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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.

Sense of Belonging in Kenyan Context

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Immigration and citizenship have continued to generate what could be seen as less fiery but heated debates among academics, politicians and think tanks in several countries in Europe and America. However, In most African countries, which are richly multi-ethnic and multicultural, much of the focus is placed on ethnic belonging rather than national belonging. Various communities have rites of passages that are symbolized with communal ceremonies that are used to usher in new members - and the same could be said to apply to my country Kenya which has a total of 43 ethnic groups with distinct languages.
The reference of 'other' is usually context based- every ethnic group has a way of referring to the 'other' usually in their local languages.
At national level, what makes a real Kenyan is a person's commitment to our national values as enshrined in our Constitution and national anthem with blithe disregard to affluence and privilege. The most common ways of becoming a Kenyan citizen are by birth and naturalization.

Comments

Dear Michael, thanks so much for this entry and interesting perspective from Kenya. It makes me think about how little Europeans are educated on Africa in general, as they often talk about "Africa" as one place let alone different countries let alone the diversity within those countries! I'm sure a lot of Germans would be surprised to hear that Kenya has 43 ethnic groups and languages. Through this course I also have started to realize that if people can recognize the diversity within their own societies (not necessarily related to migration), they're maybe more open to the general idea of migration as a result.

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