Nationality and Nationalism: Oppressive Forces?

Nationality and Nationalism: Oppressive Forces?

I’m sitting on my bed finishing some class readings for my intro course on race & ethnicity–my last political science lower division course I need to finish my degree.

And by now it should be pretty basic and easily understandable, considering I’ve taken several courses on race, ethnicity, and social oppression.

But, I feel like I’m still learning new things.  Learning new things is always a great thing–especially for someone who considers herself an avid learner and appreciator of knowledge.

Here’s the issue I’m having though.

I thought I was pretty well versed in forms of oppression: economic, race, ethnicity, gender, species, sex, mental and/or physical disabilities, and a variety of other ones that I could spend my days discussing.

But in this one chapter I’m reading, the author nonchalantly mentions how race can be linked to other forms of oppression like gender and nationality.

Gender, I understand completely.  But, nationality?  I never even thought that you could consider nationality a form of oppression.

And then, all of a sudden, it really is making me think that, yes, of course nationality is an oppressive force linked with race, ethnicity, and geographic oppression.  It deals with issues of immigration and what country is better and why?

It’s really making me think about how our frame of mind is shaped by the nations at the pinnacle of our global society, these so-called “first world countries” or “developed countries”.  And what makes them “developed” and others “developing” or “undeveloped”? Why do we consider certain nationalities better than others?  Is it pride or misinformation from our government and education system? Or something even deeper than that?  Can we even begin to dismantle nationalism as a form of oppression?  Are nations and countries even the same thing?  And if not, which is more valid–does it even matter if one is more valid than another?  And why is nationalism or nationalistic sentiment always seen as a positive?  Why are vehement individuals that display their nationalism through flags on their front porch seen as dedicated and passionate, while others are discredited as backwards or over-emotional?

I have a lot more questions than answers.  And this new insight is definitely something I will be trying to explore further.

Maybe nationalism works to benefit us, but right now, it appears like it does nothing but divide us into hierarchical positions of power and prestige, which is another issue entirely.

All I can say is that I have a lot more to do if I want to learn more, and that is not always a bad thing.

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