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.

Real Germans

1 comment

As I grew up in the eastern part of Germany, it is very hard for me to define the "typical German". In my opinion, there are still differences in behavior and sights.
For me, typical German behavior is often Not so good. Germans are very correct, not very open to new ideas. That's not the way I want to be or as I see myself.
I don't know, what could be a question, how to become a "real" German. Of course, it is important to accept culture and laws. That's not only for Germany, but for all countries. But there always also native people, who don't behave as the mass. Aren't they typical inhabitants?
For me, multiculturalism is a way to make life richer. To learn from other people. I don't have to agree in all the sights, but maybe there are some, I can include in my own life.


Hi Daniela, thanks for sharing! I think this question is so complicated for people to answer because there are so many layers to being anything. For instance as you mention, culture vs. laws vs. behavior. These are already three different aspects of saying you are similar or dissimilar to someone else.

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