Return of the Undead

Some rather disheartening boilerplate on the merits of multiculturalism and identity and groups and communities from – surprise surprise – a university chancellor.

At the end of the day, the hope of these two kinds of projects – internal multicultural dialogue and external multicultural collaboration – is that we all come to value diverse groups, not just diverse individuals.

Well, as always, that depends on which groups we’re talking about, and what we mean by ‘value’, and what aspects of those diverse groups we are expected and hoped to value. It also depends on what happens when valuing groups is in tension with valuing individuals. What about individuals who want to leave or dissent from or change their groups, for example? Are we expected to refrain from valuing them in order to value their groups instead – in order to value ‘their’ groups as static entities that must not change and must not respond to the wishes of, for instance, subordinated people within the groups? If so, why? Or to put it another way, if so, forget it.

The comments are worth reading, as the comments at Inside Higher Ed often are. See especially H E Baber’s.

More of the usual multicultural bs, in the usual long-winded, jargon-ridden style…It’s amazing that, resisting all empirical evidence, multiculturalists like the author of this article are still promoting the communitarian group identities line. Since the end of the Cold War every major armed conflict, from the Balkans to Sri Lanka to Darfur to the current war in the Middle East has been a tribal war between groups affirming their cultural/ethnic identities. Women and people of color with stature as public intellectuals, including Amartya Sen, Anthony Appiah, Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have spoken out against this communitarian, multicultural ideology and in favor of cosmopolitanism.

Indeed they have. H E writes about multiculti at the Enlightenment Project sometimes. (B&W has published some of her E.P. articles.)

Bill Condon’s comment is also good. The comments on this article are better than the article.

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