National Minority and Immigrant Groups

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Will Kymlicka writes in the Multicultural Citizen that national minorities and immigrant groups should be given room and protection to practice and express their cultures. He argues that cultural expression is key to individual freedom and allows for a greater freedom of opportunity. National minorities, as large ethnic minority populations within a nation that have historic and cultural ties to the land (Kymlicka, p. 79), should be given the utmost cultural freedom and protection culture as it enhances the nation as a whole. Immigrant groups, who by immigrating have given up their homeland, will in time assimilate into a dominant national culture, but should be given strong protection from discrimination and room to express themselves. But what happens when a national minority oppresses immigrant groups to protect its own culture? Bill 60 of the Québec government pits national minorities against immigrant groups complicating Kymlicka’s views on liberal freedom and culture. The answer to this problem lays in looking back to John Locke’s political society to show national minorities take priority over immigrant group in relation to culture.
‘Societal Culture’ is the focus of Will Kymlicka which he defines as “a culture which provides its members with meaningful ways if life across a full range of human activities” (Kymlicka, p. 76). Most nations consist of a single dominant culture that determines the shape and practice of a nation’s institutions. Immigrants leave their homelands to live within this new nation and its culture. They tend to come as individuals or small families and settle across the nation. They are expected to learn the language and culture of their new home and usually within two generations they will lose their ...

... middle of paper ... religious expression in the public body should be upheld for the rights of a national minority’s cultural society trump those of immigrants because immigrants must give up some of their liberty to live within their new resident society and in themselves do not constitute a societal culture.

Works Cited

Locke, John. "Second Treatise of Government." in Political Philosophy: The Essential Texts. Edited by Steven M. Cahn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 316-320,321-329
Kymlicka, Will. "Freedom and Culture." in Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. 75-101.
Bill 60: Charter Affirming the Values of State Secularism and Religious Neutrality and of Equality Between Women and Men, and Providing a Framework for Accommodation Requests. 1st Reading, Fortieth Legislature, First session (Quebec). Quebec Official Publisher 2013. Web.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the parti-quebecois government proposed a charter affirming the values of state secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men.
  • Opines that integration needs to protect against discrimination and prejudice to be strong and successful, and polyethnic rights should lead to changes within institutions and practices to allow for ethnic differences.
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