My watch list  


Look up xenophobia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Part of of articles on
General forms

Racism · Sexism · Ageism
Religious intolerance · Xenophobia

Specific forms

Ableism · Adultism · Biphobia · Classism
Elitism · Ephebiphobia · Gerontophobia
Heightism · Heterosexism · Homophobia
Lesbophobia · Lookism · Misandry
Misogyny · Pediaphobia · Sizeism


Slavery · Racial profiling · Lynching
Hate speech · Hate crime
Genocide (examples) · Ethnocide
Ethnic cleansing · Pogrom · Race war
Religious persecution · Gay bashing
Blood libel · Paternalism
Police brutality


Race / Religion / Sex segregation
Apartheid · Redlining · Internment

Emancipation · Civil rights
Desegregation · Integration
Equal opportunity

Affirmative action · Racial quota
Reservation (India) · Reparation
Forced busing
Employment equity (Canada)


Anti-miscegenation · Anti-immigration
Alien and Sedition Acts · Jim Crow laws
Black codes · Apartheid laws
Ketuanan Melayu · Nuremberg Laws

Anti-discrimination acts
Anti-discrimination law
14th Amendment · Crime of apartheid

Other forms

Nepotism · Cronyism · Colorism
Linguicism · Ethnocentrism · Triumphalism
Adultcentrism · Gynocentrism
Androcentrism · Economic

Related topics

Bigotry · Prejudice · Supremacism
Intolerance · Tolerance · Diversity
Multiculturalism · Oppression
Political correctness
Reverse discrimination · Eugenics
Racialism ·

Discrimination Portal

This box: view  talk  edit

Xenophobia is a fear or contempt of foreigners or strangers and people.[1] 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.



As with all phobias, a xenophobic person is aware of the fear, and therefore has to believe at some level that the target is in fact a foreigner. This arguably separates xenophobia from racism and ordinary prejudice in that someone of a different race does not necessarily have to be of a different nationality. In various contexts, the terms "xenophobia" and "racism" seem to be used interchangeably, though they have wholly different meanings (xenophobia being based on place of birth, racism being based on ancestry). For example: to dislike a black person from France because they are French is xenophobic, but to dislike them because they are black is racist.

For xenophobia there are two main objects of the phobia. The first is a population group present within a society that is not considered part of that society. Often they are recent immigrants, but xenophobia may be directed against a group which has been present for centuries. This form of xenophobia can elicit or facilitate hostile and violent reactions, such as mass expulsion of immigrants, or in the worst case, genocide.

The second form of xenophobia is primarily cultural, and the objects of the phobia are cultural elements which are considered alien. All cultures are subject to external influences, but cultural xenophobia is often narrowly directed, for instance at foreign loan words in a national language. It rarely leads to aggression against individual persons, but can result in political campaigns for cultural or linguistic purification. Isolationism, a general aversion of foreign affairs, is not accurately described as xenophobia. Additionally, in the world of science fiction, xenophobia may refer to a fear or hatred of extraterrestrial cultures or beings.

In history


From 1641 to 1853, Japan had a policy of exclusion of virtually all foreigners (not merely an avoidance of foreign relations), known as 'national closure', or sakoku. In the early 19th century, Mito scholars advocated jōi, the forceful expulsion of 'barbarians', though almost none existed there. By the middle of the 19th century, with outside pressure mounting, some Japanese scholars and leaders tied 'Western Learning' and 'Nativist Studies' (kokugaku) to a goal of nation building.[2] Nihonjinron, a widely popular type of nonfiction literature emerging in the second half of the 20th century, has been described as xenophobic,[3] though most of the works in the genre lack this element.

Currently, the only legal protection foreign citizens enjoy from xenophobic practices is Article 14 of the Constitution, which states: 'all of the people shall be equal under the law,and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic, or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin[...]'. Japan ratified the ICERD in 1995, but has failed to enact appropriate legislation as directed by Article 2b, simultaneously using 'freedom of expression' rights as a shield against the stipulations of Article 4a and b. The 2006 report by the UN Special Rapporteur for Racial Discrimination, Doudou Diène, was highly critical of current Japanese xenophobia and on-going discriminatory practices, which include difficulties in access to housing, accommodation (hotels) and other commercial establishments open to the public (spas, bars, night-clubs, restaurants and others) based on physical appearance and myth, and bullying at school of foreign-looking children.[4].

The Dominican Republic

Since the formation of the Dominican nation, it has been promoted by the government that Dominicans are racially, culturally and ideologically different than Haitians, and in order for the Dominican Nationality to survive, Haitian influence must be controlled or eliminated. The Dominican nation was born after the rebellion on February 27th, 1844 by a group of patriots against the brutal Haitian regime that invaded the side of the Island colonized by Spain. That is the reason of some form of antagonism between the two countries. But Dominicans in general do not even think that they are racially or even superior to Haitians.[5][6] In 1937, more than 50,000 Haitians were killed by Fascist Dictator Rafael Trujillo in an attempt to "whiten up" the country. [7]

According to an Amnesty International and The Human Rights Watch, physical attacks against Haitians have increased since 1992 and reports of the lynching of Haitians surfaced as late as 2006. But physical attacks on any individual are against the law in the Dominican Republic, and are prosecuted by the authorities. [8] Homes of suspected Haitians are sometimes burned to the ground and police roundups of "Haitian looking" people are conducted on a regular basis (This claim does not have documented facts to rely on). According to another New York Times report in 2004, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Haitians are denied birth certificates, medical care, education and social services because of their race and decendancy.[9] [10] [11] [12]


During the 2007 Swiss federal election, the right-wing populism Swiss People's Party gained 29% of the seats in parliament, the highest any party has achieved since World War I.[13] The party was accused of increasing racism and xenophobic sentiment by publishing a controversial poster during its campaign, showing a white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag. The poster was condemned by the United Nations.[14] During the campaign the party also proposed a change to the penal code to allow judges to deport foreigners guilty of serious crimes once they have served their sentence. If the criminal is under the age of 18, the proposed law allows the entire criminal's family to be deported as soon as sentence is passed.[15] If the bill passes into law, then it will be the first such law in Europe since the Sippenhaft law by the Nazis.[16] The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) had already reported in 2003 on certain xenophobic incidents in Switzerland, ranging from police discrimination and misbehaviour towards members of certain minority groups, to an intolerant climate within society toward certain groups, particularly Africans and asylum seekers.[17]


Residents in Taiwan of western ethnicity are often referred to in Min Nan as a dok a, the etymology of which, though often unknown to the speaker who may have no ill intent, is in fact 阿啄仔 "pointy (nose)". [18]

The Nationality Law of the Republic of China places impediments on many immigrant groups from obtaining citizenship.[19]


Any person in Thailand of a Caucasian appearance is often referred to as "farang", which some non-natives believe to be a slang word similar in context to "chink" or "nigger", or a dehumanising word such as "mongoloid", but is actually a shortened version of "français" the word for Frenchmen, who were amongst the first Europeans to make themselves known in the then Kingdon of Siam. The word is now 'context neutral', although arguably xenophobic or racist when used as a generalisation, and is used to refer to any unfamiliar person of European appearance. However, The epithets "kairk" and "negro", the usual terms used to refer to people of Middle-Eastern/South Asian and African origin respectively, are wholly derisory and commonly used, even within the educated classes.

There are no laws to prevent the use of these racial slurs, due in part to the nationalistic mindset of the Thai people, and the fact that the nature of the slur is not generally understood. Thailand's understanding of the issues of xenophobia is hindered by a strict hierarchical society, the presevation of which impedes and narrows the relevant social educations in favour of nationalism and insular unity.

The Thai national anthem (scored in 1932 by Peter Feit, son of a German immigrant and royal advisor for music to the Thai Court) is broadcast on loudspeakers twice per day throughout the country. It boasts of pride in the country's independence, and states that every Thai will give his or her last drop of blood to prevent a single inch of the country ever being ruled by an invader, which serves to support authority's desire to perpetuate the nationalistic mindset.

Thewphaingarm School, in Bangkok, recently found itself the focus of unwanted international attention after holding a nazi celebration day, with many of its students dressing up as nazi stormtroopers, donning the swastika, and giving the "zeig heil" salute.[20]

Sociobiological Explanation

The effects of xenophobia (dislike against the genetically dissimilar out-group and nepotistic favoritism towards the genetically similar in-group) are analyzed by many sociobiological researchers. Some see it as an innate biological response on the part of the evolved human organism in inter-group competition. In his famous book, The Ethnic Phenomenon, Pierre L. van den Berghe, anthropological professor of the University of Washington, discusses the concepts of kin selection, ethnic nepotism, and the biologically-rooted tendency of people that are more similar genetically to behave more generously toward each other. In Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, author James Waller argues that all human beings "have an innate, evolution-produced tendency to seek proximity to familiar faces because what is unfamiliar is probably dangerous and should be avoided. More than two hundred social psychological experiments have confirmed the intimate connection between familiarity and fondness. This universal human tendency is the foundation for the behavioral expressions of ethnocentrism and xenophobia" (Oxford University Press, USA, 2002, p. 156). Frank Salter, an ethological researcher of the Max Planck Institute, deals with similar "taboo" topics in his controversial book, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity and Humanity in An Age of Mass Migration; this work has been praised by well-known sociobiology innovator E.O. Wilson as "a fresh and deep contribution to the sociobiology of humans." Salter posits an "innate group-descent module" in the human mind to explain the universal occurrence of ethnic nepotism. In Salter's view, favoritism towards one's own ethnicity is an evolutionarily-based "objective" value and, from a political science perspective, Salter proposes a "universal nationalism", in which all planetary ethnic-based communities or nations have the right to preserve their own heritage and distinctiveness.

See also

  • Discrimination
  • Intercultural competence
  • Islamophobia
  • Nationalism
  • Nativism
  • Pauline Hanson
  • Racism
  • Daily Mail
  • Xenocide
  • Xenophily
  • Xenology
  • Xenophobe
  • Race and crime
  • Tribalism


  1. ^ Definition at
  2. ^ Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi, Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early-Modern Japan, Council on East-Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1986. ISBN 0674040376
  3. ^ Befu, Harumi, Hegemony of Homogeneity, Melbourne: Trans-Pacific Press, 2001.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ http://www.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Alexander H. Higgins. "Contradictions in Swiss Election". Retrieved on 2007-10-25. 
  14. ^ "Right-Wing People's Party Win Swiss Elections", Deutsche Welle, 22-10-2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  15. ^ Elaine Sciolino. "Far-right Swiss party divides nation on immigrant issue", International Herald Tribune, 7-10-2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-25. 
  16. ^ "Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness?", The Independent, 07-09-2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-25. 
  17. ^ European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (27-06-2003). "Third report on Switzerland". Press release. Retrieved on 2007-10-25.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Not allowed to be Taiwanese
  20. ^ Wiesenthal centre demands action against Thai school
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Xenophobia". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE