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BEDI Resources

Definitions & Key Terms

Nationalism:  Initial uses of the term used nationalism to convey a sentiment and commitment toward one's nation, which was nearly interchangeable with the term patriotism. The transitioning political and social environment of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which paralleled shifts away from allegiance to a particular church, signaled a turn toward the now centuries-long discussion of nationalism as a complex sociopolitical movement. In addition to discussing nationalism as a political principle, nationalism can also be understood as a feeling or sentiment that develops in support of that political principle and/or when the principle is challenged or eradicated. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Nativism: In general, nativism is a form of ethnocentrism that considers previous residence in a country or region to constitute a claim to superiority in culture or a higher class of citizenship. In the United States, nativism has been defined as “the intense opposition to an internal minority on the grounds of its allegedly un-American characteristics” (Higham 1963). This fear and hatred of “aliens” in the United States has been typically directed against religious or ethnic minorities and political radicals. Despite having expelled and dispersed the previous residents and being surrounded by other ethnicities, races and religions, nativists have viewed themselves as somehow special—“Anglo Saxons” and other Protestant descendents of northern and western European settlers—the only people worthy of being called “American.”

Nativists always seem to have felt that they were the only “real” Americans; in fact, they dismissed indigenous groups, like so many others, as inferiors. Encyclopedia of Race and Racism

Xenophobia: Xenophobia causes individuals to believe that foreign people are somehow going to disrupt the normal way of life for the majority population. Hence, people have an intense avoidance reaction. People with xenophobia often display anger, fear, and bigotry. Extreme levels of these attitudes can lead to innocent people being victimized, both emotionally and physically. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Nationality & Nativism