by AEnigma – Brian Kent firstname.lastname@example.org
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell
Phobia is fear and xeno is from the Greek meaning strange or foreign. It is often defined as a hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers or of the politics or culture of strangers or fear and contempt of strangers or an unreasonable fear, distrust or hatred of strangers, foreigners or anything perceived as foreign or different.
Word is that xenophobia is on the rise.
This a serious subject and one that should be addressed swiftly and decisively in our increasingly connected world.
“It is important to catch xenophobia early on. If left untreated, this condition can have seriously detrimental effects on not only the sufferer but also the objects of his or her prejudice. Furthermore, the xenophobic is liable to pass along his or her highly generalized and ungrounded perceptions to impressionable children and family members.”- http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/library/xenophobia/
Xenophobia is often hand-in-hand with bigotry and while often aimed at recent immigrants or “others”, xenophobia is also directed against long-standing minority groups. At its extreme this can create mass expulsion or genocide of the smaller group.
Xenophobia is a natural human reaction and classification system, us vs. them, but outside of sporting events (and in some cases even sporting events), this is quite harmful.
“All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!”
― Rudyard Kipling
Xenophobia pits one culture against another. If you don’t think you have a degree of it, let me ask you these questions.
Do people outside of your own circles make you nervous?
Are you put on the defensive by large groups of other races or cultures where yours should be? Do they belong elsewhere?
Do you feel fear when bridging a cultural gap because you know you should?
And bravo for you if you do. We can overcome our prejudices and fears if we face them squarely, acknowledge them and move past them.
Do you react strongly to foreign words creeping into your language? Are you a “if they are here they should become like us” sort of person? Do you think they should speak the same? Adopt the predominate culture? Act the same?
Do you make generalizations about what other people are like and believe there is a basis in stereotypes?
Do you take pleasure in jokes that bash other cultures? Think for a moment – how many versions of the “How many “insert ethnic group” does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes do you know? Which ones do you enjoy most? Why?
Do you suffer from Islamophobia? Anti-Semitism? Do you have difficulty accepting people outside of your social circle because of religion, class, education, geography and so forth?
If you can answer “no” to all of these questions, you are remarkable and go out and lead people by your example. If you answer yes to any of these questions, and most of us do to at least one, ask yourself why and more importantly ask yourself what you can do to overcome it.
“Xenophobia, you should be more afraid of someone exactly like you” – Loesje