Reflection “Othering and belonging”

In the article, “othering” is defined as a set of dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences based on group identities. Marginalisation and inequality isn’t based on religion, sex, race, or class within the society but more than this l, on a group based level.

Group-based marginalisation mainly emerges in political environment that uses fear of the other and marginalize certain groups. But what really interested me how there are the different factors and forces within our environment that set boundaries and values that step by step become internal to societies and normal.
The first thing that came to my mind is how certain sports are perceived as masculine in the Middle East and are shameful for a women to practice. This reminded me of the example we did in class when we had to do a role-play. My classmate plays polo and was explaining to us how hardly perceived in Egypt. People criticise her as not being feminine enough by playing polo and associate it with masculinity. I think that the ability to judge certain sports as masculine or feminine has been embedded in our society along with the idea of a housewife.
By attributing certain roles to women, people give themselves the right to judge other women for not being a good housewife or feminine enough if they don’t fall under these categories and fulfils the generic traditional tasks. We can see that these judgments have been socially constructed within the years rather than natural to become totally normal.
Group based stereotypes that emerge from skin tone are also very prominent in Egypt. This also reminds me of the exercise we did in class. By talking to each other within the group, we found out that Egyptian normalized calling someone as black or white and associating beauty to light skin tone and straight hair. A lot of people see that having a dark skin tone is associated with lack of beauty and classify them as inferior in this aspect creating therefore group-based inequalities. Sometimes darker skinned people are viewed as socially inferior. My classmate was talking about hearing people question the job of a lady as a maid only due to her dark skin tone. This shows us that it has been institutionalized within our society.
After reading the article I think that the only positive thing when it comes to inequalities is segregation. When certain people with learning difficulties are intentionally separated from the other students they usually need to be treated differently in order to be on the same level. In this case the separation from the other group has a positive effect on these children that allow them to achieve better understanding. Other than that, I feel that every aspect in our society whether it’s in political context, a social .. embeds this concept of ‘”othering” creating gaps and differences which intensifies societal gaps and it goes within a vicious cycle.

The only solution to this problem is allowing belongingness and encouraging it until it becomes institutionalised. I saw this example during this summer when I was in London. In every job, I can see the diversity in people doing it and the multiculturalism. People with all races and skin tones performed any tasks and jobs weren’t attributed to certain group of people. I think that this is belongingness and it leads to a more successful and complete outcome because the one performing the job is the most one with these competences required regardless of his origin.


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