Saturday, September 02, 2006

Xenophobia and Labelling, the source of all wars

We are quick to judge, fear and even hate the unknown. We may not admit it, but we are all plagued with xenophobic tendencies. Psychology Today

From xen~o~pho~bi~a
–noun an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.

From Wikipedia: Xenophobia denotes a phobic attitude toward strangers or of the unknown. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning "foreigner," "stranger," and φόβος (phobos), meaning "fear." The term is typically used to describe fear or dislike of foreigners or in general of people different from one's self.

Despite our better nature, it seems, fear of foreigners or other strange-seeming people comes out when we are under stress. That fear, known as xenophobia, seems almost hardwired into the human psyche.


Researchers are discovering the extent to which xenophobia can be easily — even arbitrarily — turned on. In just hours, we can be conditioned to fear or discriminate against those who differ from ourselves by characteristics as superficial as eye color.
The above quotes are taken from this article - Psychology Today magazine, it explains how xenophobia can be easily triggered among two groups and we are not just talking about racism or sexism... we see this in daily life, i.e. accountants vs graphic designer...

I recommend this article, it provides good examples, factual experiments and a very good and elaborate explanation of xenophobia.

How is Xenophibia related to Labelling?
Labelling itself is not "bad", because if I label poison as poison, I prevent myself from drinking it, thus from dying! However, Labelling combined with xenophobia, it becomes... Bad!.

During this war, I have seen throughout reading many blogs, and some online news websites that allow comments, how "
stereotype" exists severely among people. And I admit I stereotype as well, and I always work on realising that my judgement is just based on fear of what I don't know, and try to come up with judgement that is based on more rational analysis amd facts.

Do we all try reconsidering our judgments? How often do we make an effort not to stereotype? not to judge based on a certain label? How much do we ignore about the other? And how xenophobic are we?


  1. I just stumbled onto this blog a few days ago and wanted to tell you that I appreciate the work you're doing. I enjoy coming here and getting your perspective.

  2. Thanks a lot chris :) for your encouraging comment!

  3. Xenophobia denotes a phobic attitude toward strangers or of the unknown.

    In Lebanon's case, those we don't like are not strangers, and we know very well what they are.

  4. Well, actually xenophobia can be developed even among people who know each other if one criteria is used that differs one group from another and this is when they get the illusion that MAYBE the other is hiding something.

    But still the point you raised is very good. Sadly!