Lecturer essay

TheSocial Injustice that is Xenophobia

Therecent spate of xenophobic attacks has seen the media being labeledas a driver behind these attacks (Olowu 15). This is however not tosay that these attacks are purely a creation of the digital mediaera. These forms of attacks have been in existence throughout theperiod, but the onslaught of the digital media has accelerated theproblem. The recent times has witnessed more and more events of onerace rising against one another as a result of hate messages beingpropagated through the digital media (Sunderland et al. 45). This isa grave concern to the peace and stability the world has alwaysenjoyed and requires immediate attention to be addressed so as toinstall order. The public needs to take collective responsibility forfinding amicable solutions to this menacing problem. This paper willdraw its focus on how the media has exacerbated the problem andsuggest practical ways on how to alleviate this form of socialinjustice from the public domain. Additionally, the paper willexpound on probable suggestions to include logical ways to solve theproblems of xenophobia.


Withpolitical upheavals, especially in most African countries, becominginherent, many people have fled their troubled countries to seek newbeginnings in other parts of the world that seem to enjoy the elusivepeace (Jessie 107). The immigrant situation has become a livingreality one which no one can run away from. The downside of thestory is the hostility that these immigrants have had to endure inhost countries that back in their minds were supposed to be safehavens to keep their thoughts far away from the situation back athome. To put this into perspective, as recent as a year ago, SouthAfrica took the world by storm owing to the xenophobic attacks thatwere leveled against immigrants living in South Africa (Zondi 54). Atthe center of these attacks are the digital media, which is used tospread the agenda of the masterminds of movements against people theyterm as foreigners. The violent attacks against foreign nationals area social injustice in all senses of the word.

Xenophobiais a social injustice because the foreigners are subjected to someills by the by citizens of the host country. From discrimination,physical attacks, exploitation through cheap labor other forms ofhostility, xenophobia has made immigrants more insecure than safe(Tufekei 11). It appears that immigrants live at the mercies of thehost country nationals. Xenophobic attacks against immigrants havebeen reported since 1994. Using South Africa as a case study, manyscholars have explained the major causes of this form of social ill.

Althoughmany theorists believe pressure against limited resources such asemployment and housing is the primary driving factor of theseattacks, still a majority others believe the digital media is at thecenter of everything. South Africans have been made to think of theschool of thought that if one job is given to a foreign nation, thereis a consequence of one South African becoming unemployed (Sunderlandet al. 67). Of course, this is stereotype thinking that at best lacksmoral founding, but it has been used in movements that are againstforeign national to drive their agenda against the helplessimmigrants.

Thereis an urgent need to put an end to the atrocities depicted in thesense of xenophobic attacks. Demonizing foreign nationals workagainst the fulfillment of social justice principle. A step towardsaddressing this concern is everyone acknowledging that it is indeed asocial justice issue. Social justice in all its prudence can never beselective. This is to say that social justice should not speak forone group of individuals and at the same time speak to the other.Much as the digital media is not the cause of xenophobia but more ofa vessel used to spread the agenda behind these attacks, in the sameway, it has been used to instigate the evil plan it can be harnessedpositively to stop these attacks (Olowu 23). Let`s now carefullyexamine the alternative ways of dealing with xenophobic attacks.

Digitalmedia can be used to create online platforms for movements to voicetheir concerns. To get their messages to their intended audience, theorganizers can harness the various forms of the digital apparatus(Von &amp Kirsten 27) masterfully. People should become moreoutspoken about xenophobia in public online forums. Rather thanfragmenting important messages about this form of social injustice,the public can collectively become more involved and speak againstit. People should not be silent about any crime they have witnessedhappen or those that have happened to them.

Allsocial injustices are in one way, or another interconnected andxenophobia is no exception. By openly speaking about this injustice,more and more people will get behind the message and help spread the‘one people` agenda (Von &amp Kirsten 34). Slogans such as &quotAsocial injustice to one is a social injustice to all&quot can serveto unite the people against xenophobia in public online forums. Also,the public should also join and seek to raise funds that will supportmedia programs that are geared towards the promotion of the spirit oftolerance and mutual understanding among communities.

Toaddress xenophobia, the public, and all involved stakeholders shouldstop denying that indeed, xenophobia exists and works towards findinglasting solutions to this injustice (Zondi 19). It follows that ifthe problem is not acknowledged, there will be no appropriatemeasures positioned well to contain the problem. Denial by stateorgans also makes the work of civil society organizations nearimpossible because their efforts will be bound to not achievinganything significant.


Acceptanceis the first step towards success against xenophobia. In allavailable forums, the public should speak about this vice andencourage one another to desist from it because it endangers theprinciple of peaceful co-existence among individuals (Monahan 167).The public can also protect immigrants from this kind of attacks bypushing government institutions to enact laws and legislation thatwill charge and prosecute perpetrators of this vice, and if they arefound guilty, they should be sentenced accordingly. The public canalso help by reaching out to those affected by racial violence andassist them. This will drive out fear and further improve reportingof xenophobia related incidents.

Here,the kind of xenophobia in question is racism – hostility againstpeople of color. The role of policing, which includes law and orderbreakdown establishes the kind of condition that isolates incidenceof hostility and violence against others. The implementation ofpolicing will require the police to act swiftly and precisely to anyincident imposed on a foreigner. The courts will be necessary toguard against implied impunity to make sure decisive and timelyconvictions are carried out (Tufekei 15). Additionally, it will becrucial that the police act in a manner that protects marginalizedand vulnerable immigrant communities for that matter, and ensure theydo not contribute to acts of xenophobia through profiling andengaging in unlawful arrests. In general, effect and precise policingare necessary for citizens of a particular country to feel safe,irrespective of their color, and to trust in the policies and therule of law put in place.

Thepublic should also work with civil society groups especially thechurch to vocal advocate against xenophobia. They can also exertpressure on governments to act on this social injustice by findinglasting solutions to the problem (Monahan 155). The public togetherwith these civic groups can help immigrants become integrated intothe community, and their concerns addressed through the involvementof all stakeholders (Jessie 119). They can also work to raiseawareness in the nation that the immigrants are not the real reasonbehind their socio-economic problems and not the solution.

Incountries where a particular type of xenophobia is experienced, therespective governments need so support the civil societies and theirleaderships. These civil societies play a significant role in thepeaceful existence of grassroots communities. For example, in theWestern Cape in 2009, Masiphumelele has exhibited that the act ofviolence can be stopped when communities take it upon themselves todisagree on divisive narratives. In township communities, everydayrealities are harsh.

Forexample, the South Africa`s Masiphumelele faces a rising influx offoreigners since it is public knowledge that foreigners are lesslikely to attack. This aspect put a lot of pressure on the social andeconomic reality checks of individuals living within the township(Crush 78). Here, it will be substantial for people living inoff-areas, institutions, and respective governments to understandthat foreigner influx into the already challenging conditionsaccelerate tensions. The policies put in place will demand thegovernment and the society as a whole to emphasize on understandingthe poor communities.

Again,they will require comprehending how their economy functions and themanner in which tensions build up to actively engage. Assisting thesecommunities to come up with representative structures will boost themto acquire community intelligence, and therefore, report any possibletensions before xenophobic attacks erupt. These policies will thusmake the local communities become the heart of all forms ofintervention strategies.

Violenceresulting from xenophobic outbreak originates in part from theemerging competition from other strategic sources. Every township orcommunities have their local economy. Crush (57) noted that it isimportant, therefore, to understand these particular communities indetail, which also come from class and hierarchical issues fromwithin the locality. The locally invested businesses more often thannot outperform businesses operated by the immigrants because ofbetter business know-how and practices. Therefore, it is essentialfor the government and individuals running successful companies toassist with up-skilling and handling business acumen from within thecommunity level to make sure locally owned businesses competefavorably (Diène 31). This will, thus, ensure there are noimplications from how the locals and foreigners co-exist with eachother in respect to business practices.

Thereis also a need for better understanding of immigration policy andintegration. Xenophobic attacks in a country such as South Africarequire a tight and clear immigration policies set in place. Thesepolicies, once they are set up, will address the issue ofintegration. As much as these countries experiencing hostility,racism, and xenophobic attacks, may not have camps to shelter thevictims and refugees (Tufekei 24). Again, these countries, forexample, South Africa, may also not have any forms of integratedpolicies to guarantee the victims are easily integrated into thesociety.

Itis, therefore, upon the communities to be aware of this and handle itdue to a possible influx of victim migrants. An important aspect oftreating xenophobic attacks due to immigration flow is not totolerate corruption in Home Affairs office. Here, comparativeexamples resulting from best immigration policies will need to befollowed. Additionally, the immigration policy should be sensitive toresources, economic, and constraints of urban planning.

Recommendationsto solve the xenophobic problem also come down to the individuallevel, where their roles should involve asking difficult questions.Having difficult conversations will link trauma and woundednesstopic, which will in turn call upon communities to engage indifficult conversations (Diène 29). Individuals are required toopenly and honestly talk about matters race, the White privilege,racism, xenophobia, and the white skin social capital. Individualsare encouraged to engage and communicate to each other, and not sharetheir opinions and sentiments on social platforms, especially on thetopic of xenophobia.

Throughthese recommendations, the public education level will rise, and theywill express their desire to co-exist in harmony and peacefultolerance. Without concerted public efforts, not much can be achievedfrom the calls against xenophobia. While not every individual is aracist, those who depict these tendencies cause discomfort and putthe lives of those who seek asylum from the problems their homecountry faces in ruin (Jessie 114). Xenophobia is a subject thatshould be introduced in schools so that people from their childhoodare educated on the vice. Among school going children, culturalexchanges should be encouraged. This can be done through teachingforeign languages in school. It is believed that most prejudicesoften stem from a lack of comprehension of foreign languages and sostudy of foreign languages can help address the problem ofunderstanding and encourage tolerance.

Thiswill go a long way into cutting off the problem from societies thatwere meant to remain rooted together in harmony. If people understandthe circumstances that cause the foreigners to flee from their homecountries to come and seek asylum in other nations, they willappreciate the need to tolerate immigrants in their country knowingvery well things beyond their control back at home caused them toleave. In the words of Atticus, a character in Harper Lee`s book ‘ToKill a Mockingbird`: &quotYou never really understand a person untilyou consider things from his point of view – until you climb intohis skin and walk around in it“ (Monahan 169). Taking time to thinkabout the welfare of one another before impulsively doing things canhelp achieve tolerance and even so, make the world a better place forall and sundry.

Therewill also be a need to strengthen detectability and response tooutbreaks or threats of xenophobic attacks and violence by ensuringintelligence is gathered from all manner of sources. This willinclude having a centralized national telephone number wherebyindividuals and communities can contact and report any outbreaks orthreats of xenophobia (Crush 39). The Visible Policing Unit, forexample, in the South African Police Force, will be required toestablish a warning system with the United Nations and civil societymembers to make sure there is an increase in timely and efficientresponses to possible future xenophobic attacks on coloredindividuals. This will require strength and support from across thecommunity with a clear directive. The directive will have to follow achain of command on the need to co-operate (Crush 41). Need to reviewsome of the lessons learned from past xenophobic attacks is requiredwith reasons to strengthen response capacity and response speed ifthere are attacks of the same magnitude.

Theyouths can also play a significant role in this course. By equippingthem with knowledge and other relevant materials, they teens canbecome a vital instrument in reaching out to people all over theworld so as to evangelize the agenda of tolerance for one another(Monahan 175). Through these campaigns, the messages for people tounite together in a common struggle towards the achievement of sharedsocietal values will be spread and reach many further enhancing thefight against racial intolerance.

Thereis a need publicly to condemn all possible threats and eventualoutbreaks of xenophobic attacks. The acknowledgment and condemnationshould be done by the government and its leaders of the respectivecountry involved at all appropriate levels. The policy that is theBill of Rights provides equal rights for the protection of the law inplace (Diène 21). The same strategy also emphasizes on the right tostay away from all forms of violence, either from private or publicsources irrespective of the individuals` legal status, nationality,or country. This will be essential since some xenophobic perpetratorsappear to think that they have the support of some political actors.Therefore, these threats and outbreaks should be condemned by allmeans.

Thereare not enough mechanisms in place within communities to study thecauses of conflicts and tension whenever they arise. The pressures,which could have been handled result in the social conflict that isxenophobia and other forms of attacks, for example, racists. In SouthAfrica, for example, evidence from the 2015 attacks showed that thelocal community leaders were the ones who orchestrated the attacks inthe affected areas. Here, the ability to sense violent threatscombined with proper interventions in handling conflicts amongdifferent races would assist to avoid conflicts (Diène 23).Managing conflicts will require the municipalities to have the rightto investigate different sources in areas where corruption is thoughtin the allocation of services, such as housing.

Anothercritical area as far as dealing with xenophobia is concernedreporting. The public should become more involved in this struggle byreporting incidences of racial attacks to relevant authorities.Various studies have revealed that the greatest impediment in thefight against xenophobia related attacks is under-reporting (Podmore81). Victims and witnesses of these attacks choose to remain silentabout them. Some victims do not report incidences of violenceperpetrated against them for the fear that they will be deported totheir unstable home countries (Zondi 12). The public can play a rolein encouraging the victims to report or by reporting on their behalfand seeking actions to be taken by offenders. Improved reporting willhelp the instruments of power bestowed with the responsibility ofensuring law and order deal with such cases even as they emerge andhelp root them out completely.

Inmost cases, the xenophobic attacks victims may not be able to accesssocial justice. The perpetrators are not held to account, which inturn results in an impunity perception for crimes against humanity.More often than not, xenophobic attack victims are threatened andintimidated into dropping charges considering they are afraid topress charges against these perpetrators.

Accountabilityshould be improved from the authors through fast-tracking such casesby the courts. This will, in turn, reduce the opportunities for othermembers of the community to lobby to have charges be dropped to allowplans to finding solutions and reintegration to commence (Crush 45).Additionally, many of the xenophobic victims lose their property andthe means to help them during the displacement process. The policyguidelines for the respective nations with potential attacks ofxenophobia identify the victims as a priority group. This willprovide restitution and compensation, yet the previous will rarelyapply to these victims.


Xenophobiais one of the forms of social injustices from way back that, inrecent times, have been exacerbated by the digital media. The mediahas been used by movements behind this social evil, which accordingto Monahan (178), was to spread their agenda and increase theincidences of intolerance among communities, a statement that theauthor firmly agreed upon. Those significantly affected most by thisform of attacks are the immigrants. With many countries experiencingpolitical upheavals especially in Africa and in the Middle East, theproblem of immigrants is a living reality that no one can dare runaway from (Sunderland et al. 56). Back in the minds of refugees, theyknow that they will find asylum in the countries they choose to runto.

However,this is not usually the case. They are sometimes subjected to variousforms of discrimination and violence leaving their lives in ruin. Thegood thing about this is that something can be done about it. Withdeliberate, concerted efforts from the public and other stakeholders,this problem can be phased out once and for all (Olowu). Suchmeasures will include but not limited to improved reporting ofviolence cases, education and awareness, supporting of the mediaprograms that promote peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding,working in liaison with civic groups and involving youths inambassador programs that seek to promote tolerance. These measureswill go a long way in helping address the problem of raciallyinstigated forms of violence such as xenophobia.


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