Friday, 12 August 2016
The Cost of Multiculturalism
Todd Endelman starts the introduction for this book by discussing multiculturalism.
At the heart of the current debate about this are questions about the terms on which racial and ethnic minorities are to be integrated into the American mainstream.
Take out the word 'American' and you have a statement that applies worldwide as many nations are struggling to absorb ever-growing numbers of refugees from other war-torn areas of the globe.
Endelman's givens are firstly that everyone agrees that there should be room at the table and, secondly, that 'those who wish to be included must embrace some of the behavioural and attitudinal norms of the dominant group.
The debate, Endelman posits, is how far? How far must newcomers be prepared to forsake their own distinctiveness in order to blend and assimilate into their new host culture? What do they have to abandon - dress, speech, customs - in order to gain access to the centres of life?
What is at stake in the multiculturalism debate, then, is the price to be paid for inclusion rather than the right to be included.
Can we hear the Church having a similar debate over Jewish inclusion, or do they think the matter was settled long ago? What if new JBYs are not willing to pay that price and demand a seat at the table anyway? What does the Acts 15 first Jerusalem Council tell us about that?