22.214.171.124 Inclusive Policies that Encourage Mutual Adaptation
Ethnic tensions can be reduced with inclusive policies that encourage mutual adaptation and respect for the cultures of different groups
Maintaining a separate culture does not have to be a threat to the rest of society. Inclusivity allows different ethnic groups to coexist peacefully, offering a middle way between the two extremes described above:
● Pressurised assimilation tries to suppress ethnic differences (126.96.36.199), leading to resentment.
● People live separate lives under multiculturalism (188.8.131.52), breeding mutual distrust.
Inclusive policies include political encouragement of necessary behavioural requirements for everybody (including those in the majority) to comply with:
● Everyone should behave in a socially-acceptable manner, as described previously (4.4.2).
● People have a duty to try to learn the language of the region in which they live. Failure to do so prevents people from getting full value from their membership of the society, and it imposes a cost upon others.
● They are required to be loyal to the whole society, which means accepting that they are part of it and that they should work within the existing political system even if they are asking for changes to it.
● People should be encouraged to participate in improving society as a whole. Tariq Ramadan, in his book What I Believe, advocated what Hameed Choudhury called Ramadan’s Theory of the Seven ‘Cs’; these include minorities making a proactive ‘contribution’ to the host society and not being afraid to debate problem areas: ‘contestation’. He also argued that the majority ought to be prepared to adapt, to some extent, to accommodate minorities.
● Some form of political representation can be offered for minorities, as described below (184.108.40.206).
Attempts to force the pace of integration are likely to lead to backlashes, but cohesion will naturally emerge with inclusive policies that encourage mutual adaptation. Then relationships develop between individuals from different communities help to build trust over several generations.
Inclusive attitudes can largely be fostered by moral pressure between individuals in a society (4.4.7), but politicians need to show leadership and set the right tone. New Zealand’s Prime Minister gave an exemplary response to a violent incident, as reported by The Guardian: Jacinda Ardern on the Christchurch shooting. Her short speech indicated her inclusive attitude with these words:
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.
They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
Strong leadership is essential in a crisis, but politicians can also help to lay sound foundations. They can arrange for immigrants to have language classes and more, to provide education in the host society’s culture, and these can form part of a path to full citizenship (220.127.116.11).
It is also helpful for some people from minority cultures to participate in politics (6.6.1) – and cultural backgrounds don’t necessarily affect people’s political affiliations. There are conservative-leaning individuals in almost all cultures, for example, and some will be more individualist than others. People with common political aims can work together without regard for ethnicity, increasing social cohesion.
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/6745a.htm.