All over Western Europe, the lot of many non-Western immigrants is one of marginalization, discrimination, and increasing segregation. In this bold and controversial book, Unni Wikan shows how an excessive respect for "their culture" has been part of the problem. Culture has become a new concept of race, sustaining ethnic identity politics that subvert human rights-especially for women and children. Fearful of being considered racist, state agencies have sacrificed freedom and equality in the name of culture.
Should immigrants be allowed to take their children, who have been born and raised in one country back to the "homeland" to be married against their will? Should schools provide bilingual instruction, even when it means that children of immigrants will never learn to speak their mother tongue? Where should immigrants' loyalties lie-with their country of birth or their country of residence? What is the meaning of citizenship in this multicultural world? These are among the questions that Wikan confronts, comparing her native Norway to Western Europe and the United States. Writing with power and grace, she makes a plea for a renewed moral vitality and human empathy that can pave the way for more effective social policies and create change.