Cultural Identity and Difference: Exclusion and Belonging

Theme

Diversity and DifferenceExclusion and BelongingHeritage and TraditionIdentity and Community

Audience

EducationLocal Communities

Resource

Andrew Moodie’s Story of Belonging - Otherness

Author

Moodie, Andrew

Big Questions

How do we recognize sameness but acknowledge difference(s)?Is difference a problem, an opportunity, a challenge or a gift?What does it mean to be a stranger or an outsider? What does it feel like?Can our heritage and our traditions be a source of division?How do we remain loyal to our heritage and traditions?How has my family or background shaped who I am?

Opening Activity

Tell your partner your full name, and talk about how your first, last, or middle names reflect your cultural heritage.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Moodie’s younger self show his pride in being Canadian?
  2. At what point and why does Moodie come to identify himself as Jamaican? Why do you think Moodie did not strongly identify himself as Jamaican before this?
  3. How does Canada struggle to embrace difference and otherness according to Moodie?
  4. Have you had an experience in which a person with a different cultural background was treated as an enemy or a threat? Explain.
  5. What do you think Moodie means by saying that children of immigrants in Canada often embrace the dominant culture and place their parents’ culture “in a pocket of their consciousness”?
  6. Have you embraced some aspects of your family’s culture more than others? Why?
  7. What would make it possible for society to embrace the particular differences of all immigrants’ cultures?
  8. How can immigrants from cultures other than the dominant culture embrace the differences within themselves?

Closing Activity

In a few words or one sentence, share one specific thing connected with your cultural background that you would like to embrace in the future.  

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