A History Of Xenophobia In America

2340 words - 10 pages

Xenophobia: an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers. This an age old concept that has stricken groups of people since the era of exploration. Americans have notoriously fallen victim to this. Since the first British Colonist sailed over in the year 1585, there has been a tradition set to fear the foreign. In Racheal Ida Buff’s “Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship” immigrations are critically analyzed in regards to minority relations to the white majority, mostly resulting in persecution or exclusion. The indigenous people of North America and the Chinese are the two groups that will be focused on. The Native Americans or “Indians” are the first new or foreign group these new Americans have to learn to cohabitate with. Then comes the influx of Chinese immigrants caused many white Americans to fear for the economy. Both peoples had to deal with the contrasting views of themselves and the white Americans’ view. From W.E.B Du Bois “The Souls of Black Folk” his idea of double conscious can be applied to both Native Americans and the Chinese. Double Consciousness is the idea of a veil being put over one so that others cannot see you clearly but you see yourself for who you are and how others view you; this creates the double consciousness and the dual self-perception. The Native Americans and the Chinese became painfully aware of this new perspective of themselves and were forced to cope with it. Xenophobia continues to test Americans with races relations to African Americans, Mexicans and other minority groups.
To begin with the Native Americans, these indigenous people of North America have been greatly persecuted by the new British Colonists that would soon breed the offspring that will carry the xenophobic behaviors. Before the Civil War it was the majority belief to keep all minorities living separately from the white majority. “The majority believed that the minority ethnic groups were deviants from national norm who should maintain a separate existence. Separation was more attractive than group conflict” (Hoxie 13). This idea should seem very familiar, almost identical to the “separate but equal” policy that was practiced after the Civil War against the black people in America. Here you can see the history of white Americans xenophobia towards minorities of all kinds. It only began with the Native Americans.
Many types of legislation were passed against the Native Americans disgusted as laws to benefit them. From 1887 through 1933, America set to assimilate the Native Americans into “civilized life”. The Dawes Act of 1887 allotted land for Indians to live on that cannot be sold by the government for twenty-five years (Boxer Native Americans), this was known as reservation land. The catch was that the land that was not distributed can be sold to non-Indian people which was a way of white Americans to gain even more land(Boxer Native Americans.) Living on these lands and attempting to assimilate would grant the...

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