Parallels between racism and xenophobia

My topic is going to explore the paradox of racism during the Cold War Era and how it parallels to xenophobia after the attacks on 9/11, thus emphasizing the facade of false unity being portrayed by America. Both of these cases were paradoxical because as society repressed both African Americans and Muslim Americans ,respectively, the unity of those repressed grew therefore leading to more powerful movements surrounding their cause.

Research around racism towards African Americans tends to point toward the idea that society associated African Americans so strongly with communism and the sense of “other” because of the similarities within the movements. This thought was even furthered because some African American organizations were led by communist sympathizers such as the National Negro Congress and the Civil Rights Congress. However, Scholars studying the feelings of African Americans at the time argue that Civil Rights movements were fueled by a nationalistic unity that extended to both equality and the American agenda. One Civil Rights leader in Detroit was quoted saying “I fought in the last war and I would unhesitatingly take up arms against anybody that attacks this country. In the same manner I am not in the process of fighting discrimination against my people. I am fighting against un-American activities such as lynchings and the denial of vote”. This best puts the sentiment that rather than uniting for the “common person” with the Communist party, African Americans had pledged allegiance to American ideals, which under perfect circumstances meant equality in the opportunity for success for all. This idea is very much mirrored in those affected by Islamophobia, although scholarly research around it tends to differ on the structure. Some research conveys the idea that African Americans have already had their Civil Rights Movement and now it’s Muslim Americans turn. While that might not be completely accurate in being so final, it addresses the similarities of the formation of the movements and how they progressed based off the reaction of the public.


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