The Nature of Xenophobia


Although it’s stupid to deny that our society has progressed throughout centuries, there are still a lot of vices that we need to get rid of. Sexism, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, chauvinism are just some of the items in the beginning of the big list. All of them undoubtedly have a negative influence on our society and hold our species back in terms of moral revolution.  However, there’s one term which includes many of the above-mentioned – Xenophobia.

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Definition of Xenophobia

While we hear about racism, sexism, and homophobia on a daily basis, the word xenophobia isn’t that popular. So what is it? Basically, it’s dislike, intolerance, or hatred to something or something unfamiliar. It’s inconceivable, incomprehensible, and therefore hostile and dangerous attitude in regards to the unknown. It can be expressed as intolerance to certain religion, social group or nationality. Sometimes it can be referred as compulsive fear of other people that takes a form of phobia.

Reading that, you might have thought that probably all people on Earth are more or less xenophobic. While we can’t say that all people are like this, it’s evident that most of the people are to some extend xenophobic. 99% of us tend to express fear or hostility to something that they don’t know because that which we call the unknown has been misunderstood for thousands of years. People just don’t like things they don’t understand.

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On the level of one person xenophobia is not that dangerous, but on the collective level it can turn into such dangerous diseases as genocide or Nazism. Therefore, xenophobia should be taken seriously if we want to abstain from committing the horrible mistakes of the past.

Xenophobia can be similar to chauvinism. Authors of fiction literature often use this term to describe hatred or fear that inhabitants of one planet can feel towards the inhabitants of the other planet. Collective unknown can also easily fit into this concept.

Xenophobia can be compared to a snowball because what begins with a little ball can be easily turned into a gigantic round white mass. Similarly to this, prejudices of a small group of people can affect others and turn into a huge disease of collective consciousness. This makes former fighters for freedom forget their ideals and rebel against those whom they have defended, just because the world turned upside down and they haven’t noticed it. Xenophobia can truly turn people into wild creature devoid of basic ethics and moral values.

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Sociologists suggest that the fear of the unknown, which is inherent to all human beings, is the basis of xenophobia. Even if they’re right, human nature has changed throughout the course of evolution and it will change further in the direction that we choose. If we choose love, compassion and goodwill over hatred, fear and animosity, we will prepare bright future not just for ourselves, but for generations to come. We can do it, and in order for it to work, this choice should be made by each of us.

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