What is Othering?
Othering is the phenomenon in which a group of people gets excluded from another group of people due to their differences (such as race, religion, age, gender, etc…) and gets treated unequally.
When Does Othering Occur?
Othering occurred many times in history, and still occurs today; it is ongoing and very frequent. Example: White Americans perceiving and treating Black Americans as inferiors. It does not only occur on a National level, it can occur on an individual level.
When Have You Experienced Othering?
At some point in our lives we have all experienced “othering”. For example, veiled women in Egypt constantly experience this as it can be said that they’re treated unequally by society as they’re banned from entering certain places. Arab Muslims living abroad might also experience this phenomenon due to the spread of Islamophobia and people constantly associating them with terrorists. Think about a time when you might have experienced it.
How can we solve this problem?
The only way to fight “othering” is with “belonging”; by doing our best to make others feel like they belong, regardless of our differences.
In 8th grade my mother decided I had to transfer to a new school. Despite the transition being very hard on my mental health as I did not want it to happen, people from my new school were very welcoming they definitely made it way easier on me. Everyone; from classmates to teachers, checked up on me regularly, offered me constant help and made me feel like I belonged where I was.
So next time you’re having a birthday party, going out with some friends, or even having an exam in one of your courses, make sure you’re inviting/welcoming everyone, checking up on people and offering help whenever you can to make them feel included and loved!😊