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)?

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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.

Do we consider resident people 100 % Spanish?


These questions could be a bit complicated, but easy for me.
A long my life, I have lived with people from other countries. I have an uncle who is Scottish and an aunt who is American.
my Scopttish uncle is living in Spain for almost 30 years. And it is very funny hearing him, because he still has his Scottish accent, when he speaks Spanish. He is part of my family, but I do not think that he feels really Spanish.

Another example that I have in my present life, it is a friend who is form Mexico. I knew her when she arrived Spain 6 years ago. During this period, I saw her that she has reduced her Mexican accent and she is using other expressions which are using in Spain. In this case, when I see her I think that she is half Spanish, half Mexican.

The third and last expample, is a friend who is from Morrocco. He came here when he was 7 years old. He does not speak any Spanish word. However, his parents found a public fundation where they can learn Spanish. Nowadays, he has graduated in the university, and he is multilingual speaker. When I see him, my impression is he is more Spanish than Morrocco. He does not eat pork meat, but it is a very little detail (there are a lot of people who do not eat any meat or fish).

Spain is a multicultural country. However, when he talk about "Us" or "Them", we always find a small border who makes this type of differentiation.

At the present, we find a lot of students from other countries in schools and high schools. And thanks to this change, Spanish has chaged their minds and they consider those people as part of the society and they include in "Us". However, when I was a child, in my school there is not any person from other country. And it was a big mistake. Maybe, as I did not add in my mind someone from the foreign in my school, I am not able to incorporate a 100 % as a real real Spanish. On the other hand, maybe they do not feel like 100 % Spanish.

In conclussion, we have to teach children from school the multicultural aspects of this society and to accept foreign people and include "them" in our "us".

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