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

Chapters 1 › Unit 1: Do you feel like part of the 'Us' or the 'Them'? View instructions Hide instructions

Do you feel like part of the 'Us' or the 'Them'?

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Tell us: Where do you fall on the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ spectrum?

In this chapter, you've seen many examples of how diversity is understood and contested in Germany and Canada. We imagine you may want to comment on what you've heard and maybe even share your personal experiences. The 'Us' & 'Them' course community would love to hear from you:

Here are some guiding questions to draw from:

  • How is diversity perceived in your country?
  • How are the communities you identify with (race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender...) represented in media and public life?
  • What examples can you mention or find that indicate your inclusion or exclusion from mainstream society?
  • What experiences have you had where others perceived you in a certain way based on how you look or where you come from? Were these correct or incorrect?
  • Does your country recognize itself as a country of immigration and in which ways? Do you see your country as a country of immigration?

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.

Us or Them

1 comment

In south of Brazil some people advocate a separative movement claiming economically that our taxes do not return to improvement for our region. Even if this argument is not the worst, the real engine of this movement is a great historical and cultural separation between the people who live here and the people of the north and northeast. The majority of the population in the South is made up of European immigrants who have gained small pieces of land for planting when they arrived here. In the North, and even in the southeast, a large part of the population is black, derived from the long history of slavery that our country carries. In general, the estates are huge latifundios, also an inheritance of the past Brazil, linked to sugar cane and coffee plantations, not to mention the rubber tappers of the North. In general, there is little identification of the South with the rest of Brazil, which in times of financial recession increases feelings of repulsion and hurt. Brazil is known for being a country that welcomes the diversities very well, in fact, our country has everything, it is hot all year in Salvador, and it snows in Santa Catarina in the winter, we have mountains, aquifers, beaches, and the Amazon . However, structurally, very recently some public policies have tried to overcome the social hierarchy. With the slave liberation law they have not reached any level of economic equality and even today with almost 70% of our population among blacks and "mulattos" the majority of the students who enroll in the University are white. Programs such as the Bolsa Família, the Unified Health System (SUS), the University for All Program (PROUNI), among others, have tried very slowly to overcome these historical difficulties, also with a lot of resistance from the Brazilian white middle class. Also in times of recession, these programs have lost strength and size, unfortunately. Turning to the issue of Brazil's diversity, there are many types of people and cultures living in that country, our Constitution also accepts that any foreigner who is in our territory has the same rights as any Brazilian. However, despite being hospitable, most of the Brazilian people are racist. I say this from the experience I have, not only in my region, which is certainly one of the worst by the majority of the population being white and descending from Europeans. In general, in Brazil, there is a feeling we call a mutt, associated with uncrowded street dogs, everything associated with Europe and the United States (with and had a pre-created identity of these places) are widely applauded As better, both from Brazil and from another. In general, the Negro is still not welcome regardless of whether he is wearing rags or an Armani suit. I would also like to say that since there is no immigration in Europe, or at least immigrants are not part of Europe, there is still much of the nostalgia of Germans and Italians for a unique national culture (the largest German party in the world outside Germany Is here near my house: In general, the Brazilian middle class prefers to forget that they live here, or to deny it simply: they avoid living with the Brazilian reality and, as much as possible, deny That the poor majority has access to services such as transportation, education, health and quality education (the basic quality schools in the country are private ones with a tuition value higher than the minimum wage), among other conflicts between a class Who, when moving to the United States or Europe, finally discovers that he is more of a foreigner. Overall, I feel Brazilian, I deny any separatist movement, I feel Latin American and not I have no shame about the difficulties that I and millions of people spend every day.


Thank you for sharing this background on Brazil, Carolina. You mention that Brazilians are hospitable but racist. Can you give an example of how this manifests itself?

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