What is Xenophobia?
The term xenophobia means the fear of that which is different, foreign, or strange. It is an irrational fear of strangers or of those who are different in some significant way, such as race, ethnicity, culture, politics, religion. Since people live together in families and communities where blood ties and cultural similarities foster cooperation, those who are considered `different‘ are accused of undermining the social solidarity. The very presence of people who are different in appearance, belief or language make the majority of people in a community wary of those who do not share a common interest in preserving the dominant group. Thus this leads to conflict and dreadful consequences.
The consequences of xenophobia can be very serious. It is important to do everything possible to overcome xenophobia on a social and widespread level in order to avoid problems that can stem from fear and prejudice.
There are two types of xenophobia. The first type is cultural in nature. Those who are xenophobic are so against the objects and elements of a culture, such as clothing or language. The second type of xenophobia is when an entire group is not considered part of the society. This can result, most often, from a mass immigration by one group into a country, though xenophobia can be present in relation to groups in the society who joined the community quite some time ago. This type of xenophobia can result in hostility and violence on a lower level up to greater persecution of the group through genocide.
Xenophobia, while it is irrational, does have causes that can be attributed to its acquisition. Poor experiences with others from certain groups, a generalised fear of that which is different, propaganda or exposure to implicit or explicit xenophobic behaviour by others can all result in acquiring xenophobia.
It is very important that society combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination and endorse tolerance, respect and mutual understanding in our societies. We must ensure that societies are not discriminatory and do not foster intolerance.
All authorities and organizations including schools must disseminate anti-xenophobia among pupils and citizens. Pupil should experience and learn about different cultures and traditions from various countries in order to respect and embrace them.