Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Xenophobia and Racism

racismXenophobia vs Racism

Sometimes people think that xenophobia and racism are similar and their usage can be interchanged. However, this is not the case as the two words are very different. Xenophobia refers to dislike or fearing unknown or something that is different from you. Racism on the other hand relates that any race determines the traits of human and their capacity making them more superior than the any other race. Across the world there are racial discriminations present between people belonging to different groups. They are discriminated against based on their cultural or ethnic beliefs.

Xenophobia is not only aversion to a person but it is a fear or dislike of other cultures and beliefs. Even though some people feel that is a certain ‘target’ group that is not really accepted by the society; in reality it is the phobic who holds such reservations and beliefs. It may be possible that the phobic person knows that he or she is averse to the target group, they may not accept the fact that they are actually afraid or it is their fear. A xenophobic person has to only think of one thing ‘“ that the target group is in fact foreigners. This argument depicts the fact that xenophobia and racism are totally different because a person belonging to a different race may have the same nationality. So while xenophobia comprises of multiple aspects, racism is based only on one aspect.

For example homosexual people can easily become the target of a Xenophobic while they will not be the target of the racists. Some racists tried to prove that whites were more superior to other races and that they were superior to the Jews also. This gave birth to holocaust rationalization. Slavery and colonization in which blacks were treated as inferior races was also a part of racism. Apart from this racism also tried to rationalize homophobia in which the logic was that anything that goes against God is sinful.

In racism, racists treat people belonging to one race with complete disrespect and cause humiliation. This practice is not ethical and moral and is not tolerated by most of the parts in the civilized world. On the other hand when people belonging to one culture are afraid of another culture, they are called xenophobic. Even this practice is unlawful and not tolerated by the society today.

1.Xenophobia refers to dislike or fearing unknown. However, racism refers to disliking a certain race of humans.
2.A xenophobic does not like anyone who is different from the rest and does something that is sinful. On the other hand racist doesn’t tolerate people who do not belong to his or her human trait.
3.Slavery and colonization can be attributed to racism.

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  1. In the summary, homosexuality is sinful? The writer, Manisha, apparently has another agenda which is not linguistics.

    • The intended conclusion, I think, is that people who might culturally be offended by homosexuality, and think it is sinful on that basis are exhibiting xenophobic behavior.

  2. “Some racists went on to prove scientifically that whites were more superior to other races and that they were superior to the Jews also”.

    I’m sorry…WHAT?! I think you need to revise this sentence. Where and by whom was this “scientifically proven”. This is offensive.

    You really need to be more accurate in your writing if you are going to contribute to a linguistics page.

  3. Well, you are right about one thing. Xenophobia and racism are two completely different things. However, while yes, Xenophobia does indeed mean “a fear of the unknown,” it is not a fear of anything sinful. According to Romans 14:23, “Fear is sin.” So, by saying Xenophobics are afraid of anything sinful, you are saying that Xenophobics are a contradiction and that they are hypocrites. Please revise this article.

  4. Who is the author of this article? What year was this published?

  5. You wrote: “Some racists tried to prove that whites were more superior to other races…”

    Flawed point; only a speculation to justify one’s prejudice. There has been no proof anywhere to this speculation, and there cannot be.

    One fact is that in most cases, jealousy is the root of hatred, the root of racism. In other words, a racist is a victim of jealousy against the subject of racism.

    • Unfortunately, it is hardly speculation as this article points out:
      http://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/documents/gardinerwilliam/whiteness/white_supremacy_us.pdf , within the 2nd paragraph of page 2 under:
      DEFINING WHITE SUPREMACY – Fact is that , just as the Nazi’s tried, White scientists of the day likely had their own sort of “scientific” measurement to go by and base their findings on. Now, if you refute basic history and will deny this till you have some written proof in front of you , I suggest you find some database of history and surely you will see. Not a pretty past our country shares but perhaps we can learn from it.

  6. You can define racism without discussing power. Worst explanation ever. Sad that it is at the top if the Google charts. All the more reason for people to be careful of sources. Anyone using this as a reference would fail any basic college level class.

  7. Donald J. Trump is a “xenophobe”!

  8. I think there is a semantic and sociology problem with the world racism, as well as all the other words concerning races, simply for the fact that there is only one biological race. I guess that the so called racist are indeed xenophobic, because it’s a non-understanding of the unknown what drives their hatred.

  9. Lets break this down in order to show how xenophobic and racist are more in line with one another than you would be lead to believe.
    Xenophobic (adjective)
    having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

    synonyms: ultranationalistic, ultranationalist, nationalistic, nationalist, isolationist, jingoistic; parochial, insular; ethnocentric, ethnocentrist, racist, racialist; prejudiced, bigoted, intolerant

    Xeno – from Greek xenos ‘stranger, foreigner,’ (adjective) ‘strange.’
    relating to a foreigner or foreigners.
    other; different in origin.

    Phobic – pho·bic
    adjective – having or involving an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
    noun – a person with an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
    Racist – rac·ist
    Origin: Italian / French

    noun: racist; plural noun: racists
    a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist

    adjective –
    noun: racist; plural noun: racists; adjective: racist
    showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another.

    Race –
    noun: race; plural noun: races

    each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

    a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group.

    synonyms: ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin, color

    the fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.

    synonyms: ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin, color

    a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features.

    a population within a species that is distinct in some way, especially a subspecies.

    (in nontechnical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures.

    a group of people descended from a common ancestor.


    Ist –
    noun; informal; derogatory
    a follower of a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.

    forming personal nouns and some related adjectives:

    denoting an adherent of a system of beliefs, principles, etc., expressed by nouns ending in – ism.

    denoting a person who subscribes to a prejudice or practices discrimination.

    denoting a member of a profession or business activity.

    denoting a person who uses a thing.

    denoting a person who does something expressed by a verb ending in -ize.

    So in conclusion the author (Manisha Kumar) needs to go back and do some further reading on the subject matter before writing an article.

  10. I like most groups of people but there is some i despise. Where this word completely fails is where it suggests that dislike is because of ignorance. This is false. Im very knowledgeable and open to ideas and other cultures. But i do have a preference for what cultures i like or dislike. So this is not a fear of anything unknown.

  11. Racism and Xenophobia are not “very different”. The terms, ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ or ‘nationality’ are very often interchanged. Therefore, the terms referring to discrimination or prejudice based on those classifications are also interchangeable.

    The only way to distinguish racism and xenophobia is by asserting that racism has more of an emphasis on physical characteristics whilst xenophobia has more of an emphasis on cultural background.


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