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.

A different kind of (im)migrant


I am Sri Lankan citizen, living in Qatar for over a decade. Almost the entirety of the “Us and Them” discussion sounds strange and surreal in my context.

A few telling facts of cognitive un-acceptance in my context:
85% of the country’s population is “expatriate”, Yes!.
Expatriates (also known as residents) are governed primarily by the “Sponsorship law” and have to enter the country with the intervention of a Qatari sponsor, who can either be a company (51% or more owned by a Qatari) or a Qatari individual. Technically, the sponsor owns the expatriate’s visa.
A resident needs an “exit permit” from his/her sponsor to exit the country.
Until a few years ago the sponsor was able to retain the worker’s/expatriate’s passport in his possession. Inspite of a legislative move against this measure in the recent past this practice continues to this day more flagrantly and openly in relation to low income workers like domestic workers (“maids”) and construction workers (“laborers”) who are all expatriates.

In state institutions it is not uncommon to find employee benefits variances among Qataris and expatriates. These schemes and scales are justified through “Qatarization” a process which enforces a quota of Qataris in certain sectors and industries.
Expatriates are never portrayed in the media – we are invisible. It’s that simple really! Take a look at this video by a Kuwaiti producer who superimposed a domestic worker into a soap opera setting to address this invisibility.
Monira Al Qadiri - Ramadan Soaps: The Workers Will Not Be Televised

Lack of cognitive acceptance aside, one of the most telling signs of emotional un-acceptance is the absence of civil society efforts at integrating migrants, or acknowledging the contributions made by migrant workers towards development. (Compare this with events in neighboring Kuwait where a group of Kuwaiti student rolled out a campaign to speak up about migrant rights.

Interestingly what is to be found in Qatar are attempts by citizens to make themselves understood by wider society.

[While in the recent part, a few attempts acknowledging the presence of residents have emerged, they fall short of addressing deeper issues constructively.]

In Qatar, migrants don’t live as a part of the whole. We simply exist side by side.

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