A-Z Challenge Xenophobia or Xenology
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X is for Xenophobia or Xenology
When it comes to travel it’s important to know if you have a tendency toward xenophobia or xenology.
Xenophobia defined: intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries
Xenology defined: the scientific study of alien biology, cultures, etc.
Although these are not true opposites, I’m going to use these definitions as a basis for this discussion. If you’re human and don’t walk on water then it’s probable that you’ve got a little of both in you. So depending on your range you may find yourself on a scale something like this:
No matter where you might fall on this very unscientific scale there’s always more we can learn from one another. Don’t think so, then it’s time to explore people in a few new ways.
Why? Because there’s more to learn from people than their clothing, language, and food.
Here are a few new things to try:
Of course, you need to know the language to understand the lyrics to the music but there are also ways of getting the lyrics of some songs translated. The point is to get to know a new people and culture through their music. If you’re really feeling open, try the folk music and some of the new stuff.
It’s really hard to hate a group of people when you’re friends with one of them. The internet has made one fundamental change in our modern lives. The world got a lot smaller. We can communicate with people all over the world with just a few clicks. My suggestion is to try your local connections first. Do you know someone already who has a friend in the country you’d like to learn more about? Reach out to them and ask for an introduction. You may surprise yourself.
One of my good friends in Germany is a friend, of a friend, of a friend. (It works!)
Many people find that there’s a common connection among us all and the easiest way to find it is to read our stories or history. Let me be honest and say that I’m not a history buff. I don’t love books about history. They’re full of wars and conquests written from the winner’s perspective and tainted with bias. However, another great way to get a view of history is through fictional stories that take place in historical settings. Authors of historical fiction do a lot of research to get their facts right while weaving an interesting tale that ‘could-have-happened’ in that setting.
Of course, it’s not a hundred percent accurate and there’s still a lot of bias but the experience is much more enjoyable for me. Find an author of historical fiction as told from someone in that culture and you’ve hit a gold mine. Give it a try and see if it makes the historical bits more palatable.
What things have you tried in order to be less xenophobic in your life?