Some people are irrational and hateful in their views of immigrants.
Such hate has been directed at every group of new immigrants since the founding of America.
What is behind this hate and discrimination against newcomers?
Did you know that the core anti-immigrant network today was founded by racists and neo-Nazis? Some set impossible demands that others be exactly like "us" - biologically, culturally, mentally... reflecting the worst kinds of ethnocentrism.
Behavioral scientists attribute the expression of hate and discrimination to rejection and abuse experienced in childhood, where people develop a poor self-image and lack self-value as a human being. While sad, it is also sad that many of these people go on to scapegoat others around them in expressing their poor self-image and lack of self-value. Hate not only brings out the worst of who we can be as human beings, but also negatively affects the stability and effective functioning of our communities and society.
Studies on social change indicate that when a society experiences distortion and stress, such scapegoating significantly increases. This indicates that the discrimination against immigrants reflects more on ourselves as a society, rather than the immigrants who suffer such abuse.
Who is at the roots of the the contemporary anti-immigrant movement?
Tanton and Racism
The John Tanton Network
Anti-Immigration Groups Share Extremist Roots
Into the Mainstream
Who benefits from anti-immigrant hate? What are the vested political and economic interests of those who stir anti-immigrant fear and hate?
The Party of Fear
Why Are So Many Americans Scared of Undocumented Immigrants?
The anti-immigrants are actually a very small part of the American society, but they are very loud and seem to dominate the public debate. As we look at these anti-immigrants, hopefully we can develop ways of bringing the public debate and policies back into balance with the decent values that most Americans hold.
* No personal information is collected on this and other course-related pages. You may use these materials in your own personal research and learning, though I'd appreciate your giving me credit.
© Dr. Ken Barger, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Indiana University Indianapolis, 2011