Vying for the spotlight in a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday appeared to throw a barb at the democratic notion of multiculturalism.
CNN says Bush, a professed policy wonk who tends to use nuanced language, was referring to “multicultural” in the literal sense, meaning “a social model in which cultures live in ‘isolated pockets,’ as he described them, rather than assimilating into society.”
The statement came in response to a question at a diner in Iowa from a woman who asked how Bush “would help refugees and immigrants integrate into U.S. society and ’empower them to become Americans,'” CNN writes.
“America is so much better than every other country because of the values that people share — it defines our national identity. Not race or ethnicity, not where you come from,” he said. “When you create pockets of isolation — and in some cases the assimilation process is retarded because it’s slowed down — it’s wrong. It limits peoples’ aspirations.”
He added that people who aren’t “fully engaged” in a broader community will struggle to get the best education and argued that learning English would better accelerate access to opportunities.
“We need to get back to that. We’re creeping towards multiculturalism and it’s the wrong approach,” he said.
The report notes that the Democratic group American Bridge responded to Bush by “blasting out video of the exchange and knocking Bush for appearing to denounce ‘multiculturalism’ in the more commonly known sense of tolerance for other cultures.”
Do you agree with the American Bridge about Bush’s intent?