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' v. 'Them' in Poland

1 comment

Poland has been a country of immigration for centuries. Poles, Jews, Russians, Germans and many other ethnic minorities lived side by side for centuries. Of course, it wasn't always pretty. As a result of war and communism everything has changed. Today we are the most homogeneous society in Europe and paradoxically one of the most Islamophobic. We forgot who we were and so we released the demons that were suppressed for a long time.

In my opinion one of the reasons for the growth of anti-immigrant sentiment is the lack of knowledge of the history of our families. I did research on my own family tree and discovered that two hundred years ago my ancestors still had German names and probably their roots are in France. Still, I feel Polish and I love my country, even though it is a difficult love. I feel connected with language, culture, I like our specific sense of humour. I've lived in London for a year and although I liked the atmosphere - the whole world in one city - I felt like a fish taken out of the water.

The answer to the question of who are 'us' seems obvious in homogeneous Poland. But the privileged position of the Catholic Church, the restriction of reproductive rights and the lack of regulation for people in same-sex relationships make that 'us' means white, heterosexual Catholic men. Therefore, I don't feel that I fit within the definition of Polishness promoted by the present government. But it's not their business to decide who I am.


Hi Emilia, thanks so much for your comment and telling us a bit about the Polish example.

It's fascinating that you bring up family history - this is something I'm sure lots of people don't think about although it's a part of many of our backgrounds, even if many generations prior. Being from the US myself, this is definitely the case. :)

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