Xenophobia and human nature

There has been some cricket chirping on AFOE the past few days, so allow me to make a little bit of noise here and chase them away.

Amnesty International has a new report out, called Russian Federation – Violent racism out of control. I shall quote part of the report below the fold and ask some questions to our readers.

The quote from the Amnesty International report:

Racist attacks and killings of foreigners and ethnic minorities are reported with shocking regularity in Russia and disturbingly, their frequency seems to be increasing.(1) Victims whose cases have come to the attention of Amnesty International include students, asylum-seekers and refugees from Africa and Asia, as well as people from the south Caucasus, from South, Southeast and Central Asia, from the Middle East and from Latin America. However, citizens of the Russian Federation are no less at risk of physical attack. Anyone who does not look typically ethnic Russian, for example, individuals from ethnic groups of the North Caucasus, in particular Chechens, as well as members of the Jewish community, Roma and children of mixed parentage are at risk. Even ethnic Russians who are seen as sympathizing with foreigners or ethnic minority groups, for example, fans of rap or reggae music, members of other youth sub-cultures, and campaigners against racism, have also been targeted as they are perceived as “unpatriotic” or “traitors”. Attacks have been reported in towns and cities across the Russian Federation.

(…)

Ordinary Russians and foreign citizens have protested against the violence and the failure of the state adequately to respond to the situation. There have been mass demonstrations in response to racist murders. Students in Voronezh took to the streets to protest for three weeks following the murder of Amaru Antoniu Lima, demanding safety guarantees from regional law enforcement officers. In St Petersburg in October 2004 following the murder of Vietnamese student Vu Anh Tuan, and again in April 2006 following the murder of Lamsar Samba Sell, students in St Petersburg organized demonstrations and meetings to protest against what they viewed as the authorities’ failure adequately to address the wave of racist violence in the city. A “March against Hatred” was organized in November 2005 in St Petersburg in honour of Nikolai Girenko (see below).

(…)

President Vladimir Putin has spoken out against racism. On 3 March 2005 at a meeting with the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berl Lazar, President Putin stated that anti-Semitism and any kind of extremism and xenophobia will not be ignored by the authorities(52), and he has called racism an “infection” that should be stamped out.

After reading this report I went over to The Russian Dilettante who, in fact, had something to say on Russian xenophobia. Not on his own blog, but in the comments section of a post on the Publius Pundit blog:

To begin with, the rise of racial violence in Russia is more of an impression than a fact, and the Russian press under Putin is busy reporting on every episode that might turn out to have a tinge of racial hatred. In the case of the murdered Tajik girl, the press assumed it was a racially motivated murder from the beginning, relying on nothing but guesswork and ignoring other possible explanations (such as drug gang violence). Moreover, the prosecutors seem to have spent too much energy on finding racial motives that they failed to prove that any of the defendants actually stabbed the girls. (Some of the attackers escaped and have not been identified to this day, which is a huge problem for the prosecution’s case.)

Why is this happening? Putin is in desperate need of an opposition force that the West would love him to crush. His first attempt at building an “ugly” opposition was Rodina but it became somewhat too independent and is now being reformated under the Kremlin’s guidance for the 2008 election.

This is not to deny that Russia has no problems with racial violence but considering the large share of its underclass in its population — the underclass is invariably racist, and viscerally so — and the unchecked immigration, we could expect violence on a much greater scale.

The issues that various fake nationalists like Rodina purport to address are real and long-term. As James Cox put it, “protection of indigenous rights” is at their heart. Putin’s government has an aggressive immigration program that will, if implemented, replace tens of millions of native-born Russians with immigrants from Central Asia, China and the Caucasus. Native-born Russians, and especially ethnic Russians, fear becoming a minority in their own country, knowing the fate of Russian minorities in Central Asia and the Caucasus is barely preferable to that of Zimbabwe’s white farmers.

This is, of course, a pessimistic scenario but I hope it shows that, whatever xenophobia is observed among the Russians, can be rational. (Moreover, xenophobia is indispensable at early stages of nation-building.) But — and this is also inevitable — the dislike for immigration is intimately connected with a dislike for immigrants, often racist in essence. In other words, large-scale immigration — a social phenomenon perceived as negative by most Russians (myself included) — brings out, as a reaction, the racist (or “hate-the-ugly-other”) potential that is dormant in most humans. Once this potential actualizes, we see attacks not only on immigrants but on native Russians of certain ethnicities.

Severely limiting immigration or restricting it to people of Russian ancestry (regardess of ethnicity) would at least alleviate some of these pressures.

It is a difficult situation and, as Alexei says, a universal thing. It is eery how alike we all are no matter where we live. A few questions to our readers: Do you also believe that mass immigration, a true shock of cultures as it were, inevitably brings out the racist potential in most of us? Is this reaction (the reaction, not the violence it brings) normal? How many foreigners could any given society tolerate? Is there a threshold that should not be crossed or are we more flexible than we think?

These questions are by no means rhetorical, I am honestly trying to understand the limits/possibilities of human nature and would like to see a discussion focussed on that. I would therefore humbly ask you to keep the discussion civil and take it to another level. We all know the multiculturalist and the xenophobic stances, I am looking for something better than the usual “we are all human beings” or “toss all the foreigners out” arguments. I am aware of how broad these questions are, but so are the issues at stake. BTW, if there are any sociologists out there, please do respond. Some scientific input would be most welcome.

PS: All emphasis is mine

28 thoughts on “Xenophobia and human nature

  1. It’s difficult to give much importance to the Amnesty International report as it’s long on anecdotes but very short on statistics. As the old expression goes, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

  2. “it’s long on anecdotes but very short on statistics”

    As is too often the case. Actually, this could be part of the overall discussion. Where can we find the best statistics? How anecdotic is the immigration ‘threat’?

    Do statistics matter at all or are ’emotive’ people generally more than satisfied with just the anecdotes?

  3. At least there cannot be a simple correspondance. The eastern parts of Germany have more incidences of racism, but less foreigners.

  4. The same Amnesty International that called Guantanamo Bay ‘The Gulag of our Times’?

  5. I think that the phenomenon is hard for me as an American to contemplate. Racism is surely present in this society, but in a nation of immigrants, it seems insane taht someone would be opposed to it. Currently the largest non-white group in the United States is Hispanic Americans, borne from literally generations of migration and even absorbtion in the case of the South-Western part of the nation. Hispanic Americans are now just as much a part of this nation as Black or White or Asian Americans, though they done an amazing job of preserving language and customs while integrating into mainstream United States society.

    I think that this example serves to illustrate that any society can tolerate any influx of immigrants, as long as there is enough wealth to be had by all. But I can appreciate that as an American I am at a severe disadvantage in my veiw of immigration in that we have been taught since childhood that the United States is a nation of immigrants.

    Change frightens people and I think that anyone of a different colour has a markedly harder time assimilating with the larger group. Nearly all the immigrants coming into Russia are non-White, so while a French or German or even light skinned and blond haired Latin American would not be the object of racism even if they kept themselves alienated, a Black man that spoke perfect Russian, served in the military and volunteered regularly would be seen as an outsider automatically.

  6. “I think that this example serves to illustrate that any society can tolerate any influx of immigrants, as long as there is enough wealth to be had by all. But I can appreciate that as an American I am at a severe disadvantage in my veiw of immigration in that we have been taught since childhood that the United States is a nation of immigrants.”

    These are two very important observations, Abdul-Rahim. Wealth is indeed a big thing, I think, and it scares me to think what would happen if Europe went down the drain in that department.

    Also, the idea of having a nation built on immigrants versus countries built around, well, true or perceived bloodlines is enormous. This could very well explain the difference between America, the New World, and Europe, the Old World.

    I just wonder, with current events and all, if America will start to show serious Old World symptoms or not.

    The concept of skin colour, a visible trait of difference, is also important. I know several more or less coloured people in Belgium who are perfectly integrated, hell, they were born and bred in Belgium, yet they still have to deal with the outsider syndrome. I wonder if this is somehow programmed in our reptilian brains.

  7. Hispanic Americans are now just as much a part of this nation as Black or White or Asian Americans

    Do you intermarry? If the answer is negative, then I have to doubt your statement.

    I think that this example serves to illustrate that any society can tolerate any influx of immigrants

    Did the US ever have an immigrant population over 15%?

  8. “I wonder if this is somehow programmed in our reptilian brains.”

    I meant the reptilian part of our brains, of course.

    Anyone know of any studies concerning this? I know there are some interesting studies about dolphins describing cohabitation of different species in one group but I cannot seem to locate them right now.

  9. Oliver re Hispanics in America:

    “Do you intermarry?”

    Betcha.

    According to the 2000 US census, 14% of all Hispanic marriages were with a non-Hispanic. That proportion rises to nearly 30% when looking at Hispanics of the second or later generation.

    Intermarriage rates vary depending on which sort of Hispanic — they’re highest for Puerto Ricans, lower for Mexicans — but still: by the third or fourth generation, an American “Hispanic” will very probably be of mixed ancestry.

    Some more recent data here:

    http://www.prb.org/pdf05/60.2NewMarriages.pdf

    “Did the US ever have an immigrant population over 15%?”

    Dude. There is this thing called Google.

    Short answer: yes. At the moment the immigrant (foreign-born) population of the US is around 11.5%. But during the peak immigration years, from the 1890s to the 1920s, that figure was well over 20% for years at a time.

    At present the US has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any large industrial nation. (If we include not-so-large industrial nations, then Australia is the champ.)

    Doug M.

  10. Some thoughts on the Dilettante’s post.

    1) “Putin is in desperate need of an [ugly]opposition force that the West would love him to crush.”

    Huh. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a very good point.

    2) “Putin’s government has an aggressive immigration program that will, if implemented, replace tens of millions of native-born Russians with immigrants from Central Asia, China and the Caucasus.”

    WTF?

    “Tens of millions”? That seems like rather a lot. And where will these “replaced” Russians disappear too?

    China? Every ethnic Russian I know is convinced that millions of Chinese are desperate to flood into Siberia. But evidence for this seems lacking, to say the least. Small numbers of Chinese traders, yes; large-scale immigration, no.

    No offense, Dilettante, but you lost me there. What is this policy supposed to be?

    3) “Native-born Russians, and especially ethnic Russians, fear becoming a minority in their own country, knowing the fate of Russian minorities in Central Asia and the Caucasus is barely preferable to that of Zimbabwe’s white farmers.”

    Well, I live in the Caucasus, and the local Russians are doing just fine. There are a bunch of them just down the street. They were out in force celebrating Easter a little while ago. Russians own the local electrical distribution system and are about to buy the phone company. There are also several thousand Russian soldiers less than an hour’s drive away, invited by the local government.

    No offense to the Dilettante, but Georgia and Chechnya are not the whole Caucasus.

    4) Final thought: historically, Russia has always had plenty of ethnic and religious minorities. They weren’t always treated so well — ask a Crim Tartar or a Jew — but they were certainly there. So it’s not as if the presence of large numbers of non-Russians is a new and shocking thing.

    Doug M.

  11. Doug M –

    I would be suspicious of the US Census figures on Hispanic intermarriage. The Census Bureau has never quite figured out whether Hispanics should be classified as a race or an ethnicity, notwithstanding the fact that just about everyone in America considers them to be a race. These official classification difficulties might well contribute to an unrealistically high intermarriage figure.

    Anecdotal or not, despite the fact that I work in New York where there’s a very large Hispanic population, white/Hispanic couples appear to be less common than black/white or especially Asian/white couples. Steve Sailer has noticed the same thing in Los Angeles, where the Hispanic population is even larger.

  12. ” would be suspicious of the US Census figures on Hispanic intermarriage. The Census Bureau has never quite figured out whether Hispanics should be classified as a race or an ethnicity, notwithstanding the fact that just about everyone in America considers them to be a race. These official classification difficulties might well contribute to an unrealistically high intermarriage figure.”

    Since many can just vanish into the ‘white’ category any time they want couldn’t this contribute to an unrealistically low intermarriage figure? The whole ‘decline to state’ movement is gaining steam every year.

  13. Some more recent data here:

    Most interesting. It seems to say that some groups intermarry and some don’t without clearly stating the reasons.

    But during the peak immigration years, from the 1890s to the 1920s, that figure was well over 20% for years at a time.

    Yes, I admit that I am bad at finding query phrases. But I may point out that just in these years major anti immigration legislation was passed.

    Since many can just vanish into the ‘white’ category any time they want couldn’t this contribute to an unrealistically low intermarriage figure?

    If one spouse in a hispanic marriage states “white” the figure is inflated. And you can’t tell which is which.

  14. I think a very important factor for why Russia is more racist than Western countries today is that they didn’t have the whole civil liberty/racism debates in the 60s/70s. Civil rights movement shifted the “normal” attitude from racism to non-racism (or at least much less so than before). In Russia racism wasn’t obvious in Communist days because the Law was applied (because the government wanted to show the US that is was more civilized). However after communism when the Law was far less scary and effective, people became less scared and since there was no wide range debate in Russian society to make racism unacceptable, overt racist behavior became more frequent and it is not as badly seen as in the West. It is much more effective to change people’s mentality by wide-ranging debate and consensus than by governmental decrees, which is only a short-term solution.

    Now as for how much people are willing to accomodate mass immigration, I think there is a definite limit before people will try to pressure the government into changing policies. How much they’re willing to accept depends on many factors: level of integration (eastern european in US is high but arabs in france is low), work ethic/socioeconomic status, language, religion, economic level in the country (immigrants can used as scapegoats for a bad economy) etc. As soon as they feel their “culture” is being threatened, they’ll pressure the government in stopping the flow of immigrants, or if the government is not listening by turning violent on the immigrants.

    V

  15. Peter wrote:

    “I would be suspicious of the US Census figures on Hispanic intermarriage.”

    You can be, of course; but some reasoning behind the suspicion would be nice.

    “The Census Bureau has never quite figured out whether Hispanics should be classified as a race or an ethnicity, notwithstanding the fact that just about everyone in America considers them to be a race. These official classification difficulties might well contribute to an unrealistically high intermarriage figure.”

    Er… how exactly?

    “Anecdotal or not, despite the fact that I work in New York where there’s a very large Hispanic population, white/Hispanic couples appear to be less common than black/white or especially Asian/white couples.”

    Actually, the Census figures show that black/white couples are significantly less common than white/Hispanic.

    Anecdotes; data.

    Then Sebastian:

    “Since many can just vanish into the ‘white’ category any time they want couldn’t this contribute to an unrealistically low intermarriage figure?”

    …actually, that’s probably backwards. A fair number of Hispanics do indeed vanish into whiteness every year. But if they then marry other Hispanics, you get a marriage that’s “mixed” on paper, but really not.

    That said, the number of intermarriages must still be quite high.

    Oliver:

    “It seems to say that some groups intermarry and some don’t without clearly stating the reasons.”

    Well, your original question was ‘do you intermarry’. Not ‘why do you intermarry’.

    “‘But during the peak immigration years, from the 1890s to the 1920s, that figure was well over 20% for years at a time.'”

    “Yes, I admit that I am bad at finding query phrases. But I may point out that just in these years major anti immigration legislation was passed.”

    Hm. No, you may not.

    Immigration to the US started rising after the Civil War and then soared in the 1880s. From 1890 to 1914 it remained at a very high rate. With the exception of the Germans, French Canadians, and Irish, most of the “white ethnic” communities in America were created during this period. In 1870, there were very few Italians, Hungarians, Greeks, Poles, etc., in the US. Today there are millions of Italian-Americans, Greek Americans, etc., etc., etc.

    The scope and scale of the immigration was unprecedented then or since; and it went on for decades, from the 1870s until after the First World War. Anti-immigration legislation, closing the doors, wasn’t enacted until 1921.

    — There are two interesting questions here: why did the doors stay wide open for so long — nearly fifty years? And then, why did they finally close? There are answers, but they get a bit beyond the scope of this comment thread.

    Anyway, it’s this “Ellis Island” period, roughly 1875-1921, that really shaped the modern image of the US as a nation of immigrants. Before that, it was a nation of British descent, with some snall, mostly easily assimilable minorities from nearby countries in Northern Europe. (Well, and 1/8th African Americans. But not many people were considering them as full Americans in the years before the Civil War.)

    Doug M.

  16. Let me try to clear up some of the confusion I started. It is true that I don’t see many white/Hispanic couples despite working in a city with a huge Hispanic population. A possible explanation, which Steve Sailer mentioned in response to a similar lack of mixed couples he’s noticed in Los Angeles, is that the Hispanics who marry whites tend to be the generally lighter-skinned ones, indeed people who would be considered white everywhere in the world except in the United States. It obviously follows that these couples are not apparent to the casual observer. It also tends to make sense, as the opposition which still exists toward interracial marriage (except maybe WM/AF marriages) is less likely to be an issue with a marriage in which one partner is only “technically” nonwhite.

    How this theory could be proven statistically, I do not know.

  17. Well, your original question was ‘do you intermarry’. Not ‘why do you intermarry’.

    Then the answer would be: Hispanics do, Blacks don’t.

    From 1890 to 1914 it remained at a very high rate.

    Exactly in those years you got the Chinese Exclusion Act, similar deals about Japanese and a few years later a strong cut in immigration. This is unlikely to be coincidence. You cannot blame it on postwar depressions without the prior notion that there was too much immigration. Earlier recession did not have that effect.

  18. Doug:

    “Georgia and Chechnya are not the whole Caucasus.”

    Not to disagree with you on the wider points, but there has been a wholesale exodus of Russophones from the Caucasus, both the independent South and the still nominally Russian North. This isn’t because of anti-Russian persecution, but rather because of sustained periods of hot and cold war which have wrecked the economy of a region that was already marginal. That, and their fluency in the language of the nearest halfway-stable state. It isn’t as if Russophones were unique in emigrating en masse, as census figures in the South Caucasus demonstrate.

  19. As for Alexei’s post, two things strike me as especially off:

    “Putin’s government has an aggressive immigration program that will, if implemented, replace tens of millions of native-born Russians with immigrants from Central Asia, China and the Caucasus.”

    First of all, there’s the suggestion that there’s going to be any large-scale immigration from China at all. Aren’t the two countries more-or-less at the same level of development? China has a large peasantry, yes, but Chinese cities are the main receiving areas followed by First World destinations–I understand that Dongbei Chinese are becoming prominent in France.

    More importantly, there’s the use of the word “replace.” Is Alexei seriously saying that, but for a Georgian, there would be a Russian born? The theory that large-scale immigration discourages large-scale reproduction strikes me as … off.

  20. Isn’t xenophobia encouraged by politicians when they are in trouble at home? Mrs Thatcher and the Falklands is always the prime British example. And isn’t it always reinvented by locals when they feel they are losing out, which is why wealth liberally shared is important, or at least a dream of mobility to improve your lot.

    In the old communist days there was enough propaganda both to believe that Soviet citizens were doing OK and little overt evidence that other countries were doing better. Now the evidence is there. Russians at the bottom of the shareout see some of their own people getting more than them and no ideology or mobility to improve their lot. What else can they do to vent their frustration and powerlessness, when it boils over but attack someone even less powerful than themselves, as they perceive it?

    I read recently somewhere that France is a country that cannot make incremental change, but needs a revolution. Of course the revolutions are not so violent these days. Maybe Russia is the same. Putin is desperately trying to keep the lid on NGOS and opposition that might harness some of that powerlessness and frustration into something more political and positive for change.

    I’m not condoning the racism and violence in any way, just I can see how from their perspective it is both logical and they can get away with it under Putin, like in the 30s in Germany.

    Solutions rely on people at the bottom having more control over their lives. Maybe they even envy the mobility of immigrants, since traditionnally job mobility has been low in Russia. If the French Moslems feel desperate in the banlieus imagine how much more desperate you would feel in smaller Russian towns with no chances of doing anything with your life.

    Some sort of genuinely shared ideology reinforced by politicians in public is necessary to make racism and violence unacceptable. But divide and rule seems to be it at the moment. When the state itself has condoned violence and bullying in the army and prisons, people learn they can get away with it on the streets.

  21. In Russia, 80% of the population is ethnic Russian. So I don’t think that Dilettante’s statement that Russians could “become a minority in their own country” is valid at all.

    Of the other 20% that’s not ethnic Russian, a significant amount is made up of indigenous people, such as Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvash, etc. These people have been around for the past centuries and are not recent immigrants.

    For that reason, it is tendentious to say that Russia’s growing xenophobia is due to the significantly growing presence of immigrants. For one, Russia’s economic situation is not significantly better than that of its neighbours (though Moscow is much better off than the rest of the country). Secondly, Russia can hardly be called a “migrant country” or a country that experiences inward migration in the same way that, say, the United States, Canada or parts of the European Union do.

  22. [Oliver, on heroic-age immigration in the US]

    “Exactly in those years you got the Chinese Exclusion Act, similar deals about Japanese and a few years later a strong cut in immigration. This is unlikely to be coincidence.”

    I’m really not sure what you’re trying to say here. Sure, there was racially-driven resistance to Chinese and, a bit later, Japanese immigration. But (1) the Japanese and Chinese were a very small percentage of the total immigration into the US in those years, and (2) despite the resistance, they managed to found significant communities anyway.

    Saying there was not-very-effective resistance to a couple of small and particularly strange groups… well, sure, if you like.

    “You cannot blame it on postwar depressions”

    ? Where did that come from?

    The shutdown in immigration in the early ’20s had only a little to do with the recession of 1919-20. (N.B., it was also entirely unrelated to the earlier Japanese and Chinese bans.)

    What are you trying to get at?

    Doug M.

  23. Saying there was not-very-effective resistance to a couple of small and particularly strange groups

    A trend begins with dubious actions against especially conspicious targets.

    “You cannot blame it on postwar depressions”
    ? Where did that come from?

    The other obvious explanation. It indicates that there’s no direct connection to wealth.

    The shutdown in immigration in the early ’20s had only a little to do with the recession of 1919-20. (N.B., it was also entirely unrelated to the earlier Japanese and Chinese bans.)
    What are you trying to get at?

    That we have a clear example of a society previously very open to immigration which underwent a backlash after immigration figures had gone way up.
    On the other hand we have Australia with an immigration quota of 23%. However, Australia may still undergo a backlash and you can’t fully count UK emmigrants.

    So I am saying that you we have an upper bound of possible immigrants at 15-20% of the population.

  24. “So I am saying that you we have an upper bound of possible immigrants at 15-20% of the population.”

    Interesting. Anyone else have something to add to this figure?

    “The other obvious explanation. It indicates that there’s no direct connection to wealth.”

    Maybe not, but how was the general attitude to immigrants in the US in that time frame? I am talking about the general population not the authorities.

    I do believe that wealth can play a role if natives and newcomers are competitors for the same jobs or even benefits. Or, still, if the economic situation of households is so depressing that people need to have an outlet for their frustrations and are more likely to rally around a common cause. This cause, of course, does not have to be xenophobic nationalism. And, of course, people do not need to be frustrated for them to embrace more extremist ideas.

    It really is not that easy to define the origins of xenophobia, is it?

    BTW, any comments on this: http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/05/global-hate.html

  25. There is no reasonable measure of Latin Americans immigration that exceeds German immigration in the second half of the 19th century.

    Racism is far, far, far from rare in any society, and I challenge Europeans to question whether or not their nations can really claim any superiority over Americans in that respect. I have to ask whether Europe is really facing anything like the immigration levels the US has now or had before the 1924 immigration reform. According to Wikipedia, non-European immigrants to Belgium represent some 3% of the population; it might be 8% in the Netherlands, but a big chunk of those are Indo-European and a lot of the rest Antiillian and Surinamese (you conquered’em, you get to keep’em); in Germany 9% are non-Germans, but a lot of those are other Europeans; it might be 7% for France, with a lot of them other Europeans. I really don’t see that Europe’s non-European immigration numbers are enough to qualify as massive in comparison to the peak immigration years in the US in the 1870s.

    But, to be sure, presence does not make the heart grow fonder. We gush over other people’s problems, as long as they stay where they are. All immigration, large and small, has produced resentment among the natives and suspicion and fear among the newcomers. At least, I know of no exception. But sometimes, large immigration waves have produced very little heat and small ones produced a lot. Germans came to the US in masses, and except for some local grousing, no one cared; or at least I’m unaware of an organized opposition of any magnitude. A handful of Chinese merchants and Japanese farmers arrive in the same years, and the result is total exclusion and a century of suspicion, resentment and discrimination.

    There always seems to be a sense that some immigrants are more acceptable than others. As far as I can tell this isn’t much based on any kind of rational analysis, but something deeper and less well thought out. No one cares that 8% of the Belgian population is from the rest of Europe, but the 3% from Turkey and North Africa cause folks to freak out. No one notices that Germans took generations to learn English, while Mexicans generally take at most one.

    It’s about some kind of construction of race, but it’s obviously not very constant. In America in the 1840s, the Irish weren’t even thought of as white people; in Belgium in the 21st century, Mexicans are seen as just as white as I am.

  26. Money is always the prime factor in every field. So if newcomers and natives are competiting each other in the same field than also wealth plays an important role. And if the people get the outlet for their frustation.And r likely to fight for the common cause. It is not that easy to define the origins of Xenophobia. Is it?

  27. No anti German feelings in the US? That is more an example of amnesia than anything else.

    Peak immigration was clearly higher in the US. But the definition is also different. Germany it is non holder of pasport while the American definition was born in a different country.

    The Chinese and Japanese were concentrated in the West of the USA. were they where a sizeable minority.

  28. I like your approach; looking for a deeper universal human condition angle.

    I think Jung’s collective and tribal unconscious is a key. We are still programmed to act like we have in 99% of our human existence as tribes that are Ok with our neighbours when times are good but not when they are not.

    And all human progress arises from one tribe learning from another and often intermarrying to create diversity.

    But as soon as there’s a threat, eg 9/11 then fight or flight takes over and “That tribe” the other, then become scapegoats.

    The language of immigration is twisted to appeal to our tribal unconscious…swamped, overrun..our tribal territiry is in danger…from “that lot” whether it is or not.

    Even people are misdescribed as black and white in order to fit into the us and them template when there are no such skin colours. The need to separate and emphasise difference overrides accuracy in a blatant way

    So deep psychol;ogy is called on to really understand what is in our human condition that gives rise to xenophobia without becoming anti-racist racists !!

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