“The Others” on Campus

February 19, 2024


The concept of “others” or “outsiders” is prevalent anywhere in the world. It is human nature to view those that are different from us as a collective group and not as individuals. At Dickinson I have noticed this in multiple forms  most of all in how American students view international students.

International students are big part of life at Dickinson. In most of the classes I’ve taken here there has been at least one student not from the United States. Despite there being such a large number of international students they are still viewed as “outsiders”. I believe this is due to classic American values that people who are not from America originally are different and therefore should be treated as outsiders.  Even certain groups of international students are treated more as outsiders than other groups.

For example, 26 of my teammates are international students.  I consider some of them to be my closest friends on the team and at school in general. I feel the main reason that I don’t see my international teammates as outsiders is because of our shared experiences. Like me, they are here because of football. They go through the same practices and lifts as me and because of this I feel a closer bond with them than even some American students at school. They also are all from European countries. This I However, I have seen that the rest of the international students are seen as “outsiders”. I have found that many of them are seen as just a collective group and not individuals. To us they are all the same and many of us do not take the time to get to know them as individuals. I have found that this doesn’t just extend to how the American students view the international students.

In my three years here one thing I have noticed is a divide between students athletes and regular students. Many student athletes here the regular students as “others”. The same can be said for how regular students view student athletes. This stems from basic human nature. With there being so many athletes at Dickinson, almost a quarter of the students here are on a sports team, it is normal for regular students to view them as others. These view’s of people who are different as others also affects how we interact with people from other cultures.

In today’s world everyone has access to the media. While this can be a good thing for exposing people to different cultures and schools of thought it can also negatively affect our view of certain cultures. For example, many Americans have a negative view of the Middle East that stems from its depiction in media and what we see on the news. The main perception in the US is that the Middle East is full of terrorists that hate America which is false. Peoples perception of the region is skewed because of what they have seen in TV. This is one of the ways that viewing people as “others” or “outsiders” can have a negative effect.

Viewing people as “others” removes the ability to view them as individuals. It feeds into someone’s personal bias of a culture and doesn’t let them view the person they are talking to as a person with their own unique personality. Instead they will be viewed as an international student who doesn’t want to waste time talking to American students or a student athlete that is a dumb meathead who’s only worried about his sport. This view negatively affects our ability to communicate and learn from each other as we stop viewing people as individuals. The act of viewing someone as an “other” or “outsider” can have very negative consequences.


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