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Here's What Xenophobia Really Means in Light of Biden's Controversial Remark

Photo-REUTERS

US President Joe Biden has faced criticism after referring to India, Japan, Russia, and China as "xenophobic" nations while discussing the United States' stance on immigration during a Democratic Party fundraiser. This comment has sparked inquiries into the meaning of "xenophobia" and its implications. Xenophobia, by definition, entails a fear of or hostility towards individuals from different cultures or countries, often stemming from a lack of understanding or familiarity with those perceived as "outsiders". Such sentiments can breed discrimination and hinder societal cohesion by fostering divisions among people. 

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Biden's remarks came as he emphasized the pivotal role immigrants play in bolstering the US economy, attributing the nation's growth partly to its openness to immigration. He asserted that countries like China, Japan, Russia, and India were lagging economically due to their purported xenophobic attitudes, suggesting a reluctance to welcome immigrants. However, the White House has defended Biden's statement, characterizing it as a broader assertion highlighting the importance of immigrants in enhancing a nation's strength. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarified that Biden maintains strong diplomatic ties with India and Japan, underscoring his respect for these nations. She emphasized the President's commitment to addressing issues vital to the American populace, reaffirming the significance of the US as a nation of immigrants. Despite the controversy surrounding Biden's remarks, recent interactions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reflect ongoing efforts to strengthen international relations.

May 4, 2024 10:46 a.m. 9028

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