Friday, January 29, 2016

Discussing Xenophobia

During an average week of state-run Channel One (ARD) viewing.....if you watched eighteen hours a day of the offerings there.....you'd hear the word Xenophobia uttered at least two-hundred times for the entire week.  The news journalists will utter it.  The intellectual crowd will utter it.  And the politicians will utter it.

If you were playing the whisky shot game (one shot per utterance of Xenophobia)....you'd have to have at least eleven bottles of booze per week (assuming eighteen shots per bottle).

What's the actual real meaning and history behind Xenophobia as a word?

Around 1903, some intellectual folks who'd studied Latin in college were writing up critical summaries over racism.....particularly in Africa.  There is some belief (not a lot of evidence I will admit) that W. E. B. Dubois (the scholar and essayist) may have used the word first.

What the Latin enthusiasts did was simply take two Latin words and connect them.  Xeno meant foreigner, and phobia mean an irrational fear.

It was an intellectual way of taking the discussion to the next level and having some word to fit their dialog.

If you examine phobias......they have a fascinating trail.  Phobias were first discussed around 470 to 410 BC.....by Hippocrates....the Greek guy with a great fascination of medicine and the human mind.

Phobias were supposed to be a packaged deal where you had something wrong with you and for most folks....it was irrational.  For example.....you went nuts if a spider were on the way ten feet away.  Or you went crazy if you had to cross a bridge with water running under it.  These were all irrational or deemed so by the smart guy in the bunch (the intellectual).

By the late 1800s......we were up to the Sigmund Freud era.  Here....phobias were simply classified as conflicts of the mind.  They could be discussed and worked out into a fixable solution.  If you were afraid of tall women, electricity or cats....well....a good long discussion and mental notes in your mind would help you overlook those tall women, electricity outlets, or cats standing there by the door.

The problem with Xenophobia is that it generally means you have an irrational fear of foreigners or things of a foreign nature.

The fact that you come from England and easily associate with Russians or Chinese people....would create an issue in using Xenophobia.  The fact that you can eat just about any food of a foreign nature (except perhaps Asian food)....doesn't exactly make you Xenophobic.  The fact that you like just about every kind of alcohol or booze out there except for Italian or French wine....doesn't make you Xenophobic.

Phobias were created in a way to be used by medical personnel to describe an extreme condition that existed upon irrational behavior.  An example would be a person who goes into fits over fog, and runs into a building whenever a fog episode occurs.  Another example would be a person who who has a fear of failure....to the extent that they will not take any risks or chances in life and eliminate any hope of a career or success.  Another example would be the person who has an irrational fear of hospitals, and can't possibly enter one for any reason.....even if for a life-threatening situation.

These are treatable phobias....well.....at least the doctors will tell you that these are treated by some experts with positive outcomes.

Xenophobia being treatable? Experts will say that it's a step by step process.

You get the guy with this irrational fear to explain what the irrational fear really is.  It helps if he's confused, non-intellectual, and naive.  If he's not confused, naive and seems to be fairly intelligent....then layers his response with actual answers....you can't readily conclude that it's an irrational fear.

In this case.....when the accused Xenophobic delivers five to ten reasons why this cultural or this group doesn't fit into common society....it's more difficult to note this as being illogical or irrational.

Typically, the specialist or intellectual in this case.....will try to utter the phrase....well...."you are wrong" or "ethically, you've attached yourself to a bad position".  Things usually don't go well after that point between the two individuals.

The use of facts?  This helps.....unless of course the person accused of being a Xenophobic also has facts.

Having someone from the feared group come to the meeting and try to make them appear happy, cheerful and a valued member of the community?  The person accused of being a Xenophibic will pull out a picture of the foreigner who tried to sell him heroin this morning at the train station.....or the foreigner who tried to rob him on the street this morning....or the numerous pictures of a ghetto area of foreigners which exists now on the west part of town.

Shuffling over to food situations of the foreigner helps to some degree.  The Xenophobic guy might suggest an Italian pizzeria.....which he has no issue with....or the Greek place where he has no issue, or even the Mexican place with no issue.  Maybe he'll agree to the Syrian restaurant with no issue. Food is usually meant to be eaten and not transformed into some psychological phobia session.

The thing you need to worry about....is that this person who've you accused of being Xenophobic will eventually read up on Latin.....get smart....and then invent some phrase like Nazi-phobic.....which will up being defined as a person so fearful of their cultural past....that they might attach themselves to a fraudulent lifestyle to appear nice, cheerful, diplomatic, open and pleasant...in a fake way to be seen as normal.

Being Nazi-phobic would eventually cause you to accuse others not sympathetic to your lifestyle.....as Xenophobic.

Two phobia freaks in a head-on collision?

Well.....yeah.  These two can't sit at the same table, or participate in normal discussions.

Is Nazi-phobic treatable?  Well.....they (the accused) say no.  Frankly, I think if you use the same methods as were being used on the Xenophobic guy.....it ought to work.  Well....maybe if this is part of some drinking game at the bar while watching Channel One's political chat forums and seeing how many times Xenophobic gets uttered and downing a drink each time between the two with issues.  Maybe the two can reach a drunken state, and things all come out even.

What.....me cynical?  At least I don't have Teutophobia (an irrational fear of Germans).

No comments: