The “Others” in Our Communities

A community I am a part of is the Dickinson College community.  While this community is very open, it is also somewhat restricted to students, faculty, and staff at the College.  With this said, I think I view everyone outside of the College community as sort of “others.”  Specifically, I view other college communities as “others.”  While I can relate to people within other college communities, we also share very different experiences.  I also view other college communities as just that, communities, and I am not part of those communities.  Therefore, I tend to see them as “others.”  What I love about my community, however, is that it is not exclusionary, and many different kinds of people are welcome.  While there is still progress to be made in terms of inclusivity, my community is welcoming to a diverse array of people, which helps to eliminate some effects of othering within the College.  Everyone has their own clubs and friend groups, but we all generally accept each other as belonging here.

Othering is both natural and dangerous.  It is human nature to find like-minded people and form groups based on different aspects of one’s identity.  These groups could include a sports team, club, or simply a friend group.  Sometimes these groups are beneficial, but sometimes they lead to viewing those outside of your group in a negative way.  International Relations requires forming relationships and working with others, and when entire nations view other nations as “others” with a negative connotation,  it can lead to conflict.  It is so important for people, especially world leaders, to realize that “others” are simply different from them rather than jumping to conclusions without understanding them fully.

5 responses to “The “Others” in Our Communities”

  1. Thank you for this interesting blog,

    Reading your blog was very insightful with the way you describe othering especially in the second part of the blog. Othering being human nature and it is normal for people to form groups with like-minded people is something that I definitely agree with as the second thing to is choosing how to behave towards the “others” and that is a choice where some people go on a very wrong direction with.

    In my blogs I did talk about how our university is very welcoming of people from all around the world, but we also have a sense of groups with people who share similar experience, interests, and nationalities. However, I do not think there is a community that exists without some people with negative behaviors of groups of othering which can be sometimes overpowering.

    Yes, colleges are communities itself and I always think about how hard it is for me when people from universities usually compare their experience in their own universities as ours usually is considered a very hard and maybe that is a way of me othering university students from our area.

    I loved that you mentioned international relations and it is important to work together and even though we live in a globalization dependent world we still see othering between countries. Why do you think it is so hard for leaders to understand each countries beliefs and behaviors if they are not affecting peace or security?

  2. I wanted to comment on Clara’s post mainly because she had a different experience from the feelings of being a “self” and “other.” Although Clara developed various points about “self” and “other,” she introduced refreshing ideas about this blog’s topic, which is somewhat different from all the blog posts I have read. Nonetheless, I would like to show Clara my gratitude for sharing her experience of being like the “self” and “other.” In her terms, Clara relates herself to the Dickinson community, and while she socializes with people from other universities, she still views them as the “other.” The previous point she mentioned is interesting for different reasons.
    Most importantly, I don’t differentiate between people in various universities as “self” and “other.” In other words, I have this preconceived view that university students worldwide are similar to those I have encountered at AUS during my academic years. In addition, and this may be the most admirable quality I found about Clara’s idea of othering, it is that it doesn’t prevent her from communicating and socializing with different communities despite being that they are part of the “others.” In essence, she doesn’t link the concept of “other” with feeling isolated and indifferent. She addresses similar points concerning international relations and how, although we are different on many levels as a global community, that doesn’t mean we should label “others” under a negative tone, as that may ensure the inevitability of conflict in the international scene between countries. Finally, I have a question that underlines Clara’s many points about the concept of “self” and “other.” As a global community, how can we change the hostile rhetoric about rural communities perceived as the “other”? Is globalization the answer?

  3. Thank you, Clara, for this insightful blog. I enjoyed reading a different perspective on answering the prompt. Clara spoke about the different communities in her life, varying from her university to the international realm. What I saw interesting in her community was how she viewed her whole university as one community. When looking at my community, yes, all the students of AUS can relate to being in the same university. However, matters are more complex here in AUS. Being in the same university is merely a vague or broad categorising; as Clara mentioned, several groups are within her university. I agree that this is also the case here in AUS. However, the more complex matter is that I also realised that here in the UAE, many friendships are also based on the individual and their family and what they are known for, based on one’s family reputation that could influence one’s choice to become friends.
    Nevertheless, because the UAE is diverse in all ethnicities, which translates to the same diversity level in AUS, thus finding people with you who share a similar interest is very likely. It will likely happen very fast since we are in a community where we value unity, so we all come together to help each other out, making finding your friend group much more effortless. Looking at the international realm, Clara mentioned an exciting point: leaders should not be threatened because someone is different. When looking at the international community, building connections is crucial, and many aspects come into play when looking at who your allies are and who are not. What are all the possible aspects that leaders consider when building their international connections?

    • Hi Nour! Thanks for your comment! Leaders tend to consider aspects that are most similar to their own. Similar cultures and languages can often influence who we want to connect with. I think democratic nations in particular tend to want to ally with other democratic nations, for example. Othering comes from many different directions, and people don’t often want to learn about those who are different.

  4. Hi Clara, Thank you for this insightful post. This is the first blog I come across that talks about seeing Dickinson as being your community. Now although most of us may not see our colleges or universities as being our communities we are in some sense part of our educational complex’s community. I agree with the part where you talk about how Dickinson in exclusive to faculty and students, but other people are welcome in the community, as we have the same case here at AUS. I personally talked about othering in a positive way, and seeing you describe othering as being natural and dangerous has changed my perspective on the concept of othering. To wrap things up, why do you believe that people may view their “others” in a negative way? Until next time, have a good one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *