It is generally agreed that most early cases of xenophobia used to arise due to traumatic experiences. However, recent cases seem to be coming out of internal predispositions due to heredity or genetics, combined with a skewed environment.
Japanese Internment Camps: A fear that the people of Japanese descent living in the United States would side with the Japanese forces during World War 2 led to a mass internment of around 120,000 people, despite being American citizens. This act came out of racist and xenophobic tendencies among the whites of the west coast. Many of the internees had a hard time resettling into their regular lives after they were released, because they were still viewed with suspicion by other Americans. A lot of such Japanese origin people gave up their citizenship due to these traumatic experiences.
Other examples include the poor treatment of Chinese miners in America during the 1800s, who were not allowed to testify against white men in cases of attacks and murders. This tendency continued well into the 1980s, because Asian-American citizens were not considered to be ‘real Americans’. Even today, Muslim and Middle Eastern people are discriminated against due to the xenophobic tendencies that re-emerged after the 9/11 attacks. Civil rights activists like to point out that most Americans are immigrants or have descended from immigrants, and this is a vital part of the nation’s history, with nothing to be afraid of.
Racial Tendencies: Another example which showed the xenophobic tendencies of early Europeans was when humans from Africa, Philippines, and various tribes around the world were captured and displayed in human zoos, sometimes caged with exotic animals. Nowadays too, xenophobia is prevalent among the populace of many European countries, where anti-Muslim and anti-Jew sentiment runs rampant. This can be seen due to the xenophobic policies that parties have been turning towards to win votes in elections.
The Rape of Nanking: This sentiment was widely seen when the Japanese invaded China during the Second World War. The Rape of Nanking saw the deaths, torture, rapes of thousands of Chinese people, including women and babies.
Kanto Earthquake: In 1923, a large number of Koreans were imprisoned or killed after the Kanto Earthquake due to suspicions that the Koreans had poisoned the water supply. Although xenophobia has somewhat lessened in recent times, problems still exist, because laws regarding ethnic matters are of low-priority in the legislative process even today.
Against Immigrants: In fact, as recent as 2007, surveys showed that around 87% of the people considered immigrants to be the cause of crime rise in the country, despite the absence of any such evidence, and that foreigners were mistreated even by the police due to such xenophobic attitudes. Most of the victims of such attacks and riots were either from Malawi, Zimbabwe, or Mozambique. Recently, in 2013-2014, Somali people have been attacked and killed in and around Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, which was condemned from all quarters.
- The Caste System in India is a good example of xenophobia, where people of the higher castes fear and shun those of lower casts, which hurts the lower caste population adversely on a daily basis, despite legislations being passed by the government.
- The recent genocide in Rwanda by the majority the population of the Hutus, on the minority Tutsis, in an attempt of ethnic cleansing, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, and the rape of thousands of Tutsi women and children.
- The spate of hate attacks on Indians in 2009 in Australia made headlines for a long period of time.
- The war in Yugoslavia, between 1991 and 1995, led to several deaths of Serbs, Bosniaks, Croats, and Slovenes, which started due to xenophobic ideologies.