Whats the difference between racism and xenophobia?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by w1z4rd, May 13, 2008.

  1. w1z4rd Cry the beloved country Valued Senior Member

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    Im getting more and more confused by how people are defining stuff today. For instance, if theres any kinda problem when a white person and a black person are involved with any kinda hate crime, the white person is instantly labeled as a racist.

    However, when its black on black crime in Africa... its xenophobia? But you take a walk through the streets, and you ask them why they dont like the northern black brothers, and the answers are:

    - They are not from here
    - They are darker black and different
    - They steal jobs
    - They have children with local woman


    Does racism only apply to white people.. and everyone else is xenophobic, islamaphobic or funny words like that?

    I am asking this because in South Africa at the moment, there is a lot of local black vs non-local black (immigrants/migrants/zim refugees) violence happening in our country at the moment, and this xenophobia smells a lot like racism to me.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20080513134914482C480753
    http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2321426,00.html

    More info..
     
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  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Well, they are rather similar. But xenophobia indicates a 'fear' of the race (for any one of a number of reasons - even if they are imagined) while racism implies a "looking down" on the race - a mind-set of being superior to them.
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    One is fear while the other is hate.
     
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  7. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    You can be xenophobic without being racist. Xenophobia is based on not knowing what one is dealing with, its a state of caution. Once a xenophobic gets closer to what they do not know they can lose their fear. Racism is prejudice plus power and does not necessarily stem from fear. Its when you want to marginalize a group, disenfranchize a group based on bias alone regardless of what knew information you might learn about the other. Racist is rigid whereas a xenophobic isn't. Also a xenophobic may not have any interest in using power against what they fear. For example you may find a Mennonite xenophobic but they wish you no ill. They will display the same xenophobia towards other white people who do not belong to their tribe as they would to any other person. Hasidic Jewery will behave xenophobic towards Jews who are not Hasidic. You ask

    Does racism only apply to white people.. and everyone else is xenophobic, islamaphobic or funny words like that?

    No racism doesn't only apply to white people. The other words imply two different things, they have two different meanings.
     
  8. w1z4rd Cry the beloved country Valued Senior Member

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    Most while people in South Africa stuck to apartheid not out of hate (though more than a few white people took that banner and ran with it), but out of fear that South Africa would turn into another mau-mau kenya style blood bath, or that if they gave black people the vote it would turn into another Idi Amin Uganda, Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe, or just about every other african state.

    So was Apartheid South Africa a xenophobic nation, or a racist? You need to understand, that while Apartheid allowed the racists in society to show their real colors, it was mostly out of fear (by watching what had happened to almost every other country in Africa) of what would happen when black people got the vote that it was able to last so long.
     
  9. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    9,879
    W1z4rd: Most while people in South Africa stuck to apartheid not out of hate (though more than a few white people took that banner and ran with it), but out of fear that South Africa would turn into another mau-mau kenya style blood bath, or that if they gave black people the vote it would turn into another Idi Amin Uganda, Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe, or just about every other african state.

    Yet that fear isn't xenophobic but racist in its application because it meant the use of power to disenfranchise a particular group. Its an example of prejudice plus power.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    I don't think so. Both xenophobia and racism can and often do encompass hatred. Racism invariably includes an attitude of superiority. Xenophobia could conceivably be expressed as, "I don't know much about them damn Martians and for all I know they might be smarter than us and have a more peaceful culture, but I still just don't want them messing with my planet because it's mine."
    Indeed. IMHO the Japanese are one of the most racist societies on Earth.
    But that fear was based on a feeling of superiority, so it's classic racism. They feared that the people of African ancestry (hmm, by American terminology I guess we'd call them "African-Africans") would create a dangerously unstable government because they believe that they are a primitive people who are incapable of building a modern nation.

    An analysis like this can get pretty uncomfortable if you keep unearthing evidence to support the belief. However, the true unrepentant racists in history believed that the people in question (Africans, Jews, non-Japanese, etc.) are inherently inferior and incapable of being assimilated into their own civilized society. Regardless of my own oft-repeated assertion that sub-Saharan African culture was still in the Stone Age a few centuries ago--and it normally takes a society thousands of years to advance into city-building, metallurgy, industry, and all the other aspects of modern civilization--I have no doubt that Africans are genetically our equals and when plopped down into a modern country they readily become as modern as any of us.

    So I may believe that our culture is superior to theirs because we're about twelve thousand years ahead of them. But this is due to pure accidents of history which I have also expounded on at length elsewhere (such as a continent with a north-south axis that inhibits the spread of agriculture) and not due to any inferiority of the people themselves.
     
  11. w1z4rd Cry the beloved country Valued Senior Member

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    I just thought I would share this post. Its on a local SA forum and is written by a young muslim forumite who stays in one of the rural towns having problems:

    Things are getting hectic here again

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Always a problem.

    FYI.. the term African does not equal black. I am white, and I am African. I was born and bred here and am happily African. African is a regional title, not a skin color.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  12. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    read only, thats interesting. My assumption was that inderviduals are racist and goverments, policy and sociaties are xenophobic
     
  13. Pinocchio's Hoof Pay the Devil, or else.......£ Registered Senior Member

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    I've always thought Xenophobia as a fear of foreigners in general,
    Whilst Racism is a hatred aimed at a specific group using specific traits in that racial group to judge it inferior to your own....
    I think that Ethnic discrimination is more alike to Xenophobia than racsim
     
  14. Blue_UK Drifting Mind Valued Senior Member

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    As for 'xenophobic', its etymology should not be confused with its meaning. It obviously comes from 'fear of alien', but it's usage is more "dislike and/or distrust of foreigners".

    Unfortunately, its both a natural and a completely understandable phenomenon; from a biologist's POV life is about competition, so it comes as no surprise that we do not naturally 'open our arms' to foreigners.
     

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