Since its founding, the United States of America has constantly struggled to define its identity and to classify who belongs and who are the ostracized. From the first days of the republic, African Americans and Native Americans were not part of “We the People” and were denied full membership in the newly formed society, while white women, though included as members in the racial category, were denied equal rights and enfranchisement under the Constitution.
The structural exclusion and otherization was written into the DNA at the country’s foundation and continues to be the modus operandi utilized regularly to navigate and construct a national identity. Tracing U.S.’s history takes us through a long, windy and torturous road of otherization, violence and exclusion that affected every group that has made its way to the country’s shores: from Italians, Jews, Polish, Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans, Mexicans, Cubans, El Salvadorans and all the way up to the present-day Syrians, Afghans, Somalians, Nigerians, Yemenis and other Arab and Muslim immigrants and refugees. Consequently, otherization in good old U.S. of A. is as American as apple pie!
The Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP) focuses on a systematic and empirical approach to the study of Islamophobia and its impact on Muslim communities. Today, Muslims in the U.S., parts of Europe, and around the world have been transformed into a demonized and feared global “other,” subjected to legal, social, and political discrimination.