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Otherness - Coursework Example

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This study looks into otherness, the state of being different, not the same and one’s description and thoughts of otherness are based on one’s self and being. It refers to the concept that in order to define and understand one’s self then the other must define self. …
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Download file to see previous pages... Based on this research otherness can refer to a different religion, ethnicity, nationality, social class, sexuality or political ideal ology. It is not necessary for the other to be a numerical minority and some groups are defined as other because of a lack of qualities more so than sheer numerical data. In the reading of The White House, Mckay represents the concepts of otherness with words that indicate exclusion, though the piece is not specific to why there is exclusion. ‘Your door is shut against my tightened face,’ and the statement that ‘the pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet,’ suggest that the individual might possibly be barefooted. Anger at rejection is expressed with the words discontent, wrathful, and in the use of the word hate. The other is representing a law defining authority that is obviously not in agreement with the individual which has caused them to be extremely bitter and feel a sense of not belonging, as though they are being specifically excluded. With the title of the piece being ‘The White House,’ it is possible that the Author is referring to the White House in Washington and political conditions which keep him segregated or separated from the ruling class, though he obviously feels that otherness is being used against him and he continues to attempt to remain wise and react appropriately to his rejection. Though he would like to react in a wrathful way he remains proud, graceful and courageous in his feeling of otherness. The other in this work is the White House and whoever has shut the door to the individual, a separate though distinct society from the individual that obviously sets guidelines on how the individual should behave though he is not able to represent himself and voice his opinion to the ‘others’ because he is not part of the societal group, which makes him very angry and frustrated. The group defining the other seems to be the government or a political entity in which the individual has no entrance to because of otherness. Teaching Otherness and Identity In teaching otherness in a classroom setting it is important to emphasize that each individual is other from someone else and that it is inappropriate to react in a mean or cruel manner based only on the fact of otherness (Russo). Using the principle of teaching understanding versus acceptance will allow students to examine and question their own identity. Indirectly this will often lead to acceptance and is much more effective than forcing acceptance. When a teacher’s cultural background and identity is significantly different from that of the student population there is a greater risk of cultural disconnect. Recognizing among students that each person is different racially, through religion, neighborhood, family and community can help individuals see how they are connected in other ways. Using your own otherness in conversation with students, including elements of your cultural background and experiences can prompt students to share their own elements of self. Integrate experiences and celebrations into your curriculum in which each student is able to participate and share, creating space that each student can access and participate in group ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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