What defines community? Defining community involves more than mere geography or demographics; community is an essence of belonging, where people share similar experiences, values, cultures, and beliefs. Every single community has an insider and outsider.


At Dickinson College, my community, there is a significant gap between insiders and outsiders. As a South Asian and Middle Eastern Muslim woman, I am considered an outsider in this community.  Over my three years at Dickinson, I’ve gained a broader perspective on the dynamics of insider and outsider roles within our community. Insiders are primarily individuals who identify as White Americans. This disparity results from a number of factors, such as geographic origins, the reasons for choosing Dickinson as a college, and socioeconomic status. These factors exemplify why White Americans are considered insiders at Dickinson; insiders typically make up the majority in any community.

Moving on to the outsiders at Dickinson College; the outsiders are the minorities in any community. Looking from a broader sense, the outsiders are international students and people of color. These two groups are viewed as plural others due to various factors such lack of representation and cultural differences.

The representation in the Dickinson community is majorily represented by White Americans — this causes a lack of representation for others who are different which causes them to feel like an outlier. As a South Asian and Middle Eastern Muslim woman, my identity is not represented in the Dickinson community because not many students share the same culture or religion as me.

Relating to this, culture difference is another factor why international students and people of color may be viewed as “plural others”.  International students bring diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives that can lead to them being perceived as different from the majority of the group. Prime example of this is celebrating Ramadan on campus. For the past three years, I have celebrated Ramadan and Eid on campus. This was different for me because during this holiday, I would spend it with my family.I had to make a few changes to adjust to the community since the majority tend to follow Christian beliefs such as praying in a room for Taraweeh instead of going to the local mosque every night with my family or eating Iftar in the dining hall instead of eating with family.

Even though broad factors like race, culture, and religion creates a gap in the Dickinson community; student still are able to share common interests. My friends come from different backgrounds but I do not see that difference because of the interests and experiences we share. For example, the majority of my friends I have met are from common interests such as studying the same major or in the same extracurricular as me. This shows that even though there are outsiders within the community as a whole, people tend to create smaller communities with similar interest and experience. 


This ideology of outsider and insider in a community relates to international politics through various ways. The point about sub communities in a large community relates to the form of alliances between countries. For example in World War 2, there were two main alliances (Axis and Allied); even though these countries in each alliance were different through culture and religion; they had the same interest which is to take down the other alliance. 

Culture/Religion difference plays a significant role in international politics because this creates a barrier for countries to create a relationship and instead creates conflict. Relating this to our course; the main cause of the conflict between Israel and Palestine are nationalistic and religious identities: the majority of Palestinians are Muslims, and Israelis are primarily Jewish. This shows how the ideology of outsider and insider in a broad views (religion, culture, and race) creates a gap — in this case, religion creates a gap between those two countries even though they are in the same community which is the MENA region.


To conclude, every community has outsiders and insiders. The significant factors to this gap are our race, culture, and religion. This gap creates conflict such as Israel and Palestine. But sometimes we do not see this gap because we tend to create sub communities in a big community with people who we share the same interest and experience. This is also seen in international politics as well when creating alliances and trade between countries. 






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