Sunday, November 29, 2015

Multiculturalism is not achieved by denying religion, but by honoring all of them.

Today's Guardian has an article about an Italian headmaster who has banned Christmas carols from the schools winter concert.

Last year evidentially, during the concert, a bunch of Muslim students were ordered by their parents not to sing the carols. They stood there silently while the other kids sang. Some of the Muslim parents went onto stage and pulled their kids out of the chorus. The Headmaster Marco Parma decided that it was not a good sight and decided to cancel the carols.

Mr. Parma is wrong. He wants a school that is multicultural. That is not what he is promoting, he is promoting segregation and a heckler's veto (Where a legitimate voice is stifled by a dissenter who creates a scene causing the former to be quieted by authorities to "Keep the Peace". )

In a multicultural world, every religion and every culture is celebrated by everyone. Music is an international language. The notes are the same if you are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or a Sub Genius.
They tell a history, music can cause revolution (See VERDI and the Italian Unification) it soothes a child, it honors heroes. It can expose villains.

Stifling Religious music, teaches nothing but distrust. It causes dislike and hate. What's more, is in Italy, there is an official state religion, it is Roman Catholicism and that makes this kind of decision even more dangerous. It teaches majorities to dislike minorities, to fear that the acceptance of others means that the majority's culture no longer matters.

Now this isn't about making fun of another religion, It doesn't mean that participating in the music of another culture is accepting the ideals of the other culture. It means that one respects the culture of all people. That is what music does. It breeds acceptance. If you don't want to accept the views of others, then go off and be among your own. You may not learn anything, you may be disliked for your parochial attitudes but at least within your bubble you can be what you want to be.

What Parma fails to see, is that he has missed a teaching and a learning opportunity. He is a failure as an educator. He needs to stand down or be fired and let someone who gets it, teach it. Multiculturalism is inclusive, not exclusive. It adds it does not take away. If you do not want to participate, don't, but if you do, you may learn a thing or two about people you do not understand and they may learn about you.
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