The Canadian Mosaic vs. the U.S. Melting Pot

Topics: Culture, Multiculturalism, United States Pages: 5 (1717 words) Published: March 8, 2002
Canada is internationally recognized as a culturally diverse nation that emphasizes the concept of "The Mosaic". No other country in the world encompasses inhabitants from so many different backgrounds who exhibit strong loyalty towards Canada, while still preserving their cultural heritage. This is contrasted to the American ideal of the "Melting Pot", which attempts to shape all of their citizens into a set mold. Canada's philosophy is believed to be more effective and respectful than that which is possessed by our American neighbours. The following will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches, and analyze the impact of the structures on each country's society. Canada is world renown for being one of the most tolerant, welcoming, and democratic countries in the world - a dynamic mosaic of multiculturalism where people live and work together in harmony. Over the past 150 years, more than 14 million people have immigrated to Canada, with 16% of the 30 million citizens being first-generation immigrants. The Government of Canada is committed to a policy of diversity designed to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians, while striving to achieve equality in the economic, social, cultural and political aspects of Canada. In 1991, the Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship conducted a survey, which revealed high levels of Canadian values and identity. Six out of ten interviewees portrayed a "deep emotional attachment to Canada" and 95% believe they can be proud of being a citizen and of their ancestry simultaneously. As a nation, Canada is continually becoming more diverse in its practices, which requires residents to expand their knowledge and appreciate other cultures. Diversity can benefit a society in numerous ways, as is evidenced across Canada. The many cultures existing in Canada have created a rich cultural experience. By having a diverse population, one observes a plethora of food, clothing, music, entertainment, and traditions. One example where this is exhibited is Heritage Day, where citizens unite in celebrating and learning about various other cultures. Existence in a non-diverse society would be dull in comparison and less adequate to fulfill creative desires. Diversity is also important to the success of an organization. The increasing globalization has resulted in individuals conducting projects or being employed in foreign locations. This requires people from different cultures to work towards a common goal, for which one needs to learn and accept the cultural distinctions. This in turn can increase the creativity and innovation within organizations. As well, individuals from diverse backgrounds are able to provide companies with insight into foreign business practices, translation assistance, and offer detailed information to assist in market penetration. A diverse working team can also improve decision making by providing different perspectives on problems. Individuals embrace working alongside other cultures, as it is a personal learning process that will prove useful in the future. Educational institutions that promote multiculturalism are beneficial, in that they prepare students for the increasing diversity in the workplace. An environment with diversity establishes values and builds character. It assists students in accepting and understanding the cultures to which their acquaintances belong to, as well as broadening their knowledge of the world. A society where contact between different cultural groups is encouraged often results in decreased prejudice, as is the case in Canada. This is achieved through the recognition of similarities among differing cultures and also providing information that disproves negative stereotypes. By educating children to respect other cultures from a young age will proactively stop prejudice from forming. The mosaic system within Canada is not one of perfection, and does encompass its drawbacks....
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