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.

Defining us and them is dynamic and situational


Having grown up in Germany as a 2nd generation Turkish migrant, I have experienced what Said coined as 'othering', finding myself in very awkward conversations where I was asked to position myself between my German education and my Turkish origin. I felt uncomfortable taking such an exclusive position, as any answer was not capturing how I felt. Later, when I studied in France I was accepted as German. No one questioned my right to be called German. That was truly liberating. When I told people about my Turkish origin the reaction was also strikingly more positive. People wanted to learn more about the country, it's people and the politics. This was an eye-opening experience. But, it took me only until I went and lived for a year I now Turkey that I realised that I don't have to make an exclusive choice. I could be both Turkish and German. And people would have to learn to accept it.

But, I think the question of identity is a dynamic and situational issue. It was sometimes impossible to make others accept me as a German in Germany, while in France, or in the UK no one ever questioned this idea. The national experience and discourse is critical in how people and social groups are defined. However, it can be challenged.

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