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Technology, Social Media Bring New Age Of Xenophobia

(Photo via Graphicstock.com)
The world.

Some of the words and phrases used by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have caused people to stop and wonder whether he’s saying them for effect or if there’s true meaning behind them. Recently, Trump was criticized by leaders in the Republican and Democratic parties for asserting that the judge overseeing a class action suit against Trump was biased against him because he was of Mexican heritage.

We learned more about xenophobia and its history from Marlene Tromp, Dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU’s West Campus. She is co-editor of the book Fear, Loathing and Victorian Xenophobia.

What is xenophobia?

"Xenophobia is the fear and loathing of foreigners. What we argue in the book is that it's based on an affective response. So it's our emotion. It's not intellectual. There's a difference between intellectually being afraid that someone could harm you and just having that gut-level fear response."

How has it changed?

"In the 19th century, there was an explosion of xenophobia because there was an explosion of global border crossing. It's the first movement of globalization and with social media and technology, and the way in which the world has become intimately interconnected in the last, even dozen, years, you could say there's been a really radical change. Our levels of xenophobia have increased dramatically because instead of visiting foreign landscapes, those foreign landscapes seem, to our eyes, to appear in our own borders all the time."

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.