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)?

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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 Citizens

1 comment

Globalization and multiculturalism is inevitable. People may move temporarily or permanently from their country to settle at a different country for economic, academic, environmental or health issues. As global citizens, it bestows on us to be accommodating of each other for the purposes mentioned above. With regards to this I think the criteria for becoming a 'real citizen' or resident of my country should be as below:
1. Being a native of my country.
2.Your parents are natives of my country.
3. You were born in my country
4. You were born in a different country but you have actively resided legally in my country for the last 10 years and have applied for permanent residency.
5. You are married to a citizen of my country.
The above also describes who is represented as nationals or residents of my country in public life.
Irrespective of the various means of obtaining citizenship, a 'real' anything(Ghanaian, Ukrainian, American etc.) is someone who is a native of that particular country. In my own definition, natives of a place are people who were born in that particular place and have subsequently lived there for at least 10 years.
I think having some people express cognitive vs. emotional dissonance with regards to immigration, belonging, citizenship, etc. is inescapable. Yes, there are those who hold the view that one must be white to be first of all considered a German, Ukrainian or Russian. Such a person may get surprised or even rage over the fact that a black child born in any of the countries above is considered a native. Though hardly noticed, I believe there exist emotional dissonance with regards to culture. Adapting to a new culture in the early stages always may wreck some discomfort in an individual.
I am a proponent of multiculturalism as far one's culture does not pose physical,emotional, health or environmental threats to himself or others. I think multiculturalism creates a sense of belonging and a home away from home feeling. It puts individuals in a physical, mental and emotional state that positively impacts productivity in all spheres of life.
Politicians in my society(Ukraine) are working hard towards a diverse and multicultural Ukraine. These are measures put in place towards joining the European Union.
I would like to be referred to as a German or American with Turkish roots.


Hi Jeremiah, your definition of "native" is interesting and I think differs a lot from how it is used in public debate. Usually then it's about ethnic roots (in Germany they call people with only German roots as "organic-Germans" (bio-Deutscher) which some find offensive) rather than those who may be born there and are German because of birthplace citizenship but not "blood". It seems that although there is an understanding of the legal side of things, that the emotional side has not totally caught up to what you've listed above.

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