Xenophobia is the fear and prejudice against foreigners that can lead to persecution and genocide. With the rise of populist tendencies in the world, xenophobia is expanding rapidly, and so is the curiosity of people about its drastic impacts on any society.
Xenophobia started displaying itself in communities when people saw that emerging globalization is helping so-called “outsiders” to come and inhabit their land. The hate for foreigners developed as the fight for scarce resources continued, even before globalization.
How Xenophobia Displayed itself in Modern Day Societies
While xenophobia has been a problem for the United States for a long while, modern events are shocking, as rigorous legislation is present in almost every domain, and even in that case, discrimination can be pervasive at times.
For instance, in the pre-Civil War era, when slavery was legal and human trafficking was omnipresent in the United States, a xenophobic attitude toward people of color was in accordance with the laws.
However, in today’s world, when institutional racism is comparatively less, African Americans are still being treated discriminately in many ways.
In the latest memory, xenophobia was maximized under the Trump administration as he preached and adopted his so-called “America first” policy.
When he started calling coronavirus a Chinese virus, the discrimination against Chinese Americans started rising reportedly, and many of them faced hate crimes. The same events happened when he imposed a Muslim travel ban for some countries, resulting in a series of hate crimes against the community.
What are the Reasons for Xenophobia?
Some of the prominent reasons for rising xenophobia are:
Nationalism is one of the primary reasons driving xenophobia in any community, and the same is the case in America. When anti-foreigner sentiments emerge, and the debate starts becoming “us” vs. “them,” this is where things start worsening.
The conflict perspective of sociology suggests that different groups in any society fight for the scarce resources available in that community.
These resources can vary from one locality to another, but one of the most common of them is money and livelihood resources. When workers from foreign countries start coming, locals feel threatened as competition increases manifold.
In societies where jobs are limited and unemployment is already high, the arrival of foreigners in large numbers triggers a backlash, resulting in xenophobic tendencies and crimes against foreigners.
The identity crisis is one of the reasons why xenophobia takes place. People are resistant to giving up their long-lasting cultures just because of the arrival of some foreigners.
When they feel their identity is threatened and the incoming people are challenging the core of their culture, the people at home start resisting.
But xenophobia is not always a fault at the end of the day. Many times, foreigners try to change the culture of any society just because they do not like it.
Hence, in this case, xenophobia becomes a natural thing, although those back at home can overreact sometimes.
The doctrine of Manifest Destiny is one of the reasons why xenophobia started developing in America. The very basics of this concept suggest that Americans were destined by God to expand their territory, which resulted in them looking down on many other cultural groups.
As westward expansion happened and the country grew from 13 to 50 states, cultural universality started coming into the country, as the dominant culture overrode weaker ones.
Today when the United States tries to impose its model of democracy on different countries, either through coercion or incentives, a narrative builds that the American model of democracy is the best one. This notion was challenged by other countries after the January 6 Capitol Hill riots, as China tried to downplay the efficacy of American democracy.
What is the Future of Xenophobia?
Xenophobia can be an everlasting phenomenon and can even intensify with the passage of time. Not only in the US but across the globe, populism is rising, and one of the essential components of xenophobia is nationalism, which is already rising.
Similarly, technological growth can intensify the competition among people for getting quality jobs to make a living. With the current level of automation, this competition can expand significantly, resulting in higher competition for jobs and the resulting rising xenophobia.
Eli is a Political Data Scientist with over thirty years of experience in Data Engineering, Analytics, and Digital Marketing. Eli uses his expertise to give the latest information and distinctive analysis on US Political News, US Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Racial Justice equipping readers with the inequivalent knowledge.