Student Blog: Eva Colon
April 13, 2017
Growing up in Puerto Rico, I use to join in the senseless arguments that our food is better than other Latin countries and that we invented the salsa dance. It was harmless, a solemn joke to irritate others. As I fall into world news and read, I spot the same patterns overtaking in today’s society. There is no wrongdoing to be proud and hold one’s country to high regard.
Moreover, there is a difference between patriotism and nationalism. Patriotism is “loyalty and devotion to a nation”.  Nationalism drags the same definition, yet adds “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests to those of other nations”.  We are seeing leaders emerge and promote their world vision that may fall into the definition of nationalism. We no longer are seeing the term “globalization” be used. Instead, attitudes exhibiting xenophobia and isolationism are thriving in today’s societies.
In recent years, the rise of nationalism has produced a reaction like that of the Red Scare (hysteria over the potential rise of communism in the US) in the 1950s.  Due to the flourishment of radical terrorism, countries are appealing to the frighten voices, closing their doors to immigration and striving to maintain their definition of national identity. Such things we do not only see in the United States, but worldwide. As their elections grow nearer, France has a highly nationalist far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, stepping closer to presidency according to the first polls. Brexit (UK’s vote for withdrawal of the European Union) continues to cause sentiments of uncertainty towards the future. Holland’s candidate, Geert Wilders, highly stands for anti-immigration and anti-Islam.
Could it be that we are experiencing another Red Scare worldwide or is nationalism becoming the status quo to improve a country or regaining a sense of power?
Separation of countries seems like the ultimate gain of power because each executes actions in their best interest. There is no “we”, there is only “I”. Others may even argue that current issues are to blame on internationalism. Should we embrace separateness and only promote our way of living? Although the question is relatively complex, these types of attitudes cause clashes between citizens, moderate versus extreme. We are seeing more division pertaining to culture, birthplace, and even political views. I cannot help, but ask myself if this is the right mindset to uphold.
Personally, I embrace internationalism –the cooperation among nations. There is a beauty to learning about other regions around the globe as similarities and differences can be found. Down to aspects like food and lifestyle, each country has a uniqueness that should not be dismissed, hence the exhilaration of travelling.
But, aren’t we all homo sapiens in the end? Although it is a truth, the history of humanity has not behaved in such a way. It has been and continues to be the ultimate struggle in today’s world. Could it be that nationalistic attitudes are taught subtly or ingrained into our persona?