Nativism may refer to a political ideology or a philosophical and psychological theory.

As a political ideology, nativism is the fear or dislike towards immigrants. It is a negative reaction of earlier inhabitants to individuals who are not “native” to that place. It also refers to policies which favor the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants and the practice of preserving indigenous culture. For instance, in the 1930s, half a million Americans with Mexican descent were deported because they were blamed for the Great Depression.

As a philosophical and psychological theory, nativism pertains to the belief that innate ideas exist. It proposes that our minds already had knowledge when we were born. For instance, some nativists think that preferences such as color, food, and gender are hard wired.

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