A new radio-program on my favourite radio-station made me wonder whether or not it is really that bad to have created an “us” as opposed to everyone else? When is it actually problematic to have created an in-group, an “us”? The host often argued against refugees and had a rather narrow minded and sceptical view on people who are of another descent than “pure danish” – people who have mixed their original descent with the Danish culture.
I have always argued against the creation of in-groups, cliques or groups like this. I find that they tend to try to set a standard for the rest to follow, which demeans other people who does not necessarily follow the rules of such a group – back to the school milieu, so to speak. But, the thing is, that we cannot avoid creating an “us”. To be Danish is different from being Swedish or Norwegian. We create societies bound together by culture, language, politics, religion and so forth. No matter how we look at it, the way we collect and unify the different aspects of our society will stand in opposition to other societies and how they have bound the different aspects together.
Once, I was at a wedding, which to me have become the perfect example of this fact. While the groom was of Danish descent, the bride was Muslim. It was a wedding with different cultural elements, where the guests at some aspects did not know what was going on and regarding other aspects were a part of the “club” that knew! These two people getting married, was creating an “us”.
To me, the difference is whether a society compares itself with another in a demeaning way. Thus, creating an “us” as opposed to “them”. The fact that we have different cultures, comes from different societies, does not mean that we cannot behave and be polite towards one another. It does not mean that we in Denmark cannot help the refugees that flows into the country. It does not mean that we cannot help those people who suffer from war, by help recreating and reconquer their, “us”. In the end, everyone deserves to be a part of an “us”.
The problem with this constellation is when “us” and “them” becomes “us” versus “them”. When different groups compares, there may in some situations be created an unhealthy environment where one group presents itself as superior compared to the other.
Being a fellow citizen is not just about being apart of a group, but accepting the differences between the different groups living in and outside one’s society. Being a part of one group is not the problem – we all are apart of specific groups, whether we like it or not. The problem is when one group finds themselves superior towards another group.