While the etymology of the term “xenophobia” suggests fear of anything strange, in the context of immigration, xenophobia refers specifically to fear and hatred of immigrants, their culture, and diaspora communities. The term often overlaps with racism in meaning; however, racism suggests a sense of superiority based on race while xenophobia suggests a similar sense but based on a perceived native inhabitance to a place. Due to the subtlety of this difference, an individual or policy can be both racist and xenophobic; to be as precise as possible, it’s better to avoid conflating the two.
- The Long History of Xenophobia in America (Tufts University)
- Xenophobia vs. Racism: Where They Overlap and How They Differ (Merriam-Webster)
Xenophobia is a fear and hatred of foreigners or anything that is foreign. An individual or policy can be both racist and xenophobic; to be as precise as possible, it’s best to avoid conflating the two.