The Evolution of Xenophobia: From Classroom to Out of Mind

Being educated in the public school system of America will probably leave me with so much information on racism that I’d probably be able to write a textbook about it. Yet the big question is, what exactly is that “it” I could write about? Learning about the literal pushing of Native Americans to the West side of the U.S., and the enslaved Africans that endured hate beyond all measures is a lot to squeeze into one article. However amongst all the different types of hatred, the commonality is xenophobia.

Google defines xenophobia as “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.” This is applicable to the aura that is often covered in a room full of a single ethnic group, once a person with a different ethnicity comes in. I, myself have been guilty of not being as welcoming to a racial group that differs from mine, and of course I have felt more accepted by Black teens talking about Drake’s new album. At the end of the day we seek shared interests in our interactions, but sometimes non-acceptance due to different ethnicities turns into xenophobia. Searching to find out how this word even came about might seem silly but once something influences all types of people it should be talked bout.

As a high school student who has always attended public school, I feel as if the idea of xenophobia entered my head once I realized I heard the story of Christopher Columbus more times than I heard of any other continent. Parents, guardians and children alike probably don’t question why that story is forced to be taught even after high school. As the years go by for young Black children, the stories of people who looked like them and could be related to them is not making them feel the same way White children do who hear stories of their successful ancestors. For even younger children who enjoy stories, Disney movies and more, they get used to barely seeing anyone of color represented. Then for young adults and adults who are aware that the President of the United States wants to build a wall against the Mexican border, though Native American features are sometimes seen in those of Mexicans.

Despite the fact that in 2017 and in America the issue of xenophobia has not ended,
acts can be done so that we don’t come off as disliking people from other countries. Initially self-love heals the foundation of future hatred, and learning new things about yourself can open your heart to people who love the same things. For instance, I’m a fan of European Rap and Alternative music and I’d love to share that with someone from Europe who knows who EDEN is. We should accept people no matter where they came from because at the end of the day the interactions and memories we make with them will stick with us much harder than a stamp that reads a country different from our owns.

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