Xenophobia And Extraterrestrial Life

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In late August, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life Institute) revealed news of a peculiar signal found 94 light years away from Earth. SETI had hoped that this would be a crucial piece of evidence that revealed the presence of extraterrestrial life. However, only a few weeks after the initial announcement, the signal was debunked to be no more than an interference from a military satellite. While many scientists were disappointed by the news, it perhaps was the most favorable outcome of the situation. A prominent physicist, Stephen Hawking, theorized that with any interaction between Earth and extraterrestrial life, “…the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn 't turn out very well for the American Indians.” …show more content…
In this case, it should be noted how the word “migrant” has been made almost synonymous with the word “alien.” According to Hussein Solomon and Hitomi Kosaka’s article, Xenophobia in South Africa: Reflections, Narratives, and Recommendations, the 1937 Aliens Act was enacted in order to “exclude German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution from coming to South Africa, and has led to the term ‘alien’ becoming synonymous with ‘unwanted immigrant’” (15). As described in the article, the original meaning of alien implied ‘otherness’ (15), which is why the act purposefully used this word in order to demonstrate that the German Jews were different, and therefore, “unwanted.” This act has impacted the way the terms are used today, as “migrant” and “alien” have become interchangeable with each other, even though the latter has a drastically different second meaning in relation to “extraterrestrial lifeform”. Given the context behind the words, it is evident that there is a pre-existing connection drawn between xenophobia and the fear of

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