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Pet Sins November 2000 Issue
American xenophobia and reverse prejudice from immigrants

Much media attention has been given to "mainstream" American prejudice against non-white foreigners, particularly individuals from groups stereotyped as being in the country illegally. But it should be fair to point out that newer immigrants aren't always innocent saintly victims of prejudice either.

Just as European immigrants in past centuries did not always view the people of First Nations as human beings deserving the same respect and rights they gave to themselves, newer immigrants in recent times sometimes look upon older established immigrant communities, such as Euro-Americans, with disdainful prejudice.

Just as early Europeans took native hospitality for granted and abused the trust of First Nations people, some recent immigrants from Asia take for granted the infrastructure and conveniences built on the back of earlier immigrants and native peoples, while viewing Americans through an objectifying and disrespectful lens.

We are by no means dismissing the challenges that recent immigrant communities face when dealing with a more powerful, more influential mainstream. Nor are we trying to excuse mainstream racism by patly saying "we are all prejudiced". The damage done by the prejudice of a socially less influential minority cannot compare with the effects of institutionalized racism by the majority.

The mainstream media's active marginalization of select immigrant communities needs to stop, but perhaps we can also suggest that those who complain of discrimination could also consider treating others as they would like to be treated.