The perpetual foreigner stereotype is a racialized form of nativist xenophobia in which naturalized and even native-born citizens (including families which have lived in the country for generations) are perceived as foreign because they belong to minority groups. It has been particularly applied as a negative stereotype of Asian Americans, but it has also affected other minority groups who have been considered the "the other" and therefore legally unassimilable (either historically or socially). In personal interactions, it can take the form of an act of microaggression in which a member of a minority group may be asked, "Where are you from?", or it can take the form of an explicit act of aggression in which a member of a minority group may be told, "Go back to where you came from". Black Americans are often told "go back to Africa" as a racial insult, despite the fact that on average, they have a longer family history in the United States than white Americans do.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines workplace comments like "Go back where you came from" as a potentially illegal form of ethnic harassment. The message conveys a sense that the person is "not supposed to be there, or that it isn't their place," and it is often encountered when the minority person is "speaking out in predominantly white spaces".
Hate crimes, such as the murder of Vincent Chin, are described as the most brutal form of the perpetual foreigner syndrome.
Crimean Tatars are an indigenous people of Crimea and have clearly established pre-Golden Horde Scythian, Greek, and Goth roots, yet authorities and nativists long have treated them as perpetual foreigners. When Crimean Tatars forcibly exiled in the Stalin era attempted to return to Crimea before perestroika, they were frequently met with severe hostility by officials to took violent measures to keep them out, on orders to prevent them from returning to their native land. Meanwhile, Russian publications literally referred to deported Crimean Tatars returning to the places of their birth as foreigners.