Polyculturalism: Myth of Cultural Purity

170 views 5 pages ~ 1187 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

In his book Everyone Was Kung Fu Fighting and The Myth of Afro-Asian Connectivity and Cultural Purity Vijay Prashad seeks to portray the racist experience of blacks and other minorities. His perspective takes an anti-racist perspective as an advocate for multiculturalism. This paper will focus on some of the main elements Prashad used to present his views on the development of culture.

Racism as a Form of Capitalist Justification

According to Prashad, racism, like racism, is not a natural component of human sociology. He points out that white supremacy actually emerged as a form of capitalist justification for the oppression and confiscation of people's resources. These types of practices were common in many parts of Europe whereby cases of ethnocentric and xenophobic practices were common. This in turn led to practices such as slave labor. According to Prashad, all these practices fostered both racism and polyculturalism. He states that cultural and national differences came about and became acknowledged even before expropriation of socially developed values that had been common among the Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Socio-political activities such as imperialism depended on language and geography but not on human entities (Watkins 12).

Differences between White Supremacy (Racism) and Liberal Multiculturalism

In his book, Prashad defines differences between white supremacy (racism) as a form of colorblindness and liberal multiculturalism. He describes how civil rights movements and other white supremacy organizations tried to adopt colorblindness and liberal multiculturalism. Their target was not for equality but for political ambitions. He uses the example of White Citizen's Council and the KKK who had adopted a change framework. According to his findings, the frameworks did not end white supremacy but instead introduced what he refers to as sophisticated colorblindness.

The Influence of White Supremacy in Managing Multicultural Societies

This leads Prashad to his next perspective on liberal multiculturalism. He believes that the white supremacy is to be blamed for cultural positions that have been characterized by racism. Furthermore, white supremacy played a major role in the management of the complex multicultural societies. Its existence was however characterized by pre-designated skin color and body shape of people. The effects of this were a working class that was forced to compete for resources while struggling to deal with capitalists. Prashad also introduces an idea of fascism. He states that fascism also contributed largely to the propagation of tendencies that included factors that led to racism and militarism. He equates unitary and nation as factors that tried to o away with differences that were brought about by race or ethnicity. He believes those fascist movements and other similar strategies where somewhat tactical or strategic given that they targeted democracy and advocated for popularity of what he refers to as racial nationalism (Watkins 13-20).

Origin of Iberian Inquisition, Racism, and Slave Trade

He is seen to have introduced new ideologies and theories that painted a clear picture of what scholars call the two sixteenth century developments. His theories further depict the origin of the Iberian Inquisition which is racism and slave trade. The Iberian Inquisition was a quest to establish the justification of slavery, purity of blood, and the elements that made up the diversity of the African people.

Main Ideologies and Theories Regarding Polyculturalism

His theories are mainly centered on the human interactions with a main focus on the interaction between Blacks, Asians, and general White communities. Furthermore he uses theoretical and political ideologies to bring out the neglected details in the history of the world. His main aim is to show the importance the idea of polyculturalism and how its development saw the integration of the minorities especially the Africans. He was strongly opposed to the dominance of the American attitudes towards color blindness, multiculturalism, or generally racism. He believes that color blindness for instance was a logic that targeted the motivation of people into opposing affirmative action. He notes that to counter this, people were supposed to be evaluated according to their track record or merits regardless of the ethnicity. However, he also points out that besides that, other systematic forces need to be taken into account if all people are to benefit. He uses the example of Asian Americans who have been used to model the minority and bring out the differences between the minorities. The analysis of his work reveals his ideas on multiculturalism. Some scholars have criticized him stating that he fails to clearly bring out how multiculturalism relates to the differences on cultures given that the cultures were different and static. Ideally, institutions that aim at conserving or maintaining multiculturalism will set up strategies into the management of diversity but not undermine the structures that protect and foster the zoological culture as in the case for indegenistats and primordialists. The conservation protects the culture from contamination especially from racist cultural chauvinists. Prashad's work depicts a history of polyculturalism whereby societies were interacting and sharing cultural practices. This in turn saw the blend of the cultures and the spread of various values and practices across ethnic boundaries. His work has therefore been seen to uncouple the origins and authenticity of culture.

The Influence of Asian Ideals on Black Leaders

To achieve this Prashad for instance depicted how Asian ideals greatly influenced individual and black leaders such as Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey. These are leaders whose works especially public messages have received worldwide recognition for being Afrocentric. According to Prashad, these leaders received inspiration from various sources. The leaders were shrewd enough to realize that the fate of the black people was tied to the need for collective enlightenment especially for the white community. He highlights how human organization such as migration and translation of traditions such as the Sh'ai ceremony that was practiced in Muharram that saw a celebration of the death of Muhammad Hussain. This ceremony saw the interaction within the Caribbean in what was referred to as the Hosay. The ceremony is thought to have influenced the abolition of slavery given the developed interaction between the laborers and the slaves (Bernardo et al., 335-344).


Prashad strategically constructed the history that revolves around the actions of the white America and how it influenced the development of culture as we know today. Through this shift of focus away from the victims of the oppression he depicts how dominant culture affected the struggling culture. Various scholars have regarded this move to be deliberate given that Prashad ignores the already present culture. He did not want rival Asian or black culture against the mainstream culture mainly because this could have affected his effectiveness in depicting the idea of mutual influence. Prashad had to factor in the idea of power dynamics in order to be able to use terms such as 'appropriation'. He wanted to make sure that his ideologies effectively brought out the relationships between cultures without any inherent problems.

Works Cited

Bernardo, Allan BI, Lisa Rosenthal, and Sheri R. Levy. "Polyculturalism and attitudes towards people from other countries." International journal of intercultural relations 37.3 (2013): 335-344.

Watkins, Rychetta. Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2012.

April 19, 2023


Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Racial Segregation
Verified writer

When you require an expert in social sciences, Tim1134 is the safest bet! Sharing my task for a paper revision, my writer understood every comment and kept my back safe. Professional attitude for every task that you may have!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro