Feeling like “Other” Essay

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I will be exploring a time when I felt like “other”, in this situation I was made to feel invisible, excluded and too visible all at the same time. In this situation I mainly felt excluded but nonetheless I felt all of the above. My husband is Nigerian and I am African American, he attends a Nigerian church and all of the members are Nigerian. Every time I go to church with him I feel as if I am too visible because I am the only non-Nigerian person there, yes we are all black but I know nothing about their culture and I do not speak their language. They often sing Nigerian praise songs and do traditional dances and when this is occurring I often feel excluded and invisible because it seem like it doesn’t matter if I’m included since I’m the only one who doesn’t understand what is going on. Because of this I very seldom go to church with him, it would be nice for us to go to church together all the time but it’s not comfortable to feel excluded or invisible. You wouldn’t think you could feel excluded or invisible around your own race but subgroups of the same race often have different cultures and traditions that the other doesn’t understand.

In a lot of cases African’s who live in America feel that African Americans have acculturated into society which is “a form of assimilation wherein an ethnic or racial group or an individual takes on the cultural ways of another group, usually that of mainstream culture, often at the expense of traditional cultural ways”(2014). Being African American around Africans you often get a sense of ethnocentrism from this culture in regards to language, religion and behavior. Sometimes people are not aware that they are making the “other” feel uncomfortable or excluded simply because they don’t know how to include the “other”.

Many people are not as culturally competent as they may think and this can cause a lot of discord between different cultural groups. Unfortunately both groups have been marginalized, having diminished value, importance, contributions, or attributes. Because both groups notice cultural differences we feel the need to be guarded and defensive at all times. This does not help with communication and interaction between our cultures. One way for me to overcome this is exercising emotional intelligence which involves developing the ability to manage and appreciate differences.

(2014, November 1). Identity and Difference . Weekly Lecture. Lecture conducted from , . Harvey, C., & Allard, M. J. (2011). Understanding and Managing Diversity, 5th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from http://devry.vitalsource.com/books/9781269562744/id/ch01lev2sec22

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