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Argumentative Essay Example: Citizenship and Identity

5 pages
1263 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
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Citizenship can be said to mean belonging to a community in place in expansive terms. That was before, but in todays life, the term has been used to define the relationship existing between an individual and a nation-state. The concept of citizenship further gained prominence when the modern nation-state developed primarily as a means of regulation, so that nation states know the number of citizens in it, monitor their movement and grant them rights to vote and travel as well (Gilmartins, 2017). Also, the nation-states had the responsibility to ensure that its citizens are well protected. As time passed by, citizenship becomes a means of defining the nation-state and through this person from another territory can be denied a right to settle in the US and become its citizen.

Citizenship was therefore used to define who belongs and who didnt, and this is where the identity aspect comes in (Gilmartins, 2017). Being born and originating from a specific country gives one a national identity as they grow believing that their ancestors originated in that country and so they belong to that soil entirely. Migrating to a country and being granted its citizenship after undergoing some procedure is different (Gilmartins, 2017). Third world kid not only sees the difference in their color but could feel the difference starting from the school they go in, in the shopping malls and different public places, therefore, affirming their identity difference. It is therefore clear that citizenship is not tied to identity.

First and foremost, language is one thing that is used to tell where someone is from and definitely who they are. Citizenship only means being granted an opportunity to stay in a particular country and not necessarily gives one a sense of belonging (Vognar, 2017). People migrating to other countries struggle so much to adapt since they are forced to learn new languages as it is the only way they can communicate with the indigenes. Expression of a sense of national identity is believed to be patriotism, and its not easy for one to let go the love of their country and accept that they now belong to another.

The difference in identities and the difficulty in accepting to belong to a particular nation-state other than yours results from different factors of a society like the religion, race, ethnicity, social class and lastly gender (Vognar, 2017). In spite of these differences, there is only one identity, and that is civic identity which is commonly held by all the citizens, but still, it isnt enough for one to completely forget their origin and freely feel a sense of belonging.

Secondly, culture is another factor that is very important in shaping one's identity. Culture is said to be a historical reservoir and many people from different parts of the world revise their own culture as a way of bolstering its strength and teaching the coming generation (Vognar, 2017). Third culture kid maybe or may not be an exception of this depending on their parents but most parents even when they have migrated in other countries would still keep their culture. The kids grow knowing how things should be done if they were in their homes and will choose to keep them.

By doing this, they will be reminded that no matter their current location, they dont belong there and will grow to be different people in behaviors and believes (Perry, Stevens-Watkins & Oser, 2012). The third culture kids have to struggle all their lives to feel a sense of belonging owing the fact that their citizenship is held in a piece of the sheet called passport. Their citizenship defines who they are and has molded them into who they are today as they know it runs in their blood.

Thirdly, citizenship is never and can never be tied due to the differences in peoples color. Skin color is another factor that contributes to the development of ones identity (Perry, Stevens-Watkins & Oser, 2012). In most cases, people get segregated due to their color and no matter how much time people from other countries will try to have a sense of belonging just because they have been granted citizenship, they wont because they are reminded of all aspect that they dont belong there. The third culture kids are subjected to racism everywhere starting from schools, social life such that they rarely have white friends, their parents and they even go shopping in places where whites rarely go and so many other experiences portraying racism (Perry, Stevens-Watkins & Oser, 2012). The third culture kids experience this until they conclude that they dont belong despite their citizenship.

Furthermore, citizenship is never tied to one's identity due to the differences in religions. In the US the dominant religions may differ from the dominant religions in other parts of the world, and their practices may seem strange and new to the people who are trying to cope with them (Perry, Stevens-Watkins & Oser, 2012). Religion being another factor that influences the behaviors of individual thus defining who we are, can result to people living in denial and unable to feel a sense of belonging (Ostrove, Stewart & Curtin, 2017). As much as freedom of religion might be granted, third culture kids and citizens may find it hard to cope with the religious practices they are subjected in their new homes. With time, some may adjust to the new experiences, but a large number of people will find it hard to get used to.

Also, social classes exist within the country between the people from the country and the ones migrating to the country influence identity despite all the people being citizens (Ostrove, Stewart & Curtin, 2017). The social class issue is more pronounce in schools since it is a meeting place for many kids both the third culture kids and the ones are from the country. Students tend to be divided into groups and most cases you find that there some connecting factors in a group of students (Ostrove, Stewart & Curtin, 2017). The student may share their origin, a language or even religions and for this reason, identity comes in. Despite all of these students having a common thing which is citizenship, they still identify themselves with the people of their origin.

In conclusion, citizenship is not always tied to one's identity, in fact, in some cases, it does not determine who we are entirely. However, this situation varies depending on whether you are living in the country you are from or whether you migrated to it. For the people living where they are from, national identity is essential to them because to them citizenship runs in their blood unlike the third culture citizens and kids who struggle accepting the fact that a piece of paper in a book labeled passport determines who they are. The third culture kids have to shape-shift to adapt to the new surrounding a fact that might not be easy to accept.



Gilmartins, M. (2017). Identity and citizenship. Retrieved 5 November 2017, from

Ostrove, J., Stewart, A., & Curtin, N. (2017). Social Class and Belonging: Implications for Graduate Students' Career Aspirations on JSTOR. Retrieved 5 November 2017, from

Perry, B., Stevens-Watkins, D., & Oser, C. (2012). The Moderating Effects of Skin Color and Ethnic Identity Affirmation on Suicide Risk among Low-SES African American Women. Race And Social Problems, 5(1), 1-14.

Vognar, D. (2017). How Important Is Culture in Shaping Our Behavior?. HuffPost. Retrieved 5 November 2017, from


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