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.



I have been in Ukraine for barely three months and am still confused on the stance of the country with regards to diversity and integration. The country is divided into two groups concerning diversity; a younger elite and diverse generation, and a Soviet Union-era nationalist generation . Majority of the younger generation speak at least one foreign language, are glad to meet and learn from people from other ethnicities and cultures. They offer help to stranded foreigners irrespective of race, gender or religion. On the other hand, the older generation barely speak any foreign language and some may get offended at your inability to speak the local language. They are much reserved and do not put up a welcoming face. Your level of contact with these two different groups will affect your worldview of Ukraine's diversity.
Judging based on personal experiences, I conclude that, diversity in Ukraine is below global expectation. Even in Kiev, the capital city, one can seldom see other cultures apart from that of Ukraine on display. There is a silent fear among minorities, particularly blacks to be expressive of their culture. Walking alone deep in the night as a person of colour comes with its own risk because of skinheads. Some landlords do not rent apartment to blacks and some residents do not want black neighbours.
Other race and ethnicities, particularly blacks are rarely represented in the media, and in majority of instances that they are represented, the publicity is negative(poverty, famine, diseases, drugs...etc)
I am now used to some old folks giggling when I join a bus, kids rooted to the spot when they catch a sight of me and occasionally old folks covertly avoiding to sit beside me in a bus or subway metro.
Ukraine recognizes itself as a country of immigration on a governmental level. The country has opened her borders to foreigners for academic, tourism and business purposes. The government is putting in measures to become a member of the European Union. Institutions are working hard to embrace the globalization and diversity vision of the European Union and Police racial profiling is on the low.
Notwithstanding the great measures towards diversity at governmental level, Ukraine cannot be recognized as a country of immigration because majority of the citizens are yet to catch the diversity and integration vision. I am yet to see inter-racial couples; involving black men and a white women exhibiting their affection in public like their all-white counterparts. This is because a section of the society is against race-mixing and may even blowup if it involves a dark skinned person. A lot of black males have reported being attacked at night clubs because they were with a Ukrainian lady and just recently, a Moroccan student was found dead near a nightclub in Kharkov. Unconfirmed reports claim he was stabbed and the incident is likely to be racially motivated. I am yet to see an African, Asian or South American cultural troop perform publicly. Many people of colour organize their events in closed doors or on University campuses particularly to avoid any public repercussions .
Majority of the foreigners here are students and about 90% plan to return to their countries upon completion of their studies particularly due to race related issues.
Notwithstanding the above setbacks, I see a racial and culturally diverse Ukraine in the next two decades. I am motivated by the more open-minded, "global centric" younger generation who will fill the four corners of Ukraine and embrace diversity and integration.


As a person; do you regret being in Ukraine? What in your own ways have done to help reduce this racial discrimination against predominantly black people? Does this negative character towards emigrants grounded in their educational system or so ever?

over 1 year ago

Thank you for your question.
I do not regret being in Ukraine. There are so many things I enjoy here like the weather, subway metro, streets, food and cafes. As stated in my submission, there are a lot of vibrant youths who embrace foreigners with love. So it is not so bad after all though much work needs to be done.
In my own way, i educate those i get the opportunity to speak with. I think one major reason causing the prejudice is ignorance. I had to educate one elderly woman that I am not black because of the sun in Africa but because of genetics. I plan to launch a platform to help dissolve some of these myths.
I think Ukraine is doing very well with regards to the Education system. I have not read much of their curricular but judging from the actions of students, I believe they are being enlightened about the broader world of people outside Ukraine. I may conclude that universities here are the number one drivers of integration and diversity. However, like any human institution, there are challenges and yes, there are times foreign students complain of experiencing some level of discrimination. Thank you.

Thank you for the elaborate response. You mentioned lack of education but will like you to help me further to really understand the issue. Does the native belief in globalization? Is it part of their everyday vocabulary?

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