Today is Day 25 of the March Slice of Life – the daily writing challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.
X is for Xenophobia
Xenophobia was chosen as the 2016 Word of the Year by Dictionary.com. They described why:
“This year, some of the most prominent news stories have been centered around
itself fear of the “other”.”
The word only appeared in the 1800s and is of Greek origin:
xenos = stranger, guest
phobos = fear, panic
Dictionary.com defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers”.
We have seen that rise of fear of Muslims especially. The exit of Britain from the EU, the rise of populism in Europe and the Trump effect and rise of the alt right in the U.S. all point to the rising xenophobia in the world.
Here in Canada (as well as in the U.S.), we have always had racism. But this new virulent hatred is scary, especially when our own government officials ramp it up.
We cannot return to the colonial mindset, where white was right. Our world has now become so much smaller. Every culture has as much right to prosper as any other.
I was very fortunate to have have had the opportunity throughout my life to meet and learn from people from many different cultures and races. My first long term boyfriend was from Tanzania; my oldest son’s father was Metis. Friends from Ghana, Hong Kong, South Africa and India to name a few, have enriched my life. I have had so many students from different countries and felt blessed to have taught them. Diversity expands our lives, adds texture and beauty to our lives.
We are stronger when we work together. Hatred and attacks speak of narrow, small, ugly minds and hearts.
We must fight against this rising tide of ignorant, hate-filled minds. We are all human; no one is any better than anyone else. United we stand; divided we fall.
I leave you with 2 poems:
A Poem for Africans Against Xenophobia by Dudu Samantha Ngobeni
Xenophobia by Janine Jacobs
And some quotes.
“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“Our love of lockstep is our greatest curse, the source of all that bedevils us. It is the source of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, terrorism, bigotry of every variety and hue, because it tells us there is one right way to do things, to look, to behave, to feel, when the only right way is to feel your heart hammering inside you and to listen to what its timpani is saying.”
― Anna Quindlen
“Diversity is an aspect of human existence that cannot be eradicated by terrorism or war or self-consuming hatred. It can only be conquered by recognizing and claiming the wealth of values it represents for all.”
“The job facing American voters… in the days and years to come is to determine which hearts, minds and souls command those qualities best suited to unify a country rather than further divide it, to heal the wounds of a nation as opposed to aggravate its injuries, and to secure for the next generation a legacy of choices based on informed awareness rather than one of reactions based on unknowing fear.”
“I resolutely believe that respect for diversity is a fundamental pillar in the eradication of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. There is no excuse for evading the responsibility of finding the most suitable path towards the elimination of any expression of discrimination against indigenous peoples.”
– Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Prize winner who dedicated her life to raise awareness on the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous’ persecutions.