Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xenophobic

Welcome to the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

This year, I’m focusing on two themes:  Emotions and grammar,
depending on which letter we’re on each day.

Today’s an emotion day!


X is for Xenophobic:  Unreasonably fearful of or hating anyone or anything foreign; irrationally fearful of that which is strange; intolerant, prejudice

Oy—X!  What to do for X.  There are no grammar topics for X, and xenophobia is the only emotion word I could think of.  I’ve never had to deal with it myself in any of my own writing, but after last week’s bombings during the 2013 Boston Marathon and the revelations since, I thought it relevant.

Wikipedia says “Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity.

I think this can be applied to both the young terrorists as well as those in this country who automatically jumped to conclusions about who they were and why they did what they did.  It’s about being conditioned, either by those we are closest to or by events that have somehow affected our lives and shaped our worldview.

Xenophobia is about mistrust and fear, anger and hatred, anxiety and worry.  It’s more than just being prejudiced.  It’s having a totally biased opinion of an entire culture and is a relatively new phenomena since the media has made our world a very small place. 

We are fully aware now, and that awareness sometimes makes us uncomfortable, because awareness does not mean we understand. In fact, this awareness makes many feel threatened because they do not understand; they do not agree with that culture’s way of life, whether that life is defined by race, creed, or sexuality. 

None of us like to think that we share or exhibit any form of xenophobia, but think about it for a moment.  When those bombings happened in Boston, did you instantly point to any one group as responsible?  Did you believe religion to be at the core?  Were you surprised by who the culprits really were and why they did it?  Truth is, it’s human nature to be suspicious of those we do not understand, because we are tribal and feel the most comfortable around those most like ourselves. 

I think what’s relevant here is what is reasonable, and while we all might exhibit tribal tendencies from time to time, we also know right from wrong, what is rational and what is unacceptable.  That’s the big difference between xenophobes and the rest of us.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Haven't used that one either. And when the bombing happened, my first thought was it was an American.

JeffO said...

What troubles me most is the way some people of a certain 'look' were harassed. One size does not fit all.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

We're practically doing the same thing today. I'm doing Xenophobia and it's great seeing someone else writing about this issue. And your image at the bottom is right. Everyone's a foreigner. You can't be a local everywhere.

Nick Wilford said...

Yeah, I think some of the reactions and presumptions as to who might be the culprit were absolutely disgusting.

mooderino said...

I think once you get out there and meet people you find there's good and bad in everyone. It's much easier to make assumptions from a distance.

Moody Writing

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

In light of what's going on in the world, this is a word that leaves me sad.

Carrie Butler said...

X was a difficult letter to use, wasn't it? We're almost to the end!

Heather M. Gardner said...

As soon as the bombing occured we were pretty sure it was a home-grown incident.

I was more upset that Texas was kind of ignored by the media.


Donna K. Weaver said...

Love the picture. lol