Saturday, April 28, 2012

X:

(I couldn't post this last night due to a power outage in our area. So today is a day for two posts!)



Wind played in Mark’s red curly locks. He smiled, as he pedaled harder, sweat dripping down his brow and down his neck. He loved bicycling down this road. The sky dipped down blue on the blue green evergreen on the slopes of the foothills. The road was empty and the occasional car zipped past, making sure to steer clear of bicyclists.
Suddenly a yellow convertible rushed down the road with screaming teenagers.Shouts of aggression.
Mark slowed down.
Then an open bottle flew past his ear, spewing water in its wake, almost drenching him. As he looked back at the car, all the kids laughed out loud. One of the them, presumably the one who had flung the bottle at him, shouted out “Freak! Carrot top!”

X is for Xenophobia

I don’t know if this even qualifies as a feeling. But it being that any fear is a feeling, the fear of strange or foreign objects surely is a feeling? This has translated as a fear of foreign people, and in that context the feeling has easily bled into racism or, just as easily, into chauvinism.

I believe that every form of bigotry stems from a fear, that is difficult either to live with or to be kept hidden. In a naïve sense it is all prejudice. But the full effect of xenophobia probably lies in the fact that the fear begets violent, passionate, and irrational actions. It sometimes takes on a tone more dangerous than someone flinging a bottle at a red head just because of his hair color, or giving a strange look at someone in the grocery store because of his skin color. More importantly, several times it affects and endangers the very lives of people who have perhaps accidentally walked in the vicinity of the xenophobic. It could translate into shooting and killing of a boy in a hoodie for no fault of his other than perhaps wearing a hoodie.

Acts of terrorism, violent acts of discrimination, all look to me a result of an antipathy born of this feeling. The more I think about this, the scarier it seems. There exists no rational explanation for feelings and there certainly is none for fear which may result in the destruction of lives.

That which we fear rules us.

And the fact we live in times when xenophobia is prevalent in so many forms and so close to us, is the scariest and the most depressing part of it all.

My question to myself was: does the fear of the different, even in any diluted version, exist in me? Am I scared of the strange or different? I am embarrassed to say that I have no pat answer for this. Sometimes I'm a bit apprehensive, while sometimes I happily seek the different. Calls for serious introspection I suppose.

11 comments:

  1. Interesting thoughts. I wonder if racism and bigotry are rooted in fear of those who are different.

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    1. That, is the question! Thanks for visiting, SherryE!

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  2. "I believe that every form of bigotry stems from a fear." So true. I love and hate this entry.

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  3. Yeah, how can we stay different and still all get along? That's what I want to know.

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    1. It should not be tough, the differences can be a good binding. Thanks for visiting, Amanda!

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  4. My post on X was also on xenophobia, and pretty close to yours in spirit. Fear does rule us, and I came to the conclusion that, although fear of the "other" is perhaps instinctive and unavoidable, it might be curbed and harnessed if we can only understand it. Great post! New follower here, and wish I'd found your blog earlier in the month :)

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    1. I loved your post, Guilie. And thanks for visiting and following me!

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  5. we, humans, love and develop our comfort zones... we develop our hatred for change (well most of us ;-)... me included). It is like 'being challenged'.

    Good post SK...

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  6. Not to sound too philosophical, in my opinion it is not the fear of 'unknown' but definitely the fear of 'the known'. It is not the fear of race, ethinicity, religion, gender et al, it is the fear of being "compared". In todays global village, I do not think there is any room for fear of foreign objects, prejudice or xenophobia. It is just an advantage some people are taking to define their insecurity. Very interesting article and I do welcome thoughts on this.

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  7. That was contemplative. I really liked this post. Xenophobia is a serious disorder once it translates into racism. Wonder if there's a medicine for this disease, because it spreads fast.

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