Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z Challenge: X - Xenophobia

Xenophobia

There are some really disturbing photos for this word if you do a Google image search. I'm not sharing them here, not because I don't care about what's wrong with the world, I do, but activism is not really the point of this blog.

Anyway, although it might seem similar, xenophobia is not quite like racism or bigotry. It's not about prejudice or hate, it's about fear. Japan was a very xenophobic society in the Meiji era. You might say the United States has a lot of xenophobes in it today.

xen·o·pho·bi·a [zen-uh-foh-bee-uh] n. intense and often irrational fear of foreigners or strangers, or of that which is foreign or strange

Synonyms: there are no direct synonyms, but some related words are: nationalism, isolationism, ethnocentrism, jingoism, racialism

Etymology: 1903, from xeno- "foreign, strange" + -phobia "fear" (see phobia). Earlier (c.1884) it meant "agoraphobia."

38 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh I'm so the anti-xenophobia brigade and look forward to when this word will be consigned to history books.

Take care
x

Huntress said...

Holy Cats! I thought the word meant *alien* foreigners. And yes, I do have a fear of the creature from the Black Lagoon or Alien movie showing up on my doorstep.

SA Larsenッ said...

I've seen this word a few times this morning. Interesting. Maybe there's some underlining message here. Hmm....

Ted Cross said...

I always thought racism was mainly about fear also. The hatred comes from the fear.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Xenophobia isn't hateful as it is just fearful.

Jack said...

If one were to take the image of Alien into account, then one would be utterly Xenophobic!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Until today, I'd never heard of the word. Sad that there is a fear like that. Sad yet is what the fear leads to.

farawayeyes said...

Like minds my friend, like minds. Try not to let that scare you.

Clarissa Draper said...

Sad, sad. This fear causes a lot of issues in America and around the world.

Zan Marie said...

A sad word that isn't the property of any one group. It's caused so many wars on this old world.

Slamdunk said...

This one gets a lot of play time in the news circles that i follow.

The Vikes did well yesterday--I hope you have a good weekend.

Dino said...

I commented on another blog about Xenophobia. I was going to use this for my X post but the memories of the violent xenophobic clashes in many of the townships here in South Africa a couple of years ago are still too fresh.

Good post though.

http://dpfinnie.com

Shannon Cyr said...

Great word choice, Matt! Have I told you, today, that you rock? :)

Cherie Reich said...

It's much better to be a xenophile than a xenophobe.

Bonnie said...

"Xenocide" was my book of the day! An interesting look at xenophobia from the "Ender's Game" series.

Happy final days of A to Z!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Hey, I wrote on the opposite side of this today!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I like xenophobia specifically as it relates to actual aliens, in sci-fi. In real life it just depresses the hell out of me

Joshua said...

I'm more of a xenophile (Francophile, if you want to get technical). Though I prefer to learn about cultures, etc from the comfort of my home. I suppose that means I have a touch of the xenophobia, eh?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Good choice Matt. As soon as I saw the first paragraph, I thought of Japan. There are still places both in the states and in the world that are xenophobic.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

S. L. Hennessy said...

I've been covering this topic a lot myself in relation to science fiction over the course of this blog fest. I think it's sad really, to fear one another for our differences.

Danielle B. said...

What a great word! Sad that society has such a fear of everything. Can't we all just get a long?!

D.G. Hudson said...

For some reason, this word reminded me of the Ender series by O.S. Card (was it called xenocide?)

Nice post, Matt!

Nancy Thompson said...

I think everyone has a fear of the unknown. I think it's when we let that fear rule & motivate our actions that is wrong.

When I first started reading your post, I thought it meant a fear of ET aliens! DOH!

Rusty Webb said...

Did that say that Xenophobia and Agoraphobia were synonyms prior to the 20th century? Now that's interesting.

Angela Brown said...

The next time you mention that the Google images for a word may show some "really disturbing photos", I'll just take your word for it. The curious person I am, yeah, I went straight on over and did a Google search. Suffice it to say I agree with you fully. Very disturbing.

I recall reading some historical facts regarding the ban of all foreigners, except the Dutch, during that period in Japan. And I think they were only allowed at one port for mercantile business only. I could be wrong about that and just have it in my head because of Samurai Champloo.

I suppose I have a slightly difficult time digesting the reasoning behind the xenophbia. But the definition mentions it can be irrational...so, so much for trying to make sense of it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

When I see this word I think of Orson Scott Card's Xenocide (which I hated).

Susan Oloier said...

I find the etymology of our language to be so captivating. I'm trying to teach my seven-year-old how to determine the meanings of words by breaking them apart. Doesn't always work, though. This is one of the words we demonstrated to show how to decipher meaning.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm gonna just say that I think the real fear here is the fear of change. Not the fear of the different thing in and of itself but the fear that it might bring change, because things that are different do always bring change.

Lynn Proctor said...

the word brings to mind a terribly sad time in our history--great post

Cassie Mae said...

This was not my X fear. I didn't even know this existed, lol.

Li said...

I have a form of this but it applies to foreign /strange food. Or maybe there's a specific phobia for that...

cleemckenzie said...

Ah yes. The others. The ones who don't look like we do. The ones who talk "funny." The ones who don't know those secret rules of behavior that the rest of us do. Indeed those foreign people need to be feared, distrusted, maybe hated? Good thing I'm not one of them, right?

Well, not until I travel.

Wonderful choice of X word.

@ami said...

I am afraid of xenophobes.

{ami}
http://sundrysumthins.wordpress.com/

A Quiet Corner said...

Not that you asked (LOL!!), I am just the opposite of a xenophobic!...:)JP

Rick Daley said...

Okay, I didn't know what this word meant, but now I do, and I wish it were limited to fiction. Our society has digressed on many levels in the past decade, and we have a fear not just of foreigners but of other Americans with slightly different political leanings. It's good to occasionally stop and point out some of the lesser features of human nature, because that's the first step in correcting the problems!

Sangita Kalarickal said...

Oh man! I wrote on Xenophobia too! But yours is much better!
I feel so depressed when I think about this. Sigh.
By the way I love your blog title!

http://skaypisms.blogspot.com/

maine character said...

I'm definitely a Xenaphile, though Gabrielle was far more my type.

M said...

WoW...I couldn't do my job if I were that "Y" word!