With everything happening in South Africa and people throwing words left, right and centre we have taken it upon ourselves to educate y’all on what xenophobia and being xenophobic really means.
Xenophobia (pronounced ‘Zeno-phobia’) is a dislike or prejudice towards people from other countries. Xenophobia isn’t actually a ‘fear’, it’s a societal or political problem; when we say ‘-phobia’ we imply that it is an irrational fear that can’t be helped when it can be helped.
Both racism and xenophobia kind of go hand in hand but xenophobia looks beyond race; it usually refers to a person’s nationality and culture.
Examples of xenophobic behaviours are
Making fun of someone’s nationality
Making prejudiced assumptions about a person based on where they come from – for example, saying that all French people like to eat snails.
Imitating or making fun of a person’s accent
Saying that someone is not welcome because they are from a different country
Actively excluding someone from events or conversations because of their nationality
Physically harming or attacking someone because of their nationality
Hating an entire country because of something that a handful of people from that country have done in the past
spreading hateful messages about a culture or nationality on social media.
Accusing immigrants of ‘stealing jobs or national services’ from the native inhabitants of a country.
Using derogatory names or ‘nicknames’ to refer to a person from a different country.
Not employing someone because they are foreign, even if they are fully qualified for the job and speak the required language fluently.
If you’re experiencing xenophobia, understand that there’s nothing wrong with you and that the person giving you such treatments is just very ignorant and narrow-minded.