Unity in Diversity vs. Disunity in Ideologies

Ubuntu Festival, Cape Town, South Africa – 2009 (Photo by JJM)

Ubuntu Festival, Cape Town, South Africa – 2009  (Photo by JJM)

Ethnocentrism is inherent in all human beings. It has advantages and disadvantages. Since it cannot be removed or reduced without negative side effects, it would be better to find ways to work with it positively.

Positive ethnocentrism would allow for the natural maintenance and preservation of a person’s original culture and identity while also allowing and motivating for an appreciation of other cultures that live within the same environment. Unity in Diversity could be the perfect example of positive ethnocentrism in that it is very likely to deliver consistent positive results, if fostered, cultivated and maintained on a continuous basis.

Implementing Unity in Diversity would depend on both will and goodwill of all parties involved. Unity in Diversity has a weak point in that it is a relatively fragile concept that is vulnerable to being disrupted by intrusive forms of negative ethnocentrism such as identity politics and nationalism.

South Africa as a case study:

The rest of this essay is published at GypsyCafe.org Continue Reading (free)  >>

By JJ Montagnier

JJ Montagnier is a writer based in South America. He has a personal interest in conflict resolution, democracy and social coehsion. He has lived in South Africa and Northern Ireland (among other places.) The views and opinions expressed in this essay are those of the author.  

Publishing details:

Original version published on *Writerbeat.com: July 16, 2018  [*now defunct]. Updated version published at GypsyCafe.org: June 8, 2019 for The Truth Project.


About Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Explorer, Philosopher, Photographer. View all posts by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

8 responses to “Unity in Diversity vs. Disunity in Ideologies

  • smilecalm

    beautiful & insightful essay, JJ!
    my experience is that diverse groups can co-exist,
    live and let live, when they live out their lives
    intermingling and having humanistic interactions together.
    if only there was a way to keep in check
    that which keeps us apart, i believe intentionally;
    the unequal distributions of wealth and power.
    wishing you a happy day 🙂

    • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

      Hi David! Thanks for commenting. From my experience in all the countries I have lived is that in the big cities there are always cosmopolitan and bohemian areas where there is a continuous intermingling and co-existence where where people live naturally in multicultural interaction and cohesion. Then there are also neighbourhoods or areas where people are more traditional or nationalistic – I have found this to be the case even in South America. So there is diversity also in how societies organise themselves. They usually have a spectrum of communities – from the most diverse and cosmopolitan to the least.

      Interestingly, even during the best years of Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid Rainbow Nation in South Africa, many communities continued to keep to themselves to a large extent – they chose to segregate naturally, even when they did not have to and did not need to do so. South Africa has 11 official languages, so that in itself causes communities to group together, but the cultural differences are significant too, which causes more grouping together, etc.
      (Grouping together according to tribal affiliation is actually standard cultural practice in Africa in general, although there is a lot of intermingling too).
      That’s why I believe true Unity in Diversity is the best solution, as explained in my essay – it allows for cultural and language preservation as well as societal cohesion at the same time.
      Thanks again for your thoughts, David! 🙂

    • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

      Thank you Craig! Ubuntu is a great philosophy, but it requires people to embrace it and live by it – if more people did that (in South Africa, as well as in the world), we would have much less strife and much more cohesion. Ubuntu and identity politics are contrary to each other and right now a lot of people are choosing identity politics instead. Hopefully this will change.

  • theburningheart

    Yes, in big cities were you are forced to live with multi ethnic people from around the globe you can appreciate both phenomena, those who reject it, and those who embrace it as a positive, thing, the most isolated a group is the more they fear the change.

    And yes, prejudice, ignorance, but above all economical disparity has to do a lot with segregation.

    Good post Jean-Jacques. 🙂

  • JC

    Thanks, Jean for putting this quote into context. The whole article is a good read…jc

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