This came in from a loyal reader the other day:

I’m learning about terms new to me all the time.  Today I read about  nativism.  This is the policy of or predisposition toward protecting the interests of native-born over foreign-born.   In reading I found that the Left uses this term to describe the Right, such as Trump’s desire to have a travel ban or build a wall.  I’m not sure what group they placed me in today, but I might have some national or Texan nativism.

I was thinking about human’s long history of protecting native born.  Then I thought about El Paso specifically.  One of the first questions I get from a native of El Paso is, “Where are you from?”  When I state an area of town, they say, “No, I mean where were you born?”.  A native of El Paso frequently recalls the high school he attended when answering.  I think El Paso has a strong nativism predisposition.  No value judgement here; I think it just is.  Most people are still very friendly to me even though I’m not a native.
Unfortunately, I now know about another ‘…ism’ and way to group people.  I wish to not be classified and grouped.  I am me.
The Wizard

8 Responses to Nativism

  1. I think your friend, the wizard, is transposing ethnocentricism and this ‘new’ term.


  2. abandon hope says:

    It is true that Pasenos prefer people born or raised here to anyone who moves here, at least in elections. All a politician has to say is they were born here or raised here and s/he automatically goes to the front of the line. Example: In the 2017 District 2 City Council election, the incumbent’s main talking point was that his opponent recently moved to El Paso and wasn’t born here. Is that smart? Of course not. It is a provincial way of thinking. Any city or organization is made stronger by people from outside.


  3. Benevelous says:

    na·tiv·ism ˈnādəˌvizəm/Submit


    1. the theory or doctrine that concepts, mental capacities, and mental structures are innate rather than acquired or learned.

    2. the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants.

    We will ignore the first definition of this word. As it is used to claim that a person’s basic properties of mind like intelligence is dependent upon your race and ethnicity. This stupid thought has been debunked so often and so completely that it deserves no further treatment.

    More recently however, this term is mostly used to describe a more general policy at the nation state level of thought and deed.

    Currently, the second definition of Nativism is a growing movement throughout the United States and a number of European nations to favor policies and proceedures that benefit their actual citizens over those that seem to favor citizens of other countries (especially to those who came to these countries by bypassing lawful proceedures, ie., illegally or as refugees).

    Applying it to El Paso is a bit non-sensical as El Paso is, for all practical purposes, an undeclared sanctuary city. Except for San Diego, California (and possibly a number of other California cities now), no other city in the nation has more foreign nationals living, working, and attending school within their boundries. I don’t know what the relationship between Tiajuana and San Diego is. But, I find it hard to imagine two separate cities closer than El Paso and Juarez. The flow of people between the two is free and open and without much restriction.

    I could be quite wrong; but, I am finding it hard to come up with El Paso City or County policies meant to directly benefit citizens of the US purposefully excluding citizens of any other country, It would be interesting if others could come up with such policies IF they do indeed exist.

    I rather think that people born here are friendly to those of us born elsewhere because the people here are generally very friendly and nice to others.

    As to those questions you hear, “Where were you born”… THAT is in no way exclusive to El Paso! Travel to the northeast (Atlanic Seaboard… NOT up Dyer street!). And, you will certainly see what I mean!

    Sorry, Mr. Wizard. PLEASE don’t be angry! I didn’t mean to “rain down” on your use of the term, “Nativism”. That is NOT my intent!!!

    You are a loyal reader and I have seen numerous posts you have offered and I find I agree with you often. I appreciate you contributing to the discussions here!

    But, language is very important to me and I have personal difficulties in letting some uses of words go by without clarification. So, if you want to call me Miss Grammar / Usage Police, or a female version of Sheldon Cooper (without the genious IQ and Astrophysics degree) I will understand.

    Just trying to provide a better understanding of the term you used for our readers.

    – Benevelous


  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s easy to get down in the weeds and lose the whole point of a comment. Folks that want to come here illegally scream nativism (along with racism and ethnocentrism) when their bad behavior is called out. And it is bad behavior. All countries have immigration laws. No one screams nativism when Mexico enforces its immigration laws. No one screams ethnocentrism when bilingual folks of Hispanic heritage use Spanish language requirements to limit job applicants to Hispanic Spanish speakers. Some of us are a little frustrated with the societal double standards we continually see both in left wing politics and here in El Paso. What made America great was a diverse immigrant pool wanting to be Americans. What is weakening it is a disregard for the rule of law and financial immigrants who have no desire to become Americans—instead they want to remake the country into the country they fled. And yes, I realize the good folks from the South also have a problem with our country’s use of the term American. But that is an entirely different topic.


  5. Why hate America and Americans? says:

    Is the author proposing that people should prefer “foreign” persons to “native” persons, or just give them “equal weight” when considering issues of trust and inclusion?

    I think the author is really using labeling to imply that being more comfortable with someone who grew up in the same environment as you is somehow racist or xenophobic. This whole diversity-at-all costs push is silly and hypocritical. First, not everyone is the same. Send a gay group to Mecca and see what happens. The whole world is different and not even a lot of it is nice. To infer that because we are suspicious of things or people who are different than we are is ridiculous. Who gives their bank account information to people they just met? Nobody, but many claim modern society demands we should date and marry people without reservation and regard to their race, sex, gender, former gender, mental gender, actual sexual organs, etc. And if we question their reasoning we are racist, sexist, transphobic,etc.

    I know that a Texan shares commonality with me, we may not see eye to eye on every point, but we probably would not be diametrically opposed on any key issue. Screw you if you want to label me as whatever the hate flavor is this week for not trusting someone that I don’t know anything about.

    The most hateful people in our society spend their every waking moment deciding who in society is committing “wrongs”, passing judgement and concocting “solutions”. Robespierre did this and look where that got him. The followers of this form of activism are all hateful and will eventually turn on itself. This social justice reign of terror will end at some point, and I hope it ends badly for the perpetrators and all followers of the Cult of Social Justice.

    Hating people you disagree with is a bad character trait. Labeling people you disagree with and trying to make everyone else hate them too is evil.


    • Casual Observer says:

      You wrote:

      “Screw you if you want to label me as whatever the hate flavor is this week for not trusting someone.”

      followed by:

      “I hope it ends badly for the perpetrators and all followers of the Cult of Social Justice”

      followed by:

      “Hating people you disagree with is a bad character trait. Labeling people you disagree with and trying to make everyone else hate them too is evil.”

      I will leave it at that.


  6. Augustus Snodgrass says:

    “El Paso has a strong Nativism predisposition…”? I would Strongly disagree. 99% of the people I’ve encountered have always asked the “What high school did you go to?” question. It is usually a reference of who one might know, a family member or friend or a point of reference as to what part of town one grew up in.

    I have found the “Where are you from”? Question VERY much in other parts of Texas, especially the Panhandle, North Texas and East Texas. Especially in Vidor, TX which is the home of the KKK in Texas. That is one part of Texas where you don’t want to be caught in at night.

    Also, having traveled much for a Fortune 200 Corporation for 30 years, I have found this Question in MANY parts of the country. Especially the East Coast, The Deep South and rural parts of Pennsylvania, the upper portions of Michigan and heck, even South Boston.

    Your reader must have lead a cloistered life, sheltered, or has not traveled much. I find El Pasoan’s extraordinarily friendly, and especially if one finds them in the city I live in.


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