I remember the multicultural day in school. For one day in the year, my classmates got to share parts of their culture and for the rest of the time we studied the Western science, grammar, music, art, and history. This day showed that we were better than many other countries because we embraced other cultures.
It seems like every day now, we see evidence of how we have failed. A man in crisis was shot by police in Calgary. The man was Black. Meanwhile, predominantly white individuals have been terrorizing people across the country. Shutting down borders, stockpiling weapons, and calling for freedom from oppression while sitting in their inflatable hot tubs and using their children as a blockade against police.
Lei and Guo (2022) did an analysis of how the multiculturalism policy in Canada has contributed to the rise of overt anti-Asian, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous racism in this country. Multiculturalism leads us to tolerate difference without actually questioning any of the systemic characteristics that promote white supremacy.
I learned about food and games from the Philippines but not once was I introduced to a non-white scientist. If non-white science was introduced it was clear that it was basic and needed validation by white researchers.
It is clear to me today that we have lost a lot by patting ourselves on the back for being multicultural. Sustainability, science, and society all need anti-racism. We all need to talk, but more importantly we need to act.