Racism and Xenophobia (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Xenophobia is one of the main prejudices and includes suspicion, hatred, phobias and rejection of ethnic groups other than one’s own. Its social and cultural physiognomy is unknown. In the last decade of the twentieth century it manifested itself very aggressively in all societies worldwide and in places where different ethnic groups live among but are not mixed with the local communities.
Like racism, xenophobia is an ideology of rejection and exclusion of all cultural identities other than one’s own. It is different from racism in that it preaches cultural segregation and accepts foreigners and immigrants through their socio-cultural assimilation.
Xenophobia is based on historical, linguistic, religious and cultural prejudices, and uses nationalism to justify total and compulsory separation between different ethnic groups so that they do not to lose their individual identities. In addition, it combines these prejudices with economic, political and social power. It rejects and excludes immigrant foreigners insofar as they are seen as potential competitors for their countries’ subsistence resources.
In recent years, in most European countries, xenophobic acts have multiplied with painted walls, banners, brochures, speeches and campaigns and have even reached acts of violence, such as individual and collective aggression, arson, lynchings, killings and ethnic cleansing.
Sometimes the mass media emphasizes cultural differences and presents cultural customs and acts as strange and surprising in order to foster hostility between those who are physically different.
This is what drives xenophobia towards foreigners, whether Asian, African or Latin American to promote their exclusion and rejection.
Addendum: We have reached a new stage in human life and we do not know if it can lead to lasting peace or generate more violence.