Identity and Belonging

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Prompt:‘Sometimes choosing to belong to one culture or group means losing your place in another’.

Stuck between two worlds, I feel like a slice of ham in between two slices of bread…but two different types of bread in my case. Who should I choose? My family and my relatives I have known for eighteen years of my life, or my one true love, the one who brings so much happiness into my life. How difficult and stressful it is to make such a choice in life! Why did my parents see him as a ‘Tamil tiger’, just because he was a Tamil by birth? While drowning in a sea of thoughts, I realised I would have to convince them that choosing to belong to one culture or group does not necessarily mean losing your place in another!

In extremely conservative, strict, and exclusive societies, e.g. Exclusive Brethren, people who choose to belong to another group may be often ‘shunned’ or ostracised. In ‘Witness’ we see Eli warning Rachel about the danger of being shunned from the Amish world, if she gives in to her romantic feelings for Book, who is from the ‘English world’. Similarly, in the documentary ‘The Devil’s Playground’, the Amish girl who decides to leave her community during Rumspringa and not return, faces a hard life, having to sacrifice the love and support of her family. Although choosing the English world gave her the freedom and happiness she longed for, it resulted in her having to lose her place within her Amish culture. This demonstrates how in some cultures, belonging to another is not accepted.

In contrast, if we that about ourselves at school, don’t we belong to more than one group? I belong to the debating circle, the school choir, and the school hockey team. My friends in the hockey team have never asked me to leave the debating circle, in order to be accepted within the hockey team, and I have never felt different in any of these groups. Today, multiculturalism is seen in many countries in the world and many have become a part of the culture they...
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