A personal question: As an Arab-American, I try to maintain my children's ties to Arab culture and the Arabic language, going out of my way to make sure that they speak Arabic fluently, and sending them to Arabic class and attending various Arab-American community events etc...to give them a "sense of identity". But of late I have been wondering what's the point? I have Irish great grand parents from one side of my family, but it would seem silly for me to go out of my way to instill an Irish identity in my kids, or to make sure that we spoke Gaelic at home. Moreover, if one them was to marry a person of Philippino-Jewish decent, what identity are they going to instill in their offspring? Are they going to speak Tagalog on odd days, Arabic on even days, and Yiddish on Weekends? At some point it starts seeming pointless, why not just give up and adopt the dominant cultural identity of the society you live in.
Moreover, it seems immoral for me to impose on them that they marry inside the group the way many groups do to their children in the name of protecting ethnic and religious heritage.
On the other hand, it seems totally reasonable to me that a group which has come under severe oppression and violence (Jews, Armenians,...) or that is so small that it is in danger of extinction (Cajuns, many Native American Nations,...) would seek to protect itself by forcefully insuring the perpetuation of its language and values through its children and preventing or at least minimizing intermarriage with other groups.
In addition to that, it seems that if the ideal American melting-pot model succeeds and gets extended to other geographies, in a few generations humanity will end up being one uniform, boring group with little or no cultural and genetic variation at all. Think of the number of languages that have gone extinct just in the 20th century.
Some might see such a unification as a positive thing (less conflict, no sectarian strife, no racism, et....), but to me it would make for a very poor planet indeed.
- Other than religious motivations, what are the justifications for maintaining or protecting one's cultural and linguistic identity in the face of larger or dominant Cultures?
- From an axiology/value theory point of view, how can one say that a diverse society is better than a uniform one, especially given the negative effects of diversity (racism, sectarian conflict, problems arising from extreme cultural relativism,...)?
- Which philosophers and critical theorists have engaged with the concept of diversity?