October 5, 2009

More homework fun!: Multiculturalism

Oh lord. I'm afraid for this chapter. I'm afraid OF this chapter.

In my Philosophy as Conversation we've moved on to multiculturalism. We're defining it as this:


* Multiculturalists asks and give an affirmative answer to this question: Do the facts of contemporary cultural and religious pluralism point to the need to recognize ‘group differentiated rights’?

* Here their concern is that, under the conditions of such pluralism, strict equality before the law involving the same laws for all citizens is unfair to some citizens.

* This is a counter-intuitive claim for many who believe that the paradigm of fairness is having the same laws apply equally to all citizens. For instance, if there is a law banning the carrying of concealed weapons, this should apply to all citizens equally: no exemptions. Or, if there is a law requiring riders of motorcycles or mopeds to wear crash helmets, this should apply to all citizens equally: no exemptions.

If I've sussed out my class properly I can see exactly where this is going, and that they would agree with the latter claim. I myself am not really for making exemptions all across the board for certain groups--but I'm not against all exemptions. Hell, some need to be made. We really need to stop being so damn eurocentric in this class, it's getting on my nerves...okay, okay, it is basically an American philosophy class, I know, cut 'em a break. Anyway, take it away Dr A:

Conversational Journal

In the UK, an exemption to a law banning the carrying of concealed weapons is granted to members of the Sikh religion who are under a religious obligation to always carry the kirpan, a ceremonial knife. Likewise, an exemption is granted to Sikh from motor cycle helmet laws because Sikhs are under a religious obligation not to cut their hair. Observant male Sikhs bind their hair in turbans making it impossible for them to wear crash helmets (but also providing them with considerable protection to their heads in the event of road accidents).

* In your estimation, are group differentiated rights justified in the case of the Sikhs? Why or why not

Thanks, I got it from here.


I think it's fair. I know, surprise answer. What? For one thing, from what I understand about Sikhism, it's a ceremonial knife. The men keep it sheathed and it's not like they're going to run up and cut a bitch unless you attack them first (and maybe not even then). It's one of their articles of faith like the long hair. It's not really so cut and dry but in the end I think it's fair to let the men carry their kirpan. It's not really a big deal to me. Look at this Wiki article detailing the legalities of carrying the kirpan.
Denmark you petty.

Same with the hair. Sikh men do not cut their hair according to religions faith. Again I'm really not bothered by this--I think it'd be a good idea to wear a helmet when you're on a motorbike but if you can't fit it in your turban and you can't cut your hair it's really not up to us to impose a law on you that would put you in conflict with your religious faith. I feel more definite with the hair thing though.

But to understand my stance you have to understand my views on weapons rights, in that I'm actually--to my horror--lax on weapons. We do have some weird weapons laws in the US I think, especially when it comes to knives vs guns and who can have what, violence and all that. That's a whole different thing but I will say I'm not completely opposed to, say, guns and hobby knives. WITH REGULATION for crying out loud.

Anyway, that's about it for this journal. At least we're getting semi-interesting now. Oh I can see the responses now.

blog comments powered by Disqus