When the word community is heard, it is normal to tend to typify it with religious, political and/or racial issues, but I believe that a community goes much further. For me, a community is a group of people who are unified by a sense of belonging due to a belief, a territory, physical characteristics, language, tastes, closeness and more. In my case, throughout my life I have belonged to several communities but one of the most important at this point is the Latino community, because of the fact that I am in a country where being Latino is not “common”.
Although the Latino community tends to be generalized, I think it is important to explain that being Latino does not mean that we are all the same. Latin America is characterized by being a region full of cultural, racial, religious and even language diversity. However, what unites us as this predominant community in the world is that sense of belonging to our countries of origin (and the Latin American region) and our cultures that normally tends to be open, warm and full of hope. On the other hand, I think that another of the reasons why I feel part of this community is because I live in a country where my culture, my traditions, my language and more are not normal for others, so knowing that there are other people who, although they are not exactly the same as me or the people of my country, have a similarity that makes me feel at home.
Sadly, communities can create divisions and segregation. I think it is very difficult for a person who is not from a Latin American country to feel identified as Latino, so for us these people can be seen as outsiders. However, this division has caused Latinos to tend to be excluded by people who do not belong to the community in different areas. This can occur for reasons of language, traditions, ways of being, among others that make a difference and at times create generalizations. This is how Othering takes place, since when a person identifies as Latino, in a certain way, they are segregated and limited to function in other cultures and communities.
In conclusion, I believe that communities are necessary for people so that each individual can explore their identity and know how to define who they are as a person. However, I believe that we live in a world full of diversity where there should not be a limit between one community and another.
2 responses to “Communities: Who is Who?”
Thank you Camilo for your interesting and insightful blog, it’s always nice to hear and learn more about American society and culture given that it is known as a big melting pot of cultures, more than most countries. You mentioned that given that you are part of the Latino commmunity in the
US, you feel like it is “uncommon” to be Latino in wider American society, and that othering manifests itself negatively by creating barriers that lead to segregation. I am in a similar position where I am technically a minority in my home country, but I am aware of the privilege that we have as a result of our citizenship. Having said that, do you believe that othering is inherently negative, or is there a part of it that is simply a part of identifying strongly with your own community?
Brilliant information here Camilo! Hopefully you wont stop the flow of such magical material!