Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. It is the strong dislike of the customs, dress, etc. of people who are culturally different from oneself. Xenophobia and nationalism can be seen as a reaction to the rise of globalization. Learning a foreign language can help to overcome xenophobia.
Examples of xenophobia include acts of discrimination and violence against refugees and even those immigrating for other reasons. Xenophobia has been linked to hostility towards people of different backgrounds, decreased social and economic opportunities for outgroups.
The most obvious motives advanced for the socio-economic causes of xenophobia are unemployment, poverty and inadequate or lack of service delivery which are mostly politically attributed.
Xenophobia vs Racism
Xenophobia is the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, whereas racism has a broader meaning set including “a belief that racial differences produce the inherent superiority of a particular race.”
Xenophobia vs Nationalism
As nouns the difference between xenophobia and nationalism is that xenophobia is a fear of strangers or foreigners while nationalism is patriotism; the idea of supporting one’s country and culture.
Although they are all similar, they are different enough that it is possible for one to be both xenophobic and racist or xenophobic and nationalist.
“Why do elites hate the poor? It’s xenophobia. They don’t know any poor people – except their off-the-books Brazilian nanny and illegal immigrant cleaning lady from Upper Revolta who don’t speak English.”
– P. J. O’Rourke
Xenophobia & Pandemics
Governments should take urgent steps to prevent racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic while prosecuting racial attacks against Asians and people of Asian descent, HRW says.
The UN says that “the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering” and urged governments to “act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.”
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
– Bertrand Russell
Yet Another Phobia
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary and – in an ironic twist – is the name for a fear of long words.