I finally understood the difference between mulitculturalism and what passes for multiculturalism within middle class thinking. I've never really thought about it in depth, not really.... until this conversation.

I have seen the 'saris and samosas' effect of multiculturalism - the superficial, the pleasant, the easily assimilated, the colourful... in short, the 'spice'.

Multicuturalism is about new sounds, new tastes, new clothes, but, for most people, it stops when it comes to thinking differently. Middle class culture is so dominant, so pervasive, that it (I mean the mediators of culture, - eg media, tv, museums and institutions) refuses to recognise that there might be another way of actually understanding the world: different values, different ways of seeing, not just different flavours. All of us who work within culture know that we must speak one way in public, however we speak at home. Dominant culture people speak the same way at home as they do in public and so they don't realise that the rest of us are translating. We, who are on the outside, are always bi-lingual.

I doubt this makes sense even now when I have tried to articulate it. It's very easy to be misunderstood, or to say things imprecisely in person, let alone here. But I need to try to explain it. It's always hypocrisy that's my problem with liberal middle class racism and multiculturalism as we have it falls square within that. I want real multiculturalism, where we are presented with a true picture of the various cultures in our society, presented in their own voice - not just the lip-service version of it.

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