Chapter 2
Understanding Difference and Discrimination

Looking at:

• culture

• I, we, them

• our limits

• pictures

• from discrimination to racism

• possible questions and answers

Define, illustrate, explain - we try to do all this here. See what you think as you go through this chapter. If you disagree with something, or find a big hole in an argument, make notes about your reasons and make suggestions for replacements.

From Multicultural to Intercultural Societies

At first sight, the terms "Multicultural Society" and "Intercultural Society" seem to be similar but they are not synonyms. So, how do we tell the difference between the two? Here are some basic ideas, to which you can add.

MULTICULTURAL SOCIETIES: Different cultures, national, ethnic, religious groups all living within the same territory BUT not necessarily coming into contact with each other. A society where difference is often viewed negatively and forms major justification for discrimination. Minorities may be tolerated passively, but not accepted or valued. Even in cases where there are legal rights designed to stop discrimination, the law may not be enforced uniformly.

INTERCULTURAL SOCIETIES: Different cultures, national groups, etc. living ­together within a territory, maintain open relations of interaction, exchange and mutual recognition of their own and respective values and ways of life. We are talking then about a process of active tolerance and the maintenance of equitable relations where everyone has the same importance, where there are no superiors or inferiors, better or worse people...

"Interculture" is a process, not a goal in itself. Now we need to examine some of the main elements of this process.

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