, has been a model of openness par excellence.

However, too much sugar and spice might not make everything nice. We sometimes forget that views that may be suppressed or that would not find widespread support in the home country of the immigrant - for whatever reasons, a less mobile population, those struggling for subsistence, governments where citizens feel it's risky to express political views - sometimes fester and spread exponentially when they arrive in the individual rights protection of our shores. New freedoms can be abused, even in the names of "pluralism" or "diversity". As one nurtures and participates in democratic, pluralistic and open societies, the mature understanding of how democracies work could oftentimes be predicated on the invisible roles of respect and restraint and not its adolescent opposite, everything unleashed. Freedom means choice and pondering choices.

The comment on the purpose of the conference, namely that it is a conduit for "promoting a pluralistic Canadian society" which was preceded by the claim that the organizers desire to disassociate themselves from "any agenda of hate and racism" does, after twenty years, not seem contradictory to me as it may to a reader from outside of Canada.

If you refuse to see hate and racism where it exists, then, it follows that you are never supporting it.
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