The “Others in Our Community”

The concept of “others”/”othering” has actively presented itself in the communities I have been in throughout my life. I have been on the side of being a part of the majority in a community, along with being in a community where I was the outsider. These communities revolve primarily around race. Since I was born, I lived in a predominantly black area, Prince George’s County, MD. Seeing individuals who belonged to any other race or ethnicity that was not African American was rare, whether that be Caucasian, Latino, Asian, etc. In this community, the “others” were those who were not black. This mentality also presented itself in the school I attended Reid Temple Christian Academy, a predominately African American institution, from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade. In those 10 years that I attended this school, there was never anyone who was not African American in my grade. I can only remember a couple of people who were Caucasian in other grades below me. We saw them as “others,” but our perception of them was that they were just like us: kids. Their status as “others” in our community did not affect how we viewed them personally. This brings me to my high school experience, in which I felt like the “other” in a predominantly white school. I was not the only black person in my grade: about 8 of us were the “plural others” in our community. Practically, we “othered” ourselves. This caused us to code-switch, censor ourselves, and feel under pressure to prove something since we were the minority, which are not rare effects of “othering” in general. “Othering” can cause people to be conscious of their minority (or “other”) status to a point where they are overly conscious. I can say that I am a victim of this. However, I realized that being an “other” is not a knock on my personality, existence, and identity, which is why my perception of “others” in communities that I belong to tends to be more accepting that anything, as I have been on both sides.

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