Since the beginning of the species, mankind hasn’t played well together. More than any other creatures on the planet, we seek the downfall of our own kind. We fight to the death over differences in skin hue, religion and geographic locations. For some reason, human beings refuse to accept anything that we deem to be different and the world’s greatest wars have been waged because of it. This xenophobia is one of humanity’s defining characteristics and most people are all too willing to perpetrate the stereotype. So who is a Xenophobic?
What is the Meaning of Xenophobic
Xenophobic is a huge word that expresses a dislike o fear of other cultures and religions. Race is sometimes a factor, but Xenophobia typically refers to cultural differences. One of the most well-known cases of Xenophobia occurred in the mid 1900’s in Asia. While Japanese and Chinese people are the same race, their countries and cultures are very different. This lead to a very bloody war which saw the smaller nation control the larger. From 1937-1945, Asia’s two most powerful countries settled their differences on the battlefield. Differences in culture, language and history sparked this war which eventually became a part of the second world war. However, Wold War II would become the scene for on of the most extreme cases of xenophobia that the world has ever known.
If there was an image to define xenophobic it would have to be that of Nazi Gemany’s Swastika. This former symbol of Indian peace soon came to signalize a level of intolerance the likes of which the world had never known. Adolf Hitler and his third Reich covered first Germany and then all of Europe in an effort to remove all the Jews from the continent. Hitler’s hatred of the Jews was stemmed from his extreme malice towards anything different. This legendary xenophobe sent his soldiers into the streets of Germany Austria, Poland and Belgium to remove a nation of people for having different religious beliefs. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t only Jews that the Nazis gathered in their concentration camps. They also gathered homosexuals Gypsies and the mentally ill in an attempt to purge Europe of all who were different. It may seem callus to dismiss such an appalling act as xenophobics, but that’s what the holocaust was. The meaning of xenophobe is literally someone who fears other cultures. However, this fear becomes a tainted hatred when evil leaders take advantage of people’s natural preference for things that are similar.
How Does Xenophobia Begin
As a species, human beings tend to foster a healthy amount of xenophobia in our hearts. One need look no further than the Olympics to see how much people prefer their own countries and cultures to those of other people. There’s intense competition among the athletes involved to show how gifted their individual countries are. This type of nationalism is accepted, and it’s even healthy. The competition gives nations a chance to come together, while showing each country which areas of their athletic programs need improving. Unfortunately, this friendly competition among nations is as civil as most participants will ever be. Most people believe their way of living, worshipping and existing is far superior to that of other people and xenophobic differences can lead to epic conflicts.
Few people realize that the Indians and Pakistanis are actually descended from common ancestors. While the two countries represent the world’s most realistic chance for a nuclear conflict, they’re actually very genetically similar. Pakistan is inhabited by Indians who switched to the Islamic faith. The change in faith led the new Muslims to look down upon their Hindu bothers and that’s when the trouble began. Pakistan didn’t officially become a country until 1947, but the feuds between the Pakistanis and the Indians go back for centuries. These people are genetically very similar but a difference in religious views keeps them at arms with each other. The feud over a strip of land known as Kashmir has gotten heated before as the xenophobes from each side demonstrate their distance for the other.
The Intolerance of Man
If mankind has a fatal flaw it is our inability to look at others as equal. We are competitive by nature, and we seek out ways that we think our race religion or culture is superior to others. We’re taught as children that our way of existing is the only plausible way to do so. This arrogance manifests into a strong dislike of anything different or contradictory to the lessons we were taught as children. One of the greatest divides facing different cultures is concerning basic cuisine. In western culture, dogs are family members with a status rivaling that of children. In other cultures, dogs are reliable food sources, and the people in those countries might starve without them. People in the US complain that people in Asia dine on bears, boiling the beasts whole. However, Americans expose crabs and lobsters to the same cruel fate. In western society, eating beef is a daily routine. However the cow is held to be sacred in certain Hindu regions of the world, and killing one of these animals is a serious criminal offense.
The biggest obstacle to overcoming xenophobia is accepting the differences and cultures of other people. This is especially difficult in a world where the more powerful countries are determined to turn the world into a democracy. The people of some Asian and African countries outright reject democracy, and the superpowers are left to fight a war against rebellious citizens. These people are quickly classified as terrorist but to the citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan, these men are freedom fighters. The western world seems poised to force “freedom” upon conservative nations, but many people reject the secular lifestyle. This is the cause of constant fighting between the west and Islamic extremists in the Persian Gulf. The trouble is finding common ground when the traditions of old world counties are viewed as human rights violations. The struggle in the middle east is about more than just religion as countries like Dubai become more modernized. The struggles in the middle east are the result of xenophobic leaders refusing to see the other side’s point of view. If someone prefers to live in a cave — herding sheep — giving him a condo with lots of money isn’t freedom. It seems as though this conflict of cultures may never cease, but that was also said about the cold war.
At one point in time, America’s biggest enemy was Russia, the socialist giant. The US runs a capitalist economy while the Soviets saw socialism as the wave of the future. Capitalism encourages individuals to become as successful as possible,offering lower taxes for the wealthy and for business owners. In socialism, the government regulates business and industry. The citizens are expected to work hard, and they’re rewarded for their work. There is less wealth disparity in a true socialist society as the government heavily taxes business owners. After World War II, the world’s two major super powers (The US and Russia) went on to become beacons of capitalism and socialism. Though the two countries were once close allies, they now threatened to destroy each other over a difference in economic principles. This feud was edged on even further when the Soviet Union, became the world’s second country to produce a nuclear weapon. The events in question went on to fuel one of the most intense era’s of modern history.
Dawn of the Cold War
The competition between Russia and the US really began to see which country would first put a man on the moon. After the US won that race, everything between the two giants became a conflict. What was once friendly competition morphed into violent xenophobia. Instead of the two superpowers using their technology to further mankind, they engaged in espionage and under handed tactics. When the Russians fought the Afghans in the eighties, the US actually supplied the Afghans with weapons. However, the biggest conflict between the US and the Soviet Union took place in October of 1962. By this time, each side owned enough nuclear firepower to cripple the entire planet, and this was the first real threat that a nuclear war was at hand.
Threatening the World
The Us already had Jupiter missiles in Italy which could hit Moscow in a matter of minutes. The Soviet Union responded by placing nuclear missiles in Cuba at the request of Fidel Castro. Cuba was and still is a communist country so their socialist ally was all too happy to oblige. For the next two weeks, the two countries teetered on the brink of nuclear holocaust. The US was unhappy with the Russian nuclear weapons being just 90 miles from Florida. John Kennedy ordered the US Navy to blockade Cuba, preventing any more missiles from entering the tiny, island nation. Eventually, the Soviet Union agreed to move their missiles and the US agreed not to invade Cuba. However this moment of tension forever caused a rift between the two countries. Suddenly, small differences between the two cultures became too much to bare. The word “communist” became profanity in the US as the red scare set in. While the danger of nuclear war was real, it was xenophobia that caused most of the trouble. Suddenly, the Russians were America’s worst enemy, even though they’d never really had a conflict. The Soviets declared that Socialist Russia was a better country and the capitalist US proclaimed the same. Fortunately the competition between the countries dwindled as the Soviet Union began to crumble.
In 1987, Midway introduced an alien fighter game called “Xenophobe”. In the game, the player was responsible for defending the earth from invading alien forces. In the real world, a xenophobe is someone who refuses to accept the cultural and religious differences of others. Teaching people to tolerate each other is no game, and it’s important to the survival of our species. People will never accept a single culture, government or way to worship. Instead, people will either have to deal with each other’s differences or continue fighting until there’s no one left. It’s so easy to be a xenophobe, especially when surrounded by other like-minded people. However, humanity must overcome this basic flaw if we’re to evolve as a species.