Who to you is a 'real German' (or anything else)?
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.)
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.
Who is a "real American"?
This discussion is going on all the time in the US as well. In the US, the discussion tends to center around who came to the country legally (with papers) and who did not. If you don't have papers, the law will always consider you an outsider--even if you have been living in the country for decades, even if you follow the rules and pay your taxes and raise a family there. And people will still refer to you as a criminal, even if you have never committed any crime other than overstaying your visa.
In the US, immigrants can become citizens after entering the country legally, living there for a certain amount of time, learning English, and taking a test about American history and civics. Most people would agree that becoming a citizen makes an immigrant a "real American". But at the same time, many of those people might still continue to see that person as an outsider, especially if they don't see them as sharing American cultural values.
Personally, I tend to think that borders should be more open than they are, and that anyone who lives in the US and wants to be a "real American" should be one. But it isn't always that easy.