We are encouraged by examined history, literature and our personal, empirical, experience, to conclude, that there exists in mankind, various problematic proclivities, never critically evaluated, and seldom considered, but privately, put away “in storage” in his internal attic (unconscious?). Included among these stored items, would be, as expected, hurtful, traumatic, and disappointing memories; but, also, inclinations which may be irrational but, stubbornly, enduring. Stated alternately, the personal assurance of a positive self- image is, eternally, of paramount importance, to man’s self- perceived identity and personal sense of worth, thus, indefensible, or unpopular, negative, inclinations, may be privately laid away or secreted, in his darkened attic.
Among such atavistic and retrogressive, inclinations, is a fear of, or antipathy to, “outsiders” or strangers. This pandemic neurosis, may help, somewhat, to explain the erratic objection, to immigration, by certain people, in a Nation, composed entirely of immigrants and their progeny. It is fear and insecurity, somewhere, locked away, perhaps more profound, than the popularly ascribed, “xenophobia”, that seeks to prevent immigrants from fleeing from the danger, or poverty, of a foreign country, to the safety and normality of a family life, in the U.S.A.
It disappointingly, often appears that after a generation or two, following their immigration to the United States, and adjusting and settling in, to a new and better life, many people oppose relief to others, suffering from their previous plight. As shamefully and disappointingly expressed, “How soon they forget.”
We might be possibly inclined, as are many, to surmise, that patriotic, loving and steadfast protection of country, is involved, but we do not agree. Xenophobia, we are convinced, is the ostensible symptom, like fever, but the pathology resides, upstairs, in a pile of basic, psychological and infantile dust, in man’s dark, human attic. Immigration has seldom been easy, and has, often, been shamefully at odds, with the world famous, Statue of Liberty, welcoming the tired, poor, downtrodden and endangered immigrants, as expressed by the poetic words, of Emma Lazarus.
Federal Statutes, not very long ago, forbid the immigration of all Chinese, and other Asian peoples. Our saintly and revered, President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, yielding to populist anti-Semitic sentiment, refused entry of hundreds of Refugee Jews, returning them to Hitler’s Death Camps. Today, our autocratic President, Donald Trump, has defamatorily described, all Mexican and Central American people, yearning for a safer and better, family life in America, as “criminals and rapists.” He has restrained immigration, a right, expressly provided in our Federal Statutes, and has incredibly, and evilly, chosen to break up immigrant families, and, nightmarishly, put the separated, young children, in wire cages, on the American border.
We do not diagnose these policies, nor their, respective, “populist” support, as xenophobia; it is latent, hatred and ignorant fear of the “other” (prejudice), residing, in the attics, of, both, sub-rosa, or publically acknowledged, un-American bigots.
For those, unfamiliar with the “Dust Bowl” tragedy, in the 1930’s in America’s Central Great Plains, we would, earnestly, suggest the reading of George Steinbeck’s great novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.” The classic, historic novel, set in the 1930’s, America’s Great Depression years, dealt with an historically representative family, migrating from the horrific and deadly, Oklahoma Dust Bowl, to a better life in California. The suffering along the way, is moving; but more to the point, of this writing, is the unfriendly reception, upon arrival, by Californians, fellow Americans, of these desperate migrants, derogatively, called “Oakies.” The novel is a portrayal of actual reality, an historical work, and not a fanciful creation of the author, as confirmed by any study of the period.
One could not rationally, relegate the selfish and offensive treatment of the Oklahoma migrants, refugees from unprecedented, mortal danger, by the more fortunately resident, Californians, to xenophobia; all the involved people were unquestionably, American.
The cause is long packed away in the mental storage attics of those, who, instinctively, oppose the admission of the “other.” Is it fear of the stranger (in French, the word for foreigner, is “etranger”)?, symbolic self-loathing (remembering themselves in an analogously situated condition)? Basic, “we, they,” reductionist, or tribal bigotry? unsympathetic selfishness? insecure fear of change? Bigotry, plain and simple?
We would recommend, for the who selfishly, or, fearfully, oppose the charitable and empathic, practice of immigration, to brave the dust and detritus of an audit, of their personal attic to discover.