Rethinking 'Us' & 'Them': Integration and Diversity in Europe

Chapters 2 › Unit 2: Who to you is a 'real German' (or anything else)? View instructions Hide instructions

Who to you is a 'real German' (or anything else)?

Tell us: Who to you is a 'real German' (or Spaniard, Brit, Canadian, or anything else!)

In this chapter, you've been given a lot of food for thought on identity and belonging as it is understood on the personal and academic levels in Europe, Canada, and beyond. This is a topic that has likely hit home for many of you who may or may not be tied to particular borders, have questions or concerns about who belongs in your society, or may still be unsure about the whole thing. The 'Us' & 'Them' course community would love to hear from you:

Here are some guiding questions to draw from:

  • What do you think the criteria should be for becoming a 'real' citizen or resident of your country?
  • What makes you a 'real' anything? (German, American, Spaniard, Turk, etc.)?
  • Do you see a cognitive vs. emotional dissonance in the way your society sees immigration, belonging, citizenship, etc.?
  • How do you identify with the word 'multiculturalism'? Do you see yourself or your society as multicultural?
  • Who is represented as nationals or residents of your country in public life?
  • How do politicians and public figures in your society or country portray multiculturalism? As a good, bad, or normal thing? What about schools and museums?
  • What type of language do you use to talk about the 'Other' or what kind of language do you prefer others use in reference to you? (e.g. migration background vs. migration history, 'Turkish-German' or 'German with Turkish roots', etc.)

Now what?
Click 'Start in Journal', and fill out the entry. How you do this is up to you: You can use just words, or add pictures or links to articles or videos to highlight your point!

Is this journal assignment required?
No! Nothing in our course is 'required', and there are no grades, but we encourage you to reflect on these topics and share if you feel comfortable, so that others in the course can benefit from your experiences.

Journal Assignment for Chapter 2

1 comment

Who to you is a 'real German' (or anything else)?

I think the government needs to assess if the existing definition of immigrants and migrants are incline with the basic principles of the country (for example German). It is also better if the United Nations, European Union, or any international covenants that can provide a standard criteria to define the immigration and migration. Having a standard policy could create a one unified and certain identity among the immigrants or migrants whether the person was born in that country, residents for some quite of time, paying taxes, or even speak and understand local language.

On my opinion, the above criteria mentioned above could be considered as basis to be considered as a local citizen, however, the other criteria should be dissect in a deep conglomeration in order to find if it is a natural citizen or a pure local, for example is the checking of bloodline. Does the person who have a pure bloodline, his father, mother, grandfather are all natives (German). If yes, then s/he could be considered as a REAL GERMAN.

The point of argument is that, the criteria mentioned in videos such as paying tax, speak local language, residency, or even born in German are things that can be realized and learned in a specific period of time. For example, person who study German language can speak local language even s/he was not born or live in Germany, or if I become an overseas workers, I can stay and live longer in Germany for years and paid my taxes, or if an overseas workers get fragrant and give birth in German.

The point is that, there should be no distinction whether a real native or an immigrants. The standard principle is that the government must accept and provide a clear policy to avoid isolation of WE and THEM. Nowadays, it cannot deny that fact that many foreigners are moving from one country to another in order to live and find better life such as looking a stable work, opportunity, etc.

The government must look this as a serious phenomenal problem of the world why many people are moving around from their origin to another, for example, war, refugees, people in developing countries to develop countries, professionals, etc.


Hi Abraham, thanks for this journal entry. If I get you right, you advocate that there be one definition of "immigrant" and "native" that all countries use?

The UN actually does have a definition for a migrant as "any person who lives temporarily or permanently in a country where he or she was not born, and has acquired some significant social ties to this country" (Source: This is how they calculate the number of migrants each year, which has been 3.2% of the global population for a long time and actually hasn't increased in recent decades.

I'm curious if your understanding of who a "real German" is changed at all after watching the videos from Chapter 2. You mention "pure bloodline", which I'm wondering how you would define. I am for instance only 1/4 German by blood (my mother is half German/half Algerian), I have a German passport, but I grew up in the United States. How do I compare to someone with no German blood but who was born and grew up in German all their life and may speak German better than I do?

Your Comment

Please login to leave a comment.