Today, you can easily see people with different race, culture, and nationality in many places around the world. Multicultural society is becoming common in rapid pace, and connections among people of different culture and race will increase significantly. Multicultural society is made out of necessity and definitely contains lots of benefits, yet, many people do not see the danger hiding behind it. In world history, there are numerous instances of conflicts made when groups of people from different culture or race live in the same place, and some of those conflicts went as far as wars. Some might say those concerns are overstatements, but human nature has revealed its ignorant jealousy and aggressiveness too many times throughout history. People should also take attention on not only what to gain, but also what can they lose and how to not repeat the same mistakes over again.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. And today, his dream have come true. Racism, though still existing in many places, is almost removed in many countries where once it was predominant and generally is perceived as pure evil that should be destroyed. Growth of idea of equality and human rights has paved a way to introduction of multicultural and racial society that has increased significantly in this few decades. Open-mindedness toward other race, culture, and nationality is supporting immigration to different countries. More people are immigrating to other nations for various reasons. The United States of America has been accepting almost millions of immigrants every year (MIT), and though their qualification of acceptance is getting tougher and tougher, more people are willing to and are immigrating to US. Reason of immigration varies for each individual. Some might leave their home country unwillingly for economic reasons, and some for educational. Whatever the reason is, multicultural society is an ongoing trend that many nations have to face. Although views toward different races and cultures are more alleviated than the past, conflicts among those different groups seems inevitable. Though multicultural society has become significant today, multicultural society appeared many times in world history, such as Jews having lived in many European countries. And conflicts, no matter its size, existed. Sometimes, those conflicts became the starting fire of wars. Like such, conflicts that arise from issues related with different cultures, races, and ethnic groups can be more than a problem inside a single nation. True, that people’s attitudes toward different cultures and races are getting better, thanks to human rights’ and equality movement from 20th century. Yet, considering the risk and repercussion that can results from conflicts between different cultures, multicultural society should not be treated carelessly, but need consistent attention and management, though those actions might reduce the efficiency and benefit that comes from establishing multicultural society.
Development of multicultural society is mainly due to increasing importance of international trades. In the past, international trade was usually not an activity out of necessity. Most countries was able to maintain self-sufficiency. Agriculture was the main industry in many nations, and even in places where people were unable to farm, self-sufficiency was maintained through different means of food supply, such as fishing or hunting. Trade out of necessity was made usually inside the country. Trade between nations were a mean to supply luxuries, such as special flavors or accessories. Italy, Portugal, and Spain, three countries that vitalized international trades initially in Europe, had special flavor from Asia as its main item of trade. Small countries in Asia, like Japan or Korea, also traded with China often, and the products traded were usually luxury items, such as silk or jewelry. Accordingly, international trade was not that important for common people, and was easily controlled depending on circumstances. However, international trade takes more importance today than it did in the past. For instance, income made by international trade of South Korea takes almost 50 percent of its GDP and its continually increasing every year (economy watch). Increasing economic activities among nations, suggesting immigration indirectly, makes people from different nations and cultures to be in touch more frequently. People move to different country for better job opportunities, higher payments, and business issues. Growing importance of international trade made people to more easily move to different nations, thus creating a society where people from totally different places and culture living together.
Immigration for educational reasons is deeply related to economic issues. As international trade becomes huge part of economic activities, importance of studying language and culture of other countries rises greatly. Opportunity of studying other languages also increased recently, but some people decided to take the highway, immigration. Many people move to different countries to learn their languages, especially to English-speaking nations, since most widely spoken language in the world is English. Yet, language is not the only reason of immigration for education. Universities in US is willing to take more international students every year, and also Americans studying abroad is gradually increasing every year from one to four percent. (Redden) As the data shows, parents in nation of inferior level of education want their children to experience higher level of education and universities in other nations. These kinds of desire for better education lead people to immigration eventually. Learning language and technology of more developed country later changes to better payment and wider options of job to choose. Looking for incentives and benefits that comes from better education, people started to baldly leave their mother countries and led the generation of multiculturalism.
Increase in immigration and connection among countries destroyed the meaning of physical boundaries. It has become much easier to see foreigners than the past, and moreover, foreigners does not always mean people with different race or culture anymore. You can see black or white men with Chinese citizenship, or Asian with US. This trend of multiculturalism has become so common today that many people believe it is not a huge issue. Yet, a voice of concern, small but reasonable, has been raised that people should not neglect the danger or potential risk that is hiding beneath multiculturalism. It has not been even a century that people with different race or culture can live along equally and peacefully like today. The most concerned problem is racism. Racism has existed almost in any places where two distinctively different groups of race lived together in one society. Cause of World War II shows how far can racism go. Racism in Germany was ignited by the gap between rich and poor. Although Jews lived in Germany for hundreds of years, and many of those Jews were unable to identify only by their appearances, they gained wealth by their talented ability in trade and business. (Goldmann) Hitler, leader of Germany in World War II, used the feeling of inferiority in order to create hatred toward other race, especially Jews. Difference in wealth or any standards create feeling of inferiority or superiority, and that can directly connected to hatred or jealousy, being the start of racism.
Cultural difference, though it sounds like a weak issue, also is the main factor of conflicts in multicultural society. It may sound like much more trivial issue than racism, but Germany again suffered by conflicts made by cultural difference in establishing multicultural society. After World War II, Germany has become one of the most tolerant and careful country in handling multiculturalism. They have recognized the fault they committed in the past and showed full remorse by sincere apology to other nations. After overcoming the scars of the past, Germany became one of the wealthiest country in the world, and thus many laborers from poorer country migrated to Germany, especially Turkish. Turkish laborers, having moved to Germany for job opportunity, became central workforce in jobs that required physical labors. As more and more Turkish laborers move to Germany, they began to form their own town and society, driving out Germans from certain region. Their culture was distinct from the culture of Germany, and the significant appearance of their culture in Germany made Germans uncomfortable. Eventually, Germans started to discriminate Turkish, and conflicts between Germans and Turkish become huge national issue. Mere cultural difference grew as huge to hatred towards one another, creating a movement that was called ‘Neo-Nazism.’ (Bartsch, Brandt, Steinvorth) Although difference in culture is obvious characteristic when two groups of people from different county live together, sometimes people might not be ready to accept and tolerate other culture.
Multiculturalism is an essential step for many nations to overcome. Considering the benefits and necessity it contains, multicultural society will be established firmly in many places. Yet, the risk it takes should not be overlooked. Many instances in history shows how biased and arrogant human nature is. It is obvious that multicultural society has higher possibility of potential conflicts than single cultured society. Adjusting and establishing safe multicultural society needs cooperation and tolerance of members of society and careful touch of government. Mistakes like racial conflict in 1940s of US, or World War II should not happen again. It should be always remembered that peace and tolerance should be prioritized than benefit and practicality.
Office of Immigration Statistics, US Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook Of Immigration Statistics 2006 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2007.)
Economy Watch. ‘South Korea Export, Import & Trade’ April 11, 2010
Elizabeth Redden. Inside Higher Ed. ‘Generation Study Abroad’ March 3, 2014
Nahum Goldmann. Radia Islam. ‘Jewish Domination in pre-Nazi Germany’
Matthias Bartsch, Andrea Brandt and Daniel Steinvorth. Spiegel. ‘Turkish Immigration to Germany: A Sorry History of Self-Deception and Wasted Opportunities’ September 07, 2010