Why Is Multiculturalism Good?

Blaine J. Fowers, Frank C. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


This article explores the moral sources that give multiculturalism the potency to move psychology to reassess itself. The power of the multicultural perspective appears to derive from its ability to show how psychology's tendency toward monocultural universalism has undermined its aims as a science of human behavior and a promoter of human welfare. The multicultural critique also draws on Euro-American moral traditions and ideals, such as individual rights, authenticity, respect, and tolerance. In spite of the importance of these ideals, multiculturalists often criticize Euro-American culture without acknowledging their debt to it. Moreover, these particularist moral sources undercut multiculturalism's universalist appeal. There is a paradoxical tendency among some advocates ofmulticulturalism to encourage cultural separatism and an inarticulateness in dealing with intercultural value conflict. We present some recommendations for dealing with these dilemmas from philosophical hermeneutics, including the contextualization of multiculturalism, an approach to sifting and evaluating cultural values, and an ontological account of the dialogical nature of humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-621
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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