Blog Entry #11 – “Othering” – Due April 1

This blog is hopefully a nice little connection to Sociology and Psychology (if you’ve taken Mr. Todd’s classes)!  But I think this is something that’s important for you guys to be familiar with regardless.

The racially-charged social climate of South Africa portrayed in our novel contains many tragic examples of the sociological behavior known as “othering.” Many psychologists and sociologists, such as Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos, have done extensive research and have written much about this idea.  To read an introduction about this concept, go to her website.  In class, I often show this great TED Talk as well, which you should check out if you have time!

The blatantly racist laws and policies of apartheid are obvious examples of othering – a direct division of an “us” versus a “them.”  But othering also takes more subtle forms, oftentimes in the language that we use.  I think we see this, for example, in our latest reading assignment and how the newspapers portray the “natives” in Chapter 11.

Usually, people tend to discuss this idea in contexts such as colonialism or racial prejudice, but the social behavior of othering can take on other forms as well.  After reading about this concept from a sociological perspective on the website, please write a blog post about how you have personally experienced or observed othering occurring today.  And in your writing, please make specific references to Dr. Zevallos’ website and Cry, the Beloved Country.

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