The causes and negative effects of xenophobia.

The word xenophobia is made up of the Greek words ‘xenos’, which means strange or foreigner, and ‘phobos’, which means fear.
What is Xenophobia?

When a person is born, the only people that he/she is comfortable around are the parents. Gradually, the child warms up to other family members and slowly gets used to them. His world, for a few years then, is limited only to his family. A big change is introduced into this world of his when he starts going to school. His circle of comfort now includes his teachers and classmates as well.

What I am trying to say here is that, a person, through the course of his life, meets strangers and makes acquaintances. In this process, there are some inhibitions at the beginning, but soon these are overcome. But this is not the case always. Some people find it difficult to mix with people who they deem are different from them; strangers from a different land. This irrational fear of strangers or foreigners is termed as xenophobia. There are various reasons that lead to this fear, and it brings out a range of emotions that vary from a biased attitude to violence.
Causes of Xenophobia

The fear of foreigners can be attributed to the mismatch in the basic thinking process and culture. However, this reason is not all that there is to it. One of the reasons responsible for painting a negative picture of foreigners is their involvement in various crimes. This can create a feeling of alienation, and strangers are seen as someone who have come to reign chaos in the homelands of the local populace.

Another reason is the increase in competition for jobs because of the incoming ‘aliens’. The locals, along with the already existing competition, have to further face steep odds owing to the influx of foreigners. Even in case of the ones who are already employed, replacements are available, rather easily. Thus, foreigners become a threat to their jobs.

There can be a presence of ‘one bad apple’ among the incoming populace. But generalizing one negative experience from one foreigner or a bunch of them, and applying it to every stranger leads to xenophobia. Further, this hatred is passed along among the locals. Along with this, the hatred towards foreigners can be a reciprocated reaction when the roles were reversed.

The incoming strangers are also deemed as a danger to the culture, traditions, and customs of the locals. This is also the reason for the spread of xenophobia, as foreigners are seen as a threat to the local heritage and legacy. The migrations result in sharing of resources, including the natural ones, which can lead to a stress on the economy and the general lifestyle of the natives.