Friday, April 11, 2008

Regarding Canada as a "mosaic" rather than a "melting pot"

Another prevalent model of Canadian nationalism is that Canada is a "mosaic" rather than a "melting pot," the latter being a model upon which the United States is (arguably) based. The "mosaic" model is actually the policy of "multiculturalism," as instated in 1971, "where cultural difference is acknowledged and accomodated within the "mosaic" of national culture." But there is an argument that multiculturalism is "simply another way of entrenching separateness and marginalizing those not recognized as belonging to the dominant culture." Furthermore, the "mosaic" model:
views cultural inscriptions, and hence the notion of difference, as stable, coherent and autonomous. . . . In such a "multicultural" nation, differences are organized into neat, virtual grids of distinct ethnic communities, each with its own "culture."
The "melting pot" model (which is what is generally considered to be the American model of nation-building) refers to a "process of assimilation, where the different cultural and ethnic communities in a nation are conceived as coming together to create a new 'American' race or culture."

Source: Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, "'Between Mosaic and Melting Pot': Negotiating Multiculturalism and Cultural Citizenship in Bharati Mukherjee's Narratives of Diaspora," Postcolonial Text 1:2 (2005); available from; Internet; accessed 8 April 2008.

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