Magazine article New Criterion

Multiculturalism, a Reality Check

Magazine article New Criterion

Multiculturalism, a Reality Check

Article excerpt

We hear a lot about the virtues of multiculturalism these days--you know, openness to "the Other" to "alternative social constructions" to the rich and diverse tapestry of human experience. The multiculturalist tends to deprecate our Greek and Roman heritage as a dead-white-guy's patrimony. The one classical tag he can be relied upon to have a soft spot for is Terence's overquoted boast that "humani nihil a me alienum," that "nothing human is alien" to him. But what does multiculturalism look like on the ground, so to speak? How do cultures committed to learning about and understanding others actually act? A simple question with a complex answer, no doubt.

Yet surely one measure of curiosity about other cultures is the number of books that are translated every year from other languages. A few years ago, The World Press Review published a story with some interesting statistics on this question. …

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