Nativism

Any view claiming that something is innate, such as ideas or perceptual faculties.

Also see: innate ideas

Arguments presented for immigration restriction

According to Joel S. Fetzer, opposition to immigration commonly arises in many countries because of issues of national, cultural, and religious identity. The phenomenon has been studied especially in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as in continental Europe. Thus nativism has become a general term for opposition to immigration based on fears that immigrants will “distort or spoil” existing cultural values.[4] In situations where immigrants greatly outnumber the original inhabitants,[5] nativist movements seek to prevent cultural change.

Immigration restrictionist sentiment is typically justified with one or more of the following arguments against immigrants:[6]

  • Economic
    • Employment: Immigrants acquire jobs that would have otherwise been available to native citizens, limiting native employment; they also create a surplus of labor that lowers wages.
    • Government expense: Immigrants do not pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the services they require.[7]
    • Welfare: Immigrants make heavy use of the social welfare systems.
    • Housing: Immigrants reduce vacancies, causing rent increases.
  • Cultural
    • Language: Immigrants isolate themselves in their own communities and refuse to learn the local language.
    • Culture: Immigrants will outnumber the native population and replace its culture with theirs.
    • Patriotism: Immigrants damage a nation’s sense of community based on ethnicity and nationality.
  • Environmental
    • Environment: Immigrants increase the consumption of limited resources.
    • Overpopulation: Immigration contributes to overpopulation.

Examples by country and region

Australia

Many Australians opposed the influx of Chinese immigrants at time of the nineteenth-century gold rushes. When the separate Australian colonies formed the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, the new nation adopted “White Australia” as one of its founding principles. Under the White Australia policy, entry of Chinese and other Asians remained controversial until well after World War II, although the country remained home to many long-established Chinese families dating from before the adoption of White Australia. By contrast, most Pacific Islanders were deported soon after the policy was adopted, while the remainder were forced out of the canefields where they had worked for decades.[8]

Antipathy of native-born white Australians toward British and Irish immigrants in the late 19th century was manifested in a new party, the Australian Natives’ Association.[9][10]

Since early 2000, opposition has mounted to asylum seekers arriving in boats from Indonesia.[11]

Brazil

The Brazilian elite desired the racial whitening of the country, similarly to Argentina and Uruguay. The country encouraged European immigration, but non-white immigration always faced considerable backlash. On July 28, 1921, representatives Andrade Bezerra and Cincinato Braga proposed a law whose Article 1 provided: “The immigration of individuals from the black race to Brazil is prohibited.” On October 22, 1923, representative Fidélis Reis produced another bill on the entry of immigrants, whose fifth article was as follows: “The entry of settlers from the black race into Brazil is prohibited. For Asian [immigrants] there will be allowed each year a number equal to 5% of those residing in the country.(…)”.[12]

In the 19th and 20th centuries, there were negative feelings toward the communities of German, Italian, Japanese, and Jewish immigrants, who conserved their language and culture instead of adopting Portuguese and Brazilian habit (so that nowadays Brazil has the most number of communities in the Americas of speakers of Venetian and second-most of German), were seen as particularly tendentious to form ghettos, had high rates of endogamy (in Brazil, it is regarded as usual for people of different backgrounds to miscegenate), among other concerns.

It affected more harshly the Japanese, because they were Asian, and thus seen as an obstacle of the whitening of Brazil. Oliveira Viana, a Brazilian jurist, historian and sociologist described the Japanese immigrants as follows: “They (Japanese) are like sulfur: insoluble”. The Brazilian magazine “O Malho” in its edition of December 5, 1908 issued a charge of Japanese immigrants with the following legend: “The government of São Paulo is stubborn. After the failure of the first Japanese immigration, it contracted 3,000 yellow people. It insists on giving Brazil a race diametrically opposite to ours”.[13] In 1941, the Brazilian minister of justice, Francisco Campos, defended the ban on admission of 400 Japanese immigrants in São Paulo and wrote: “their despicable standard of living is a brutal competition with the country’s worker; their selfishness, their bad faith, their refractory character, make them a huge ethnic and cultural cyst located in the richest regions of Brazil”.[13]

Some years before World War II, the government of President Getúlio Vargas initiated a process of forced assimilation of people of immigrant origin in Brazil. The Constitution of 1934 had a legal provision about the subject: “The concentration of immigrants anywhere in the country is prohibited; the law should govern the selection, location and assimilation of the alien”. The assimilationist project affected mainly German, Italian, Japanese and Jewish immigrants and their descendants.[14]

During World War II they were seen as more loyal to their countries of origin than to Brazil. In fact, there were violent revolts in the Japanese community of the states of São Paulo and Paraná when Emperor Hirohito declared that Japan surrendered and he was not a deity, which was thought as a conspiracy trying to hurt Japanese honour and strength. Nevertheless, it followed hostility from the government. The Japanese Brazilian community was strongly marked by restrictive measures when Brazil declared war against Japan in August 1942. Japanese Brazilians could not travel the country without safe conduct issued by the police; over 200 Japanese schools were closed and radio equipment was seized to prevent transmissions on short wave from Japan. The goods of Japanese companies were confiscated and several companies of Japanese origin had interventions, including the newly founded Banco América do Sul. Japanese Brazilians were prohibited from driving motor vehicles (even if they were taxi drivers), buses or trucks on their property. The drivers employed by Japanese had to have permission from the police. Thousands of Japanese immigrants were arrested or expelled from Brazil on suspicion of espionage. There were many anonymous denunciations because of “activities against national security” arising from disagreements between neighbours, recovery of debts and even fights between children.[13] Japanese Brazilians were arrested for “suspicious activity” when they were in artistic meetings or picnics. On July 10, 1943, approximately 10,000 Japanese and German immigrants who lived in Santos had 24 hours to close their homes and businesses and move away from the Brazilian coast. The police acted without any notice. About 90% of people displaced were Japanese. To reside in Baixada Santista, the Japanese had to have a safe conduct.[13] In 1942, the Japanese community who introduced the cultivation of pepper in Tomé-Açu, in Pará, was virtually turned into a “concentration camp” (expression of the time) from which no Japanese could leave. This time, the Brazilian ambassador in Washington, D.C., Carlos Martins Pereira e Sousa, encouraged the government of Brazil to transfer all the Japanese Brazilians to “internment camps” without the need for legal support, in the same manner as was done with the Japanese residents in the United States. No single suspicion of activities of Japanese against “national security” was confirmed.[13]

Nowadays, nativism in Brazil affects primarily migrants from elsewhere in the Third World, such as the new wave of Levantine Arabs (this time, mostly Muslims from Palestine instead of overwhelmingly Christian from Syria and Lebanon), South and East Asians (primarily Mainland Chinese), Spanish-speakers and Amerindians from neighbouring South American countries and, especially, West Africans and Haitians. Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake and considerable illegal immigration to northern Brazil and São Paulo,[15] a subsequent debate in the population was concerned with the reasons why Brazil has such lax laws and enforcement concerning illegal immigration.

According to the 1988’s Brazilian Constitution, it is an unbailable crime to address someone in an offensive racist way, and it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of his or her race, skin colour, national or regional origin or nationality, thus nativism and opposition to multiculturalism would be too much of a polemic and delicate topic to be openly discussed as a basic ideology of even the most right-leaning modern political parties.

Canada

Nativism was common in Canada (though the term originated in the U.S.). It took several forms. Hostility to the Chinese and other Asians was intense, and involved provincial laws that hindered immigration of Chinese and Japanese and blocked their economic mobility. In 1942 Japanese Canadians were forced into detention camps in response to Japanese aggression in World War II.[16]

Throughout the 19th century, well into the 20th, the Orange Order in Canada attacked and tried to politically defeat the Irish Catholics.[17] The Ku Klux Klan spread in the mid-1920s from the U.S. to parts of Canada, especially Saskatchewan, where it helped topple the Liberal government. The Klan creed was, historian Martin Robin argues, in the mainstream of Protestant Canadian sentiment, for it was based on “Protestantism, separation of Church and State, pure patriotism, restrictive and selective immigration, one national public school, one flag and one language—English.”[9][18]

In World War I, Canadian naturalized citizens of German or Austrian origins were stripped of their right to vote, and tens of thousands of Ukrainians (who were born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) were rounded up and put in internment camps.[19]

Hostility of native-born Canadians to competition from English immigrants in the early 20th century was expressed in signs that read, “No English Need Apply!” The resentment came because the immigrants identified more with England than with Canada.[20]

In the British Empire, traditions of anti-Catholicism in Britain led to fears that Catholics were a threat to the national (British) values. In Canada, the Orange Order (of Irish Protestants) campaigned vigorously against the Catholics throughout the 19th century, often with violent confrontations. Both sides were immigrants from Ireland and neither side claimed loyalty to Canada.[21] The Orange Order was much less influential in the U.S., especially after a major riot in New York City in 1871.[22]

Hong Kong

Nativism in Hong Kong, which is often used as a synonymy with localism,[23] strives for the autonomy of Hong Kong and resists the influence in the city of Chinese authorities. In addition to their strong anti-communist and pro-democracy tendency, nativists often hold strong anti-mainland and anti-Mandarin sentiments, especially opposing the influx of the mainland tourists and Mandarin-speaking immigrants, seeing them as a threat to Hong Kong’s Cantonese culture and identity.

European countries

For the Poles in the mining districts of western Germany before 1914, nationalism (on both the German and the Polish sides) kept Polish workers, who had established an associational structure approaching institutional completeness (churches, voluntary associations, press, even unions), separate from the host German society. Lucassen found that religiosity and nationalism were more fundamental in generating nativism and inter-group hostility than the labor antagonism.

Once Italian workers in France had understood the benefit of unionism and French unions were willing to overcome their fear of Italians as strikebreakers, integration was open for most Italian immigrants. The French state, which was always more of an immigration state than Prussia and the other German states or Great Britain, fostered and supported family-based immigration and thus helped Italians on their immigration trajectory with minimal nativism.[24]

Many observers see the post-1950s wave of immigration in Europe was fundamentally different from the pre-1914 patterns. They debate the role of cultural differences, ghettos, race, Muslim fundamentalism, poor education and poverty play in creating nativism among the hosts and a caste-type underclass, more similar to white-black tensions in the US.[24] Algerian migration to France has generated nativism, characterized by the prominence of Jean-Marie Le Pen and his National Front.[24]

Pakistan

The Pakistani province of Sindh has seen nativist movements, promoting control for the Sindhi people over their homeland. After the 1947 Partition of India, large numbers of Muhajir people migrating from India entered the province, becoming a majority in the provincial capital city of Karachi, which formerly had an ethnically Sindhi majority. Sindhis have also voiced opposition to the promotion of Urdu, as opposed to their native tongue, Sindhi.

These nativist movements are expressed through Sindhi nationalism and the Sindhudesh separatist movement. Nativist and nationalist sentiments increased greatly after the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.

Taiwan

After the Chinese Civil War, Taiwan became a sanctuary for Chinese nationalists who fled from communists who followed a Western ideology

2 thoughts on “Nativism

  1. zovrelioptor says:

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  2. zovre lioptor says:

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