From a sociological or anthropological perspective, it is possible to speak of multiculturalism when in the same geographical, physical or social space, different cultures converge and coexist in a tolerant and respectful way and without any predominant over the other . In fact, multiculturalism does not imply an important exchange between cultures but rather the harmonious coexistence between them. In this sense, it implies the acceptance and recognition of cultural values ​​other than one’s own.  

What is multiculturalism?

Multiculturalism is the presence of groups from different cultures living together in the same geographical, physical or social space . Their cultural diversity may be marked, for example, by differences in their religious beliefs, languages, ethnicities or gender. Furthermore, multiculturalism is a position from which cultural diversity is recognized, respected and promoted .


Multiculturalism promotes cultural diversity and thus opposes the current trend to unify cultural forms in these times of globalization. This notion has been incorporated into the official political models of different nations for different reasons. It is an ideology according to which society should allow different cultural groups to coexist within a framework of equality .


Finally, it should be noted that the term multiculturalism is made up of the prefix “multi” that comes from the Latin “multus” or “fine” which means “a lot.” On the other hand, “cultus”, “cult” comes from the participle of the verb “colere” which means “to cultivate”.

  • Characteristics of multiculturalism
  • Values
  • Profits
  • Importance of multiculturalism
  • Differences between multiculturalism and interculturality
  • Examples

Characteristics of multiculturalism

Among the characteristics of multiculturalism, the following stand out:

  • It promotes coexistence in harmony between different cultures.
  • Accepts and recognizes the presence of all cultural forms without denying any and within a framework of equality.
  • Avoid stereotypes and prejudices that exist around different cultural forms.
  • It promotes tolerance and respect for cultural diversity.
  • Defend the right to difference.
  • Reject discrimination and marginalization.


If multiculturalism did not exist, we would all be the same, we would all have the same beliefs and we would act in the same way. This would limit our growth and development as human beings. Multiculturalism allows us to broaden our horizons and the way we think.

Multicultural values favor a more open attitude in today’s plural and globalized world. When the world is perceived from a multicultural perspective , it is easier to approach concepts, events or situations from different positions. In this sense, it is easier to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. Likewise, multiculturalism teaches us that there is more than one valid point of view regarding the perception of reality.

On the other hand, it  helps to reinforce self-esteem in individuals by recognizing and respecting members from different cultural groups and consolidating one’s own cultural identity.


Multiculturalism has many benefits, including the following:

  • The diversity of ideas and beliefs from different cultures contributes to fostering respect for them.
  • It allows us to mix the different cultural forms and learn from each of them.
  • A multicultural perspective reduces ethnocentrism and broadens and enriches horizons, which contributes to the discovery and creation of new concepts.
  • It favors innovation and creativity by offering a broader perspective enriched by different cultural forms.

Importance of multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is very important since it favors the understanding of other cultures from a position of respect, tolerance and freedom . Without multiculturalism, societies would only know the dominant cultures and other cultural forms would be marginalized.

Thanks to multiculturalism, members of a society can learn to manage and respect their differences and take advantage of them .

Differences between multiculturalism and interculturality

Although multiculturalism and interculturality are two interconnected notions, there are differences between the two. The multiculturality refers particularly to the presence of various forms of culture while interculturality , refers to the interaction that occurs between groups belonging to different cultures .



This country has a great cultural diversity from different points of view. For example, in terms of language, it is important to note that Mexico has 11 language families, according to data from the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples. This multicultural indigenous and mestizo heritage is reflected both in its traditional cuisine and in its artistic manifestations.


In Chile there are groups from different indigenous ethnic groups such as the Mapuche or the Atacameños. In addition to this, it is a country that has also been enriched with the contribution of immigrants. However, it is also important to note that unlike other countries such as Colombia and Venezuela in which there was a great miscegenation after the colonization period that facilitated the integration of different cultures, in Chile this miscegenation process did not occur to the same degree .


In the Peruvian culture there is an excellent example of multiculturalism since it is characterized by being a fusion of multiple cultures and is composed of influences from the coastal, Andean and Aymara cultures, as well as the contributions of immigrants from Europe , Africa and Asia. that have come to this country over the years. This cultural diversity is reflected for example in its gastronomy, which has elements from different cultural forms that make it unique in the world.


The Colombian constitution supports in its 1991 constitution, the inclusion of different ethnic communities that are part of the cultural heritage of the country. In this sense, these ethnic groups have been given the opportunity to participate at the political level. Furthermore, the adoption of a policy of plurality and multiculturalism represents the recognition of the heterogeneous character of the Colombian people.


In the Guatemalan country, the Mayan people have been recognized as an ethnic group and this has been endorsed in the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The legitimization of the Mayan culture constitutes an advance since previously the Mayan cultural expressions were perceived in a derogatory way. From this perspective, for example, the ancient Mayan practices of self-mutilation and human sacrifice are not demonized, but rather perceived as cultural elements that are part of another social construction. In this sense, the adoption of a multicultural policy favors the respect and recognition of diverse cultures.

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