Resource Document on Xenophobia, Immigration, and Mental Health
Approved by the Joint Reference Committee, June 2010
Prepared by the Committee on Hispanic Psychiatrists While prejudice is defined as an evaluation (usually
negative) of a social group or individual that is significantly based on their group membership, xenophobia can
be considered a form of negative prejudice directed against a national or ethnic group. Historically, xenophobia
has been associated with various large scale destructive acts of violence between peoples or by persons
against other persons belonging to the “other” group. These include wars (from the Crusades to both World
Wars and beyond) and genocidal acts and disasters (such as against defenseless peoples such as the indigenous peoples of the Americas, African slaves across the Diaspora, Jews during the Inquisition and during World War II, Armenians (during World War I), Gypsies (during World War II), and, in the last 20 years, Hutu tribesmen in Rwanda, Muslims in the Balkans, Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, and Saharan Africans in Dharfour and Sudan.