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Xenophobia, from the Greek ξένος (xénos, foreign) + φόβος (phobos, fear) is a fear of that which is inherently other. Xenophobia is inherent in human history and human nature to some degree.[1]

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, xenophobia and racism describe two different things:[2]

  • Xenophobia refers to a fear or dislike of different or foreign cultures and beliefs that are generally unknown to the phobic person. Examples would be fear of Russians due to their alleged hacking abilities or nuclear capabilities, Chinese due to the COVID-19 issue, or Arabs due to their belief in Islam.
  • On the other hand, racism is the perceived belief of a race being superior and/or inferior to another. Examples include the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.


  1. Edward Said, "Orientalism."
  2. http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-xenophobia-and-racism/