The other day I was sitting and thinking about the root causes of Xenophobia and despite having come up with the known reasons, I still couldn’t really find a meaningful reason that made sense to me. I suddenly remembered the Theory of Evolution; Natural Selection. Charles Darwin explained this theory to show how over-time genetics mutate and adapt, in cohesion with our environment. Therefore the specie that develops an advantage “survival instinct” passes it on to the offspring and so it goes. However, there shall always be that specie that develops slower and they are regarded in this case as inferior members. The theory then explains in such a case, that the inferior member eventually becomes extinct.
What do we know of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution?
- It involves inherited changes of growth and development of/in a population
- Parents pass their inherited genetic changes to offspring
- These changes effectively become common in a population
- In due time, the life of a specie changes drastically from what is eaten, how growth takes place, where and how to live etcetera
Causes of Xenophobia
It is said that Xenophobia initially started in parts of South Africa sometime around 2000-2008. This speaks more to the awareness of it in our generation than the origins of it. Even then, attacks were as gruesome as they are now in 2015. Time and time again on radio, TV, social networks and in newspapers various people share their thoughts on why South Africans feel the need to oppress immigrants. The Human Sciences Research Council found four main causes of Xenophobia:
- Competition for jobs, commodities and housing
- Selective grouping by affiliation
- Feelings of being more superior to other Africans
- A form of nationalism that excludes others
Let’s put this into perspective. Our advantage over the majority of other African countries is infrastructure. Yet even in this, we as a country are still faced with issues such as unemployment, poverty and inequality. We lack more in limited skilled human resources as a basis of our unemployment. Due to this, majority of South Africans remain with very little and thus feel the need to protect what they believe is rightfully theirs. Evidently, this includes jobs and township economy, the two main competitive areas “shared” with foreigners.
[Xenophobia + Evolution=Xenolution]
Think for example of the extinction of Dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It was not understood then why dinosaurs became extinct so briefly until the late nineteenth century. Reasons varied from climate change, to shifts of continents, and dinosaur wars. It was also a time when mammals were at odds within territory of dinosaurs and the scarcity of land, food, water and shelter was prime.
So on one side you have the dinosaurs (foreign nationals) and on the other you have mammals (South Africans). As changes like poverty, war, and political changes evolved over a period of time, the “dinosaurs”could not cope with adapting to these changes in their countries. Naturally, they would have migrated to areas that allowed some form of livelihood like South Africa. However this meant that they would have stepped into the “mammals” territory leaving them to become possessive over their land. The “mammals” were equipped enough to handle the changes ( unemployment, poverty and inequality) and the sudden appearance of those foreign species and so they tried to survive through fighting to keep the little that was left (xenophobia).
So what is the actual theory? Two words: Artificial Selection!
Artificial selection, really means species (humans) start to intentionally choose specific traits to use for such matters as reproduction (artificial insemination). Realistically the situation that we find ourselves in as South Africans, we are purposefully choosing with whom to share these presumed limited resources with. We are picking on the seemingly weaker specie to safe guard our so-called land. Ironically, the word phobia speaks to “the fear of” and the xeno is a reference to foreign, strange or guest. In other words, the so-called “weaker” specie is in hindsight, the threat. So therefore, the real difference between natural and artificial selection in comparison to Xenophobia is that the one occurs on the basis of natural occurrences and the other is imposed by humans.
Even in my thorough depiction of the issues surrounding Xenophobia, I was still led to one main piece of information that can’t be overlooked; it is a choice for our people to enforce such grievous ways of getting foreign nationals to return back to their home countries. No one else or nothing can be put to blame. #NoToXenophobia #WeAreOne