The term ‘CALD’, or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, has had its day in Australia, says Peter Mousaferiadis. In two thought-provoking articles, the CEO of Cultural Infusion argues that despite its intended embrace of multiculturalism, the acronym simply reflects outdated thinking in a new format. The term can be damaging both in the workplace and broader society in its assumption of ‘Anglo’ as the default Australian cultural background, with all other cultures positioned as inherently ‘diverse’ or ‘different’. Mousaferiadis explains that CALD is inadequately broad in its lack of intersectionality, as it groups all ethnic and linguistic minorities under the same exclusionary label. Yet it also fails to be general enough: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are not included under the definition of the term.
There are, Mousaferiadis suggests, better ways of classifying multiculturalism in this nation than what CALD currently offers. It is important to have some means of measuring socioeconomic inequity amongst ethnic groups in order to address underlying issues, but we must develop alternative terminology and categories which do not reinforce outdated cultural ideals of Australian society. “Language defines the reality we live in,” says Mousaferiadis, and reframing the conversation away from divisive ‘us and them’ binaries will also help more broadly in policy creation.
To read Peter’s work in full, please follow the links below:
To learn more about the work of Cultural Infusion go to https://culturalinfusion.org.au/
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