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Checking our privilege
Social justice
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You came here from there because you didn’t like there. We are not racist, phobic or anti whatever-you-are, we simply like here the way it is and most of us actually came here because it is not like there, wherever there was. You are welcome here, but please stop trying to make here like there. If you want here to be like there you should not have left there to come here, and you are invited to leave here and go back there.
—Town Clerk D. Kent Young, Stratton, Vermont[1][2][3]:171-172

Xenophobia is, literally translated, the "fear of the unknown" and generally explained as fear or hatred/contempt of outsiders, i.e. people from different cultures, religions, or a different ethnic background. Empirical research, however, shows that the underlying emotion that is related to "xenophobic" behaviour is actually linked to emotions of disgust rather than fear.[4]

What particular kind of outsiders is up to the individual xenophobe, but it is most often used to refer to foreigners or to a minority group strongly associated with a foreign country deemed threatening. However, for a particularly provincial person, it could also refer to people from outside the particular state/province, county, or town.

Few people will ever admit to being xenophobic, instead trying to pretend that it is some particular, justified concern that makes them want to keep all foreigners away. For instance, they may claim falsehoods that immigrants depress wages, immigrants bring the "bad" aspects of culture with them, immigrants commit more crime, immigrants cannot assimilate into their country, and immigrants threaten their ethnic/racial/national identity.

Not to be confused with the fear of the TV show Xena: Warrior PrincessWikipedia or its title character. Also not to be confused with xenophilia, which is attraction to foreigners. Especially not to be confused with fear of Xenu, the Big Bad in Scientology.

See also[edit]


  1. Holy moly, Stratton, Vermont’s annual report by Ellen Barry (7:12 PM - 23 Feb 2021) Twitter (archived from February 22, 2022).
  2. Stratton turns the page on its debate-sparking town report cover by Kevin O'Connor (May 4 2021) VTDigger.
  3. How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them by Barbara F. Walter (2022) ISBN 0593137787.
  4. Evolutionary Perspectives on Social Psychology, edited by Virgil Zeigler-Hill et al. (2015) Springer.