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View Full Version : Colonial Identity: Ethnic Mosaic versus Melting Pot



Telperion
Monday, November 8th, 2004, 06:24 AM
Looking over various threads on Skadi forum, it is apparent that members have very different conceptions about how people who live in former European colonies (i.e. Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand) should define their identities, and to whom their owe their loyalties.

Some feel that they should define themselves as primarily as members of their ethnic group or national heritage; I would call this the "ethnic mosaic" model, because it implies that the colonial countries should be simply a mosaic of different ethnic groups, i.e. English, Irish, German, Italian, Russian, etc., and that the loyalty of each member of these groups should be vested primarily in his own ethnicity, as opposed to the colonial state.

Alternatively, some feel that identification with and loyalty to the colonial state should take precedence over any ethnic identification or loyalties; I would call this the "melting pot" model.

So, my question is, do you favour the ethnic mosaic model of colonial identity, the melting pot model, or some other model (please explain), and why? Note that this is a normative and not a positive question.

I think the issues raised are quite complex, so I'm curious to hear peoples' views on this subject.

[Note: this replaces a previous poll that I had configured incorrectly. My apologies to prussian_au and Dante Aligheri, who had voted in that poll.]

Oskorei
Monday, November 8th, 2004, 10:51 AM
Melting pot. New ethnicities are formed during history, and the ethnic mosaic-idea would not form a very good, or viable, state. It would be torn by strife between the different communities for power and resources, and many of its inhabitants would not have any loyalty to the state.

The real alternative to the melting pot would be several smaller, homogenous states, which is preferable. A little Sweden, a little Germany and so on. But history is ruled by geopolitics, so that would be utopia.

Dante Alighieri
Monday, November 8th, 2004, 02:17 PM
Melting pot. To choose for a new fatherland is to choose for a new loyalty. The mosaic model will cause a fractured society, and a fractured society can't be a happy society. A mosaic model will create a society of people without loyalty.

A big problem is of course the racial aspect. White people can get along in a melting pot society, but a multiracial melting pot will definitely create a third world state.

Telperion
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 01:22 AM
A big problem is of course the racial aspect. White people can get along in a melting pot society, but a multiracial melting pot will definitely create a third world state.
That's true, though I would say both the melting pot and the ethnic mosaic model can be abused to promote a multiracial state. In Canada, for instance, the ethnic mosaic model has no racial component, and is used as a justification for importing immigrants from the third world en masse (to make the country more "culturally diverse".)

Telperion
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 01:49 AM
Melting pot. New ethnicities are formed during history, and the ethnic mosaic-idea would not form a very good, or viable, state. It would be torn by strife between the different communities for power and resources, and many of its inhabitants would not have any loyalty to the state.
I agree, and would add some additional points:

- As Dante Alighieri suggests, first generation immigrants are voluntarily choosing to leave their homeland for membership in the political community of a new state, which necessarily implies loyalty to that new state.

- It follows that where the interests of their old homeland and their new state conflict, they must make a choice as to where their primary loyalty lies. If they feel it lies with their homeland, I do not see how they could reconcile that position with continuing to reside in their new state, short of becoming a hostile, fifth column element in the new state, undermining its political stability. Other inhabitants of the new state would certainly be in their rights to either expect members of this group to be loyal to the new state, or else return to their homeland.

- Second and subsequent generation immigrants will not grow up in the territory, or organically immersed in the culture of their forefathers' homeland(s), or even necessarily speak their ancestral language(s). This implies that, while they have ethnic/biological roots in their ancestral homeland(s), their connection to their ancestral homeland(s) is otherwise tenuous, unless they make a conscious decision to reject their identity as a member of their own homeland (the colonial state) in favour of an artificial assumption of their identity as members of their ancestral nation(s). If very many people made such a choice, it would again tend to undermine the political stability of the colonial state, which could not rely on its citizens to prioritize their loyalty to it over other states.

- European nations, unfortunately, have a long history of mutual animosity toward each other; Irish vs. English, English vs. French and Germans, Germans vs. Poles, Serbs vs. Croats, etc. For immigrants to import such hostilities within the colonial state, and for their descendents to continue to fuel the fires of such hostility, will again be very deleterious to the cohesiveness and stability of the state. Indeed, I would say one of the few positive features of North American society is that this sort of intra-European ethnic hostility, if it has not been extinguished, has at least been significantly abated.

- For Euro-ethnic mongrels (such as myself) - surely the majority of European descendents in the former colonies (though I haven't consulted a survey on this) - it is necessarily arbitrary to choose one of their ancestral ethnic backgrounds with which to identify as the locus of their primary loyalty, while suppressing their potential identification with other ethnic backgrounds. The ethnic mosaic model seems to be oblivious to this point.

All of these strike me as sound reasons for favouring a melting-pot over an ethnic mosaic in the former colonial states.

Having said that, I can see a few arguments that could be used in favour of the ethnic mosaic; but, hopefully, someone who finds the idea of a melting pot objectionable will post on this thread, in order to stimulate a debate on this topic.

Awar
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 02:32 AM
Ehh... it's difficult to choose.

Ethnic mosaic = strong identity through the generations, but also easy to spark conflicts and bear centennial grudges.

Melting pot = less large-scale conflicts, but also less defined identity, which can easily lead this or that generation into racial mixing and being seduced by the media role-models.

Telperion
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 02:45 AM
Melting pot = less large-scale conflicts, but also less defined identity, which can easily lead this or that generation into racial mixing and being seduced by the media role-models.
Yes, one of the arguments I can see for an ethnic mosaic is that the identity of the colonial state may well be poorly-defined. This problem is most obvious in the USA, which arguably subsumes everyone in a manufactured, commercialistic anti-culture devoid of any organic roots, and without any inherent checks against race-mixing.

At the same time, though, the ethnic mosaic isn't necessarily a solution to this problem. Again, in Canada, the ethnic mosaic is officially held up as an ideal by the government; yet, this country still has a serious problem with race-mixing, manufactured pop-culture, etc. This tends to make me think that lack of racial awareness per se is not intrinsically rooted in either the melting pot or ethnic mosaic models.

Awar
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 03:01 AM
Yes, one of the arguments I can see for an ethnic mosaic is that the identity of the colonial state may well be poorly-defined. This problem is most obvious in the USA, which arguably subsumes everyone in a manufactured, commercialistic anti-culture devoid of any organic roots, and without any inherent checks against race-mixing.

At the same time, though, the ethnic mosaic isn't necessarily a solution to this problem. Again, in Canada, the ethnic mosaic is officially held up as an ideal by the government; yet, this country still has a serious problem with race-mixing, manufactured pop-culture, etc. This tends to make me think that lack of racial awareness per se is not intrinsically rooted in either the melting pot or ethnic mosaic models.

Yes, but what about the decisive influence of the media? It can't
be fought by anything. Certainly not the remnants of Euro ethnic identity in Canada.

Although I voted for the ethnic mosaic option, I think it's not enough.
An ethnic mosaic, but with a major re-haul in the system and lots of common sense perhaps could work.

A regular person simply doesn't take time to build a culture for himself, if he's born into a family which doesn't value ethnic identity, so, from there, it's just a step to being cultureless, and into race-mixing.

Also, I believe that a Melting Pot would have perhaps worked 2000 years ago, in Roman times, but, today, in a post-Christian consumerist society it's bound to go wrong somewhere.

Telperion
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 03:29 AM
Yes, but what about the decisive influence of the media? It can't
be fought by anything. Certainly not the remnants of Euro ethnic identity in Canada.
That appears true, unfortunately.


Although I voted for the ethnic mosaic option, I think it's not enough.
An ethnic mosaic, but with a major re-haul in the system and lots of common sense perhaps could work.

A regular person simply doesn't take time to build a culture for himself, if he's born into a family which doesn't value ethnic identity, so, from there, it's just a step to being cultureless, and into race-mixing.

Also, I believe that a Melting Pot would have perhaps worked 2000 years ago, in Roman times, but, today, in a post-Christian consumerist society it's bound to go wrong somewhere.
Perhaps another way of looking at this would be to suggest that people should identify with their ethnic heritage and ancestral homelands as much as possible in a racial and cultural sense, yet at the same time recognize that their political loyalty must be to their own state, as a citizen and member of the political community. This might help to foster a preservationist mindset, yet at the same time avoid the serious political instability that could ensue if everyone vested their political loyalties with their ancestral homelands rather than the colonial state in which they reside.

Awar
Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 02:08 PM
This is a great topic, I hope more people contribute.

Jove
Monday, January 10th, 2005, 05:49 AM
It has been pointed out that first generation immigrants tend to arrive with a fixed intention to settle under a fresh socioeconomic or political climate, but this does not necessarily mean that they aim at abandoning the legacy of their former cultural locale. Migrations normally occur with the intention of changing one’s social, economic and or political, but not cultural, conditions.

If we observe the slow but steady pace at which Western Europe loses its identity in favor of multiculturalism, it would perhaps become clearer as to precisely how socially dependent ethnic, cultural and, most of all, racial identity actually is with politics. People and their cultures are inseparable, but what is more interesting is the nonprofessional, intuitive human standpoint continually failing to differentiate culture as a constantly renovating phenomenon. Culture interacts with people much the same way we interact with our economic and sociopolitical setting. In other words, culture is not entirely the deliberate produce of its people – the two are strictly interdependent.

Hence it follows that people tend to confuse what they are with what they want to be; the present state with the intended future. People may arrive as French, English or Dutch, but in their desire to change their political principles they transform their cultural identity too.

In view of this it should come as no surprise that Islam is highly unlikely to integrate with Christianity the same way Negroes have integrated into the American society, although in the latter example the integrative process has largely been impeded by the low average intelligence inherent to most Negroes. But, if average intelligence gap of two populations be taken as a criterium for integrative success, it should seem ironically more likely that the Muslims will indeed integrate with the European society with less trouble than “Afro-Americans.” This would definitely be the logical conclusion were it not for the simple fact that Muslims had always had a much stronger cultural identity than the Negroes. Therefore, as we wait for the political scales in Europe to shift towards an increasingly more culturally / racially oriented politics we should expect this to offset against the efforts currently being put towards integrating Islam with Europe, or should I say the other way around. But I digress.

I voted for Melting Pot. It’s fortuitous, but necessary process for a peaceful society.

Oskorei
Monday, January 10th, 2005, 05:19 PM
It has been pointed out that first generation immigrants tend to arrive with a fixed intention to settle under a fresh socioeconomic or political climate, but this does not necessarily mean that they aim at abandoning the legacy of their former cultural locale. Migrations normally occur with the intention of changing one’s social, economic and or political, but not cultural, conditions.

If we observe the slow but steady pace at which Western Europe loses its identity in favor of multiculturalism, it would perhaps become clearer as to precisely how socially dependent ethnic, cultural and, most of all, racial identity actually is with politics. People and their cultures are inseparable, but what is more interesting is the nonprofessional, intuitive human standpoint continually failing to differentiate culture as a constantly renovating phenomenon. Culture interacts with people much the same way we interact with our economic and sociopolitical setting. In other words, culture is not entirely the deliberate produce of its people – the two are strictly interdependent.
Good post. I'd say the nature of the modern State also makes the ethnic mosaic-model impossible. Historically, ethnicities could co-exist in the same geographic area, without mixing or melting very much. This is because they had their own institutions; churches, schools, militias and so on, even when they paid tribute to the same State.

The modern State has taken so many of these institutions on itself, that segregation is made very difficult. So while it (the State) is preaching about the multicultural society, in reality something else is going on. By its schools, its media and its many other institutions, the State is making the members of various cultures into its citizens, and making them mingle. Probably many Islamists sense this "reality beneath the propaganda". They are formally free to retain their culture and race for themselves and their children, but in real life it won't really work. In real work it won't lead to a multicultural mosaic, but rather a monocultural nivellation.

Another sign of this process being not completely unconscious on the part of the current "elite", would be their attempts to create an immigrant "political bourgeoisie", allied with or part of, the old elite.

Jove
Monday, January 10th, 2005, 10:53 PM
I'd say the nature of the modern State also makes the ethnic mosaic-model impossible. Historically, ethnicities could co-exist in the same geographic area, without mixing or melting very much. This is because they had their own institutions; churches, schools, militias and so on, even when they paid tribute to the same State.

The modern State has taken so many of these institutions on itself, that segregation is made very difficult. So while it (the State) is preaching about the multicultural society, in reality something else is going on. By its schools, its media and its many other institutions, the State is making the members of various cultures into its citizens, and making them mingle. Probably many Islamists sense this "reality beneath the propaganda". They are formally free to retain their culture and race for themselves and their children, but in real life it won't really work. In real work it won't lead to a multicultural mosaic, but rather a monocultural nivellation.

Another sign of this process being not completely unconscious on the part of the current "elite", would be their attempts to create an immigrant "political bourgeoisie", allied with or part of, the old elite.

Over much of history the elite has endeavored to elevate the State apparatus above moral law. But as time progressed, so has the public resistance to this trend solidified. The movement against State oppression has acquired a name, and a voice; Libertarianism was to become the name by which it would later be recognized, and liberty was its message.

In appreciating the magnitude of the implications of this, the State government has adjusted its modus operandi accordingly to fit its changing and gradually more risky environment. As an outcome, the elite have camouflaged their true aims - to which they’re forever loyal by definition - with an ideologically more benevolent sense of guardianship of the people’s rights and security. And thus the stage was secured for the elite’s illusive game of political shapeshifting. In effect, modern liberals are the successors of past century’s socialists, communists and a wide range of enthusiastic bureaucrats whose rule is accomplished by proxy.

Hence the modern State endorsement of multiculturalism acquires a proper context as a move not to even out the grassroots, as in Telperion's Melting Pot hypothesis, but, on the contrary, to create another political force. This bold move on the part of the elite can be understood as an attempt to change the status quo in their own favor by introducing a foreign factor which would serve as an impediment for the old majority to have it all, so to speak. Now the situation is being created in which the old majority, or in other words, ethnic Europeans, will be compelled to entrust the government with even more power in order to enforce peace in a progressively destabilizing society.

Leofric
Wednesday, February 7th, 2007, 03:44 AM
Looking over various threads on Skadi forum, it is apparent that members have very different conceptions about how people who live in former European colonies (i.e. Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand) should define their identities, and to whom their owe their loyalties.

Some feel that they should define themselves as primarily as members of their ethnic group or national heritage; I would call this the "ethnic mosaic" model, because it implies that the colonial countries should be simply a mosaic of different ethnic groups, i.e. English, Irish, German, Italian, Russian, etc., and that the loyalty of each member of these groups should be vested primarily in his own ethnicity, as opposed to the colonial state.

Alternatively, some feel that identification with and loyalty to the colonial state should take precedence over any ethnic identification or loyalties; I would call this the "melting pot" model.

So, my question is, do you favour the ethnic mosaic model of colonial identity, the melting pot model, or some other model (please explain), and why? Note that this is a normative and not a positive question.

I think the issues raised are quite complex, so I'm curious to hear peoples' views on this subject.

[Note: this replaces a previous poll that I had configured incorrectly. My apologies to prussian_au and Dante Aligheri, who had voted in that poll.]
First I think loyalties should always be to oneself, one's family, and by extension, one's people rather than to any state. So clearly given these two options, I would choose an ethnic mosaic. However, I don't think loyalties to one's people need necessarily conflict with loyalties to a state.

But viewing the question from another angle, I can see, as Oskorei mentions, that the issue needn't involve states at all. It could just as easily be expressed as loyalty to the ethnicity regardless of geographical location or loyalty to compatriots regardless of ethnicity.

Even recast that way though, comparing loyalty to people with loyalty to people, I still favor the ethnic mosaic model.

I think it's worth noting that the colonies mentioned here are all English/British colonies.

I think that's important in the discussion because I think a melting pot model only works in practice if there is a base or dominant ethnicity to which all other ethnicities can assimilate (a broth for the pot, as it were). In these four countries, that ethnicity is English.

Because these four countries all have a base ethnicity, they have the option of a melting pot model, which is what they have, in practice, tended to choose. But for those who actually are members of the base ethnicity, the model might as well have been an ethnic mosaic.

In places that lack a sufficiently strong base ethnicity, the melting pot model is untenable. I have seen this in the San Francisco area in California. A large influx of immigrants from all over the world have eliminated any base ethnicity in the area. The people who come in have no dominant culture they can choose as a model with whom to blend their ways. And there are far too many cultures and languages in the area for people to learn one another's ways and successfully blend. The only option is an ethnic mosaic.

When there is a base ethnicity that's strong enough to allow for a melting pot, then I think melting more often than not does more harm than good. First, it severs the link between the people in minority ethnicities and their own ancestors — a link which I think is very sacred. Second, it risks diluting the base ethnicity itself in that area.

I agree with Oskorei and Jove that an ethnic mosaic puts modern states, which are largely centralized and totalitarian in comparison with older states, into jeopardy. I don't see that as a bad thing, personally, but it must be acknowledged. The ethnic mosaic model, if followed, would likely lead to the downfall of many of our modern states and all the comforts that come along with them. On a spiritual level, I think the benefits of the ethnic mosaic model outweigh the cost.

Oskorei did bring up the point that new ethnicites can be formed over time, but I think the way they almost always get formed is from parent ethnicities splitting into multiple daughters rather than multiple ethnicites melding into a new child. There are exceptions to this, of course, but I think they're pretty rare.

Consider that 2000 years ago, our people apparently were all considered to be of one ethnicity: Germanic. Sure, there were tribal distinctions within the ethnicity, but there is little reason to think that the Germanic tribes were in fact various ethnicities — they all had the same religion, the same language, and the same basic culture. But now, we are many different ethnicities. What was once a unified whole has splintered.

If new ethnicites formed for the countries listed above, they would be splinters of the English ethnicity rather than combinations of the various ethnic components of their populations. Admittedly, the amount of actual Englishness in each population would be debatable — just as the amount of Germanicness in Germanic populations along the fringes of Germania (Britain, Iceland, the Low Countries, the Alpine region) is sometimes debated by people who have too much free time. But they would still be in the Anglo-Saxon family of ethnicities, just as surely as the Germanics of Britain, Iceland, the Low Countries, and the Alpine region are all Germanic. They would not be new ethnicities in any kind of melting pot sense.

White Africa
Sunday, July 26th, 2009, 08:11 PM
I prefer an ethnic mosaic, where all of us preserve our traditions and languages. I don't like the idea of a melting pot very much. It's exactly what those we erroneously call "multiculturalists" are pushing. It's not really multiculturalism (which results from ethnopluralism or the ethnic mosaic as you call it), but monoculturalism, where everyone has to integrate to be the same. I like diversity, and I think the melting pot is a threat to preservation.