Xenophobia – an Overview

Xenophobia, also known as fear of strangers, is a broad term that describes one being afraid of someone who is different from them. For example, being hostile toward outsiders, who are not of the same country, or not the same raceas as you, is often a reaction to fear. It typically involves the belief that there is a conflict between an individual’s ingroup and an outgroup.

Xenophobia is often mistaken to be other prejudice such as racism and homophobia, but there are important distinctions. The differences between xenophobia and other forms of prejudice such as racism [1] and homophobia [2] are that the latter prejudices are based on discrimination about specific characteristics of an individual. While xenophobia is usually rooted in the perception that members of the outgroups are foreign to the ingroup community.

Xenophobia obviously isn’t a good trait. It is still being debated if it qualifies as a legitimate mental disorder. Xenophobia is also associated with large-scale acts of destruction and violence against groups of people.

Characteristics of One Who Has Xenophobia

There are several ways to express xenophobia. There are certain signs that signify that one is xenophobic, some of which includes:

  • Being so particular about avoiding particular places.
  • Feeling uncomfortable being around people who fall into different group.
  • Not wanting to have anything to do with people solely due to skin color, mode of dress, country they’re from, or other external factors.
  • Having difficulty respecting a supervisor or relating well with your teammate who does not fall into the same racial, religious, or cultural group.

Even though the term describe fear, most people who are xenophobic do not have a true phobia. Instead they are people who discriminate against no one but only foreigners and immigrants. People who express xenophobia typically believes that their culture, nation, or even preference is superior and want to keep people who think otherwise outside of their community. These actions, especially when it is common with the larger masses, can engage in actions that are detrimental to those who are perceived as outsiders.

Xenophobia can further be divided into two main group: