Like citizens in many other countries, Americans are debating issues of multiculturalism. But the debate in the United States has a special importance because of the profound influence of American ideas around the world. Unfortunately, this influence has not been entirely propitious. It has been beneficial in some cases, but unhelpful in others, serving to exacerbate rather than remedy important injustices. I’ll try to explain why this is so, and how the danger can be minimized.
A wide range of views has been expressed in the American debates about multiculturalism, but I think we can see an emerging consensus, or at least a dominant paradigm, centered on the following three claims:
(a) that some or other form of multiculturalism is now unavoidable (“We are all multiculturalists now,” as Nathan Glazer puts it), and that the interesting debate is not whether to adopt multiculturalism, but rather what kind of multiculturalism to adopt;
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