Multiculturalism and world history! When I was asked to talk about this, I was intrigued, but also unsure just what was expected. Multiculturalism as an ideology, after all, is the province of a small fringe group of people who seem to say that every culture is just as good as every other and deserves just as much space as anyone else’s To me, that does not seem to be a very serious position and is something not worth really worrying about. Multiculturalism as a human actuality, by contrast, has existed across the millennia in human affairs, ever since cities first arose. And that does seem to me worth thinking about, discussing, and putting into a general framework of world history. So it was that I succumbed to the invitation.
The first thing to say is that multiculturalism is an obvious reality, because different groups of people created discrete cultures. It is a reality that presumably dates back to the initial dispersal of humankind around the world, as groups became more isolated from one another across longer distances, developed unique technologies, and adapted to differing environments. The human race, in short, comprises a myriad of cultures.