Why Do We Fear the Other?

The United States is a nation made up almost entirely of migrants or people who’s ancestors were migrants. Despite this fact, people today still fear the “other.” They fear people that who have a different appearance, a unique language, or who eat different foods.

Moshin Hamid displays this same concept in his novel Exit West. As Nadia and Saeed traveled through doors to new countries they were seen as the “other.” They were migrants from far away and many natives in the countries they traveled to did not like their presence. Hamid writes about “a mob that was intending to attack migrants” (109), and a “night of shattered glass” (135), both acts of violence that are aimed at migrants. Even Saeed, who experienced first hand what it felt like to be the other, had instances where he feared people who weren’t like him. At one point during their journey, Saeed went to Nadia and told her he wanted to move to another house “to be among our own kind” (153), because Saeed felt uncomfortable and scared living in the house filled with people from countries he wasn’t used to. Both the natives, Saeed, and the other migrants feared each other simply because of their differences.

I think in our world today much of this fear comes from how “the other” is portrayed, whether is be in the news, social media, or even in textbooks. We are often only shown negative aspects of other nations such as violence and war and this creates fear of the other.

4 thoughts on “Why Do We Fear the Other?

  1. AVERY M

    I agree that the media plays a big part in the way the “Other” is viewed. If we could only see things that painted others in a positive light, I think many people’s whole perspectives could change.



    I also agree that the media plays a huge role in how the “Other” is viewed. I do think that through social media and in textbooks that there is a lot of negativity that can persuade people’s perspectives on certain subjects.


  3. LUKE L

    Despite being a country of immigrants, once you become part of the new, American group. After being accepted people from other parts of the world become the new other.


  4. Aaron Q.

    I find it interesting how Saeed is almost determined to find people similar to him, similar religion and skin color, to spend his time with after heading through a few doors. In fact, late in the novel, Hamid describes the California area they were living in as split into groups, as people of similar identities and races liked to hang out with each other, even after the Earth was littered with doors that made separation nearly impossible.
    Also, on the topic of the news, I think their portrayal of domestic opinions are important as well. Media outlets love to have on “both sides of the argument”, where conservatives give takes representing borderline propaganda for the purpose of stirring up fear among people who already have prejudice against immigrants. The notion that immigration makes the country less safe goes a really long way and means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s not true, and refusing to help humans escape terrible violence isn’t safe, and pretending that immigration isn’t solely beneficial to the economy is strange, but it’s a powerful notion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s