Otherness is best described as when a person or a group of people are made to feel as if they are not equal to others in a classroom, town or even country. For example when someone is made to feel like or treated in a way that makes them feel different and as if they don’t belong. Otherness is not necessarily the minority but rather the outcast of a population. One may experience otherness if they are slightly different and those around then shun them because so. To be a victim of otherness is to experience seclusion for ones peers because one may be a different race, part of a different religious group or even dress different.
The White House
The poem “The White House” by Claude McKay shows a case of otherness by describing the narrator having the door slammed in his face as if he were an outsider who’s opinions did not matter. The other in this work is the narrator or the person telling the story. The people inside the white house made him feel othered by pushing him away not giving him a chance to speak his mind. The poem explains how when standing at the white house door trying to voice his ideas he was pushed away and shun simply because he was considered a nobody and not part of them, “the insiders”. He was made to feel angry for not being a part of them yet he took his anger and strived to keep going and get his point across no matter how hard that might be.
The author’s perception of otherness is simply not being included in the insider’s crowd, being shunned away as if he were not as weighty as the others. He describes the character as the outsider trying to be heard but is pushed away by those who held a higher power and where on the inside looking out. The character is on the outside looking in and treaded in a disrespectful way making him feel as if he was the only one who shared his views. He was hurt by the reactions of the others not looking to him as an equal yet found it in himself to be strong even though he did not belong to the insiders of the white house. The people in the white House make the narrator the other simply by not giving him the opportunity to be one of them.
Otherness in Claude McKay “The White House” is nothing more than no being like the popular or more powerful crowd. Being othered is hurtful and in this poem when it states “The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, a chafing savage, down the decent street” it describes just that (McKay, 1997).
Otherness in the classroom
In the class room I would recognize otherness if I saw a group of students treating one or even a few as if they were different and not as worthy as the rest. For example if a coup of girls with black hair where all friends because they all have the same color hair and made the one girl who has red hair feel as if she is not as important by not including her in extra