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.