Rethinking Multiculturalism: Toward a Balanced Approach

CORY L. COBB, SCOTT O. LILIENFELD, SETH J. SCHWARTZ, CRAIG FRISBY, GARDINER L. SANDERS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Multiculturalism has succeeded in bringing much-ne ded attention to historically neglected minority populations. Despite the gains that multiculturalism has facilitated, as presently implemented, it may inadvertently contribute to reduced social cohesion and declining intergroup relations. We draw from social-psychological, including attitudinal and social-cognitive, perspectives to provide a theoretically and empirically informed analysis of why, despite many of its successes, multiculturalism often struggles to deliver on some of its laudable promises. We highlight three areas of concern regarding contemporary presentations of multiculturalism: (a) a strong emphasis on intergroup differences rather than a more balanced emphasis between differences and commonalities; (b) majority group members‘ perceptions that multiculturalism excludes them; and (c) framings of multiculturalism that evoke extrinsic forms of motivation. Finally, we provide several recommendations aimed at a balanced and scientifically informed understanding of multiculturalism. Although these recommendations are theoretically grounded and empirically supported, the proposed benefits of our approach need to be tested against alternative approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-293
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Volume133
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • intergroup relations
  • multicultural
  • multiculturalism
  • recommendations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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