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Xenophobia

Stringsinger 24 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,meself 23 Mar 07 - 05:36 PM
bubblyrat 23 Mar 07 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,meself 23 Mar 07 - 10:20 AM
catspaw49 23 Mar 07 - 10:02 AM
Leadfingers 23 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,B.M.Baillie 23 Mar 07 - 09:44 AM
catspaw49 23 Mar 07 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 23 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM
bubblyrat 22 Mar 07 - 08:00 PM
The Shambles 08 Jun 00 - 03:15 PM
The Shambles 08 Jun 00 - 03:10 PM
katlaughing 21 May 99 - 02:59 PM
Penny 31 Mar 99 - 06:37 AM
AlistairUK 31 Mar 99 - 05:47 AM
The Shambles 30 Mar 99 - 02:05 AM
gargoyle 30 Mar 99 - 01:07 AM
cypher 29 Mar 99 - 11:11 PM
Hazel 29 Mar 99 - 07:37 PM
Frank in the swamps 29 Mar 99 - 05:57 AM
Steve Parkes 29 Mar 99 - 02:31 AM
catspaw49 29 Mar 99 - 12:52 AM
Lonesome EJ 28 Mar 99 - 11:38 PM
katlaughing 28 Mar 99 - 04:49 PM
The Shambles 28 Mar 99 - 03:55 PM
The Shambles 28 Mar 99 - 03:51 PM
The Shambles 28 Mar 99 - 03:08 PM
katlaughing 28 Mar 99 - 12:47 AM
Ferrara 27 Mar 99 - 10:31 PM
The Shambles 27 Mar 99 - 01:32 PM
Ferrara 27 Mar 99 - 09:41 AM
The Shambles 27 Mar 99 - 08:39 AM
Ferrara 27 Mar 99 - 08:25 AM
Penny 27 Mar 99 - 04:05 AM
The Shambles 26 Mar 99 - 07:54 PM
AlistairUK 26 Mar 99 - 12:37 PM
Steve Parkes 26 Mar 99 - 07:49 AM
Penny 26 Mar 99 - 07:32 AM
sean MacRuaraidh 26 Mar 99 - 05:38 AM
Big Mick 25 Mar 99 - 10:00 PM
Pete M 25 Mar 99 - 06:18 PM
catspaw49 25 Mar 99 - 05:08 PM
25 Mar 99 - 04:59 PM
Big Mick 25 Mar 99 - 04:15 PM
MMario 25 Mar 99 - 03:08 PM
katlaughing 25 Mar 99 - 02:29 PM
Sean MacRuaraidh 25 Mar 99 - 02:00 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 25 Mar 99 - 01:52 PM
The Shambles 25 Mar 99 - 01:42 PM
The Shambles 25 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM
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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM

Xenophobia, love it or leave it! :)

I'll take the latter.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 05:36 PM

Where's that time-machine someone was talking about in another thread - I want to go back to 2007, quick!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 04:57 PM

If Man is the only species who fears his own kind, then how do you explain the behaviour of Chimpanzees in the wild who will, on encountering a "strange " chimp. from another troupe, who has strayed into their territory, chase down, catch, kill, tear to pieces,and then eat, one of their own . ???? Humans, like Chimpanzees, are conditioned to live in small - to - medium "groups" , and instinctively become uneasy and unsettled when confronted with aliens, whose prescence triggers primeval subconscious responses to the threats posed to their food supplies, womenfolk, power, etc., hence the " Fear of Strangers " that the word Xenophobia implies. The citizens of the United States are probably more tolerant of "strangers" than the British, as they have not,to my knowledge, ( The Americans ) been invaded and subdued by, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Danes, Norwegians, Romans, French, and very nearly by the Spanish and the Germans.
          I was always taught that a WOG was a WILY ORIENTAL GENTLEMAN , all Italians were either WOPS or EYE-TIES : All Spaniards are DAGOS ( from " Don Diego ) whilst the Germans are either KRAUTS or THE HUN . The Japanese, of course, are NIPS ( from NIPPON ) whilst the term FROG, as used to describe the French, has almost become a term of affection !! The British , particularly in the armed forces, always refer to the Chinese as CHINKS or CHOGUES , the term SLOPEHEAD being unknown other than in American films , where one might also encounter GOOK, NIGGER and, yes !! --LIMEY !! All this malarkey is a defence mechanism, a coping strategy for dealing with the realities of everyday multi-racial and multi-cultural society. It"s not just that we are AFRAID of strangers----We don"t actually LIKE them very much, given the way we have been conquered and overrun by them for the last 2000 years or so !! So if we are less than enthusiastic at the prospect of our favourite daughter marrying a Touareg slave-trafficker , perhaps the rest of the world could be a bit more tolerant and understanding ??? Please ??


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 10:20 AM

And then, of course, Cara was telling what was fairly obviously (sorry) an elaborate joke, and which she went on to declare was a joke, a year or two or three later, but in this same thread ...

So yes, yes ... chastened!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 10:02 AM

No,no....not chastened! I think we've all done it! I tell ya' what's worse though......when you've been here as long as I have and have posted a lot, someone pulls up one of these old threads and you begin reading, not noticing the date.   All of a sudden you discover that the post you are reading is YOUR OWN from 7 or 8 years ago! Worse yet, just before you realized it was yours from awhile back, you're thinking, "What kind of idiot wrote this friggin' piece of tripe?"

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM

Z is for xenophobia - A morbid fear of Buddhists A line from the Dyslexic Alphabet song


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: GUEST,B.M.Baillie
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 09:44 AM

...So it is! silly me I never look at the dates, I stand chastened!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 08:17 AM

Well thanks there Guest Bruce, but Cara hasn't been around here in 5 or more years and this thread is 7 years old. (;<)) But that's good info anyway!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM

Cara,
I think you'll find if you do some research on the English Longbow that that the arrows were feathered with goose feathers, not peacock, also they used spanish or italian yew which was apparently of better quality than English Yew


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: bubblyrat
Date: 22 Mar 07 - 08:00 PM

Gosh !! I always wondered what Xenophobia meant !!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Jun 00 - 03:15 PM

For new contributions, click here Xenophobia 2.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Jun 00 - 03:10 PM

With all the thread titles around recently (to which I plead guilty, I thought it might be a good idea to refresh this one?

As this is a bit big now, I will start Xenophobia 2, for new contributions and will provide a link in the next post to this one.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 May 99 - 02:59 PM

Thank you, Shamb! I hope everybody will give this a good and thorough read.

kat


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Penny
Date: 31 Mar 99 - 06:37 AM

Heard a program this morning about Tiger Bay in Cardiff, with a guy who had Jewish, West Indian, Filipino, North Welsh, Norwegian and Irish in his family tree. It may not quite be California, but the results should be stunning. And, apparently, the people of the area were getting on well, with a shared culture, so it can be done.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: AlistairUK
Date: 31 Mar 99 - 05:47 AM

Refresh let's keep this going guys


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 99 - 02:05 AM

Gargoyle

My observations on obviously (for we are ALL mixed race) mixed race beauty is that what you say is true they are some of the most stunningly attractive people you can see. The sad fact is in most case I would suggest, they do not yet feel, themselves that they are beautiful or that there is a place where they belong.

Hopefully as you say that will change and we can help it do so.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: gargoyle
Date: 30 Mar 99 - 01:07 AM

Given another 100years I have no doubt that most of the world will begin to resemble California....(Yes they are out to Cali-fornicate the world)

The "white" population throughout the state dropped below 50% in the month of February. This is the first time this has happened in 150 years. Current mix is about 49% white, 33% Hispanic, 12% Asian, and 6% black.

The intermixing of the races is creating some of the most stunningly, esthetically beautiful children on the face of the earth. A blue eyed girl - of Black, French and Asian parentage is not uncommon, nor is a black eyed blond - of Irish, Asian, Hispanic lineage. In addition to being better looking this "new breed," as judged by college admissions, appears to be more intelligent, and from personal observations hardworking, and even tempered. They celebrate their diversity.

The faces of Califonia have changed...soon the rest of the world will follow.....with such divergent backgrounds in 200 years perhaps the word xenophobic will be as archaic as 'mulatto' is in California today.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: cypher
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 11:11 PM

My only observation is that xenophobia does not exist in the natural world. There is no xenophbia at the waterhole on the Serengetti Plain. Tis a true "Human " conditioon for man is the only species that fears his own kind.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Hazel
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 07:37 PM

This planet isn't big enough for any of us to be xenophobic. Look at the Balkans, for gods sake.

Our wee folk club in east coast Scotland is certainly not that. We have members from several countries and many of our patrons go to the bother of learning songs in different languages! Bulgarian for one!

I think that because "folk" music is every where, we can all understand a little of what each of us is trying to say in our own way. I just wish every one every where would make a bigger effort to try understand their neighbours. We just have this one piece of rock in space to play with- so lets stop farting around!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 05:57 AM

As far as our instincts go, we are really not that different from any other animal, we'll kill for food (or resources) or to defend ourselves. All social animals have inate means of diffusing agonistic behaviour, dogs roll on their backs, exposing their bellies, we open our arms and smile. Difficulty with humans is our intellect, we have cunning and can trick one another, hence, we have difficulty trusting our instincts or our judgement. With the awesome power our species has, we are in a position of not being able to negotiate peace & cooperation unless we are in a position to enforce any contract we agree to.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mick that we have to teach our children well (groan, CS&N soundtrack goes on), but I would add that we also have to maintain, at great expense, the frightening ability and willingness, to rain down death upon any who threaten the children.

If we only had the wisdom to know when to use that power, and when to keep it sheathed.

Frank i.t.s.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 02:31 AM

COming back to you, Ferrara (at last!): that's exactly what I dud mean - thanks for putting it so well.

"Human nature, Mr Allnut, is what we were put on Earth to overcome." Apologies if I misquoted slightly.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 12:52 AM

Jesus Leej..........Well Stroked!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 11:38 PM

I believe that xenophobia is what the root word means, a fear. As a fear it has a deep and subconscious effect on our actions.This fear is a ready tool to the hands of a despot, but it does not embody power. Fear is a primal emotion that is based in self-protection, a fall-back position that underlies and undermines our best intentions. I am not sure that whatever degree of enlightenment we are able to attain will entirely subjugate it.

We are poised on the edge of a precipice that has been spawned from xenophobia, a centuries old back-and-forth surge of slaughter and reprisal. From our point of objective enlightenment, we observe the genocide of one people against their neighbors and we are outraged, and we seek to punish the perpetrators of this crime. And we fling lightning bolts down at these primitive hate-driven criminals, for the noble purpose of making them stop. But fear of our retribution will only force them to do their deeds under cover. You see, in their eyes, they are seeking justice.

Perhaps we make them stop. But I fear the price of that action. Must we send our young men and women to die in that place as the price of this stopping? Perhaps it is a thing worth dying for. It is certainly an easier decision for those to make who will not be doing the dying. And do we not run the risk of being pulled down by the tentacles of that same cycle of vengeance?

And so our noblest aspirations grapple with the most basic of our fears.

Regards to all, LEJ


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 04:49 PM

Boy, Shambles, you guys sure know how to make a gyrl cry! What a beautiful poem. Made even more poignant for me, as my niece and grandnephew, "bet's" daughter and grandson, are at Aviano in Italy, where her husband is stationed.

Bet just talked to them today and I guess it's pretty scary there, too, particularly because of the fear or retalitation. Took her one and a half hours to drive to the base instead of the usual twenty minutes because of all of the press, extra forces and Italians who love to watch the big planes fly out.

I hope you and Mick are right about the children. I know it is true for some. I wish everybody could get the one tribe thing. Thank you Shambles.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 03:55 PM

If we could only refrain from placing labels on human beings, men, women and children, exactly like ourselves, it would maybe make it more difficult for us to cut them down like weeds.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 03:51 PM

Islands and Oasis

Islands and oasis, all the safe places.
Shade from the sun, a place in the warm,
Somewhere to lie,
In the eye
Of the storm
Islands and oasis, it's written on their faces
They can't run, too tired to fight
Leave me please
In peace
Tonight

I've crossed the borders of many lands
I'm used to orders and commands
But those words still cut you like a knife
Why must it be so hard, to lead a simple life?
We don't expect to know the reasons
For we are but strangers here to freedom
We're travelling with no destination
Just keeping low, with no, high expectations

Islands and oasis, all the safe places.
Shade from the sun, a place in the warm,
Somewhere to lie,
In the eye
Of the storm
Islands and oasis, it's written on their faces
They can't run, too tired to fight
Leave me please
In peace
Tonight

In the dark streets of this town
There are some places to be found
Where you can be, but not belong
For soon they will return, to move you on
Your home may be a place of safety
But it was no such place for me
I left the violence and the lies
But the secrets still creep in
When I close my eyes

Islands and oasis, all the safe places.
Shade from the sun, a place in the warm,
Somewhere to lie,
In the eye
Of the storm
Islands and oasis, it's written on their faces
They can't run, too tired to fight
Leave me please
In peace
Tonight

Roger Gall 1998


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 03:08 PM

Ferrara

I did not think that you were arguing with me, but it would be OK if you were, this is a very good place to exchange views, for the reasons you and others expressed so well, earlier. At this time in particular it is good to have people to talk with, the only other thing I have found myself doing, to my surprise lately is going into a church and praying? I feel we at least owe these two things to the ones that are currently suffering the worst effects of our xenophobia.

I do find myself agreeing with your views and most of the others posted in this thread. There isn't much point in posting that though. As with others I only post if I think I can add something to, or challenge what is being said.

I certainly agree that the subject matters, I have only to look a my TV today to see A NATO spokesman say that there are some half a million families being forced from their homes.

I think that it is true that human nature is xenophobic and greedy, but I think that for some people that is an easy cop-out and enables them to carry on doing and saying things, that in their hearts, they know is wrong. For human nature is also caring and selfless and not just in wealthy western countries cushioned from the day to day struggles with these problems. Some of the most notable acts of real charity and bravery are conducted in moments when human beings are stressed, as well as the more despicable acts.

Kat

We all Knownow that we are not a small tribe, but one big one. We have no real excuses to continuing our old skirmishes. The hope is as Mick and others have said is our children, for they already know that and demonstrate it when they take other children at face value. We must stop teaching them to become sad old small minded bigots like us.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 12:47 AM

Just yesterday my sister was substitute teaching a class of 6 year olds. One little girl, whom a boy wouldn't sit beside after being told to several times, piped and said to my sister that he didn't want to sit beside her( the little girl) because she is black. Of course, he is white.

Bless my sister, she took that as a "teaching moment" and talked to the whole class about us all being the same on the inside, no matter the colour outside. Then she taught them a song (music reigns!) about how special they each and every one are. It almost broke her heart that a little boy, whom she really enjoys, also African American, barely sang, casting his eyes down in a manner reminiscent of the old days of "Massa".

She was so sad and appalled that at that young age they already had the experience to bring those attitudes out. We discussed the home life which must have contributed to this being the case.

And, I wonder, sometimes, what my mixed grandsons will have to face. I know their parents will probably never live close to where i am because they won't want to leave the part of New England they are in because there is a diverse population which makes them more comfortable. Right now, in their four-plex, there are a Cuban family, an Africa American family, a Puerta Rican family, and them, a blonde mostly Scottish/Irish/English and an Antiguan with their beautiful, beautiful baby boys (okay, I might be biased, but they ARE beautiful! Everybody says so! And, any of you who go to Mystic Seaport in June may get to confirm this. I've told Kyrsten they have to go & watch for Mudcat T-shirted people. Maybe I'll send them some that say "We're Katlaughing's family she always brags about! Or the babies could say, "Our grammy's a Kat & she laughs!")

For what she went through to have them (19 weeks of bedrest), I have to trust the Great Spirit and know there was a good reason for those two souls to have joined us and entrust them to the care and protection of the God/dess of my heart.

Thanks for listening,

U-Kno


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 10:31 PM

To The Shambles, as to whether xenophobia is a weakness or a survival trait, I should say that I feel that it's both. I don't approve or condone it, I'm grateful beyond belief that my kid is growing up able to relate to people for their peopleness, not their ethnic traits.

But I believe it is ingrained in the species because *at certain times,* and *in certain places,* it is or has been a survival trait. In today's world it is a horror, one of the most pernicious and damaging forces that drive the human race.

I guess I think of weaknesses as character flaws, like greed, and there's truth in that in both cases (xenophobia and greed). But it's also true that human nature has a strong ingrained tendency to be greedy and xenophobic and I believe we've evolved that way for a reason, i.e., the greediest people often had the most offspring and therefore the trait of greed was carried on.

I guess my point is that you can't will away an evolved trait. You can do everything in your power to counteract it, but it will still crop up and be very strong in some people. Arguments and moral persuasion won't influence those people, and you can't educate greed or xenophobia out of the entire human race. But. You can educate them out of a whole lot of people, so let's keep on trying!!!

Shambles, please don't take this post as meaning that I'm giving you an argument on this subject. I'm enjoying very much the opportunity to discuss it with you. We agree on the need to combat xenophobia. My only reservation is that I don't believe you'll ever get rid of it entirely.

Oh. One more thing. "Survival trait" has two meanings. One is that something is a survival trait in the current environment. Xenophobia is not that. I'm certainly not saying that xenophobia should be encouraged to help human survival, not even individual survival much less the survival of the community or the race.

The other meaning, the one I've been using, is that it is so common in human beings because it was a survival trait in earlier times when territorial fights between small groups or tribes were common, and therefore it became a very strong tendency in the human race. That makes it hard to get rid of altogether.

I am enjoying this discussion. I wouldn't keep on with it if it weren't a subject that's dear to my heart. So much of the most tragic news in my lifetime has been a direct result of xenophobia on some group's part. It matters!!!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 01:32 PM

Ferrara

Some of those contributing to this thread are saying that xenaphobia is a survival trait, not a weakness to be addressed and it is to those people that my comments are directed.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 09:41 AM

To The Shambles, those of us contributing to this thread certainly do recognize xenophobia as a weakness and a crying shame. The problem is, what to do about all the people who don't recognize it as a problem, and have swallowed it, hook, line, sinker and all?

There is a great group of people working on this problem, whom you might like to know about. The Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org) is a non-profit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through eductation and litigation. They are the people who created the Teaching Tolerance kits for schools that I mentioned above. I think they are doing good work. They can always use more support from people who feel as they do, that intolerance and discrimination are wrong.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 08:39 AM

Yes it is an attitude, but it a weakness for those politicians to exploit, for their own ends.

We MUST recognise it as a weakness and not keep swallowing the bait.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Ferrara
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 08:25 AM

I don't believe xenophobia is a political thing. Power grabs and military aggression for political and economic advantage are political, yes. But Xenophobia is an attitude, and it's cultural and individual. It focuses on how bad, wrong, wicked and inferior the target peoples are, not on how much stuff their side has that our side wants. It can be a reason for military aggression but it's not the only one.

I do agree with Steve Parkes about politicians. I've said pretty much the same thing for years. I think there's an unavoidable flaw in any form of government: overall the people who rise to the top will be the kind of people who are motivated by power, control, and the need for structure. Folks who don't much care about power and control, generally aren't motivated to compete for the positions of power. Once in power, politicians turn to imposing control and structure on the world and their ideas of what needs to be controlled and how, tend to be both restrictive and power-oriented, not people-oriented.

That works fine for people who are economically comfortable and/or worry a lot about law and order, but less well for people who are powerless economically, or more free wheeling (I don't mean criminal!!!) in disposition. There are exceptions, especially with the kind of people who see an abuse and run for office in order to get the power to correct it.

Wow, Steve, I've been trying to make this point for years: that the trouble with politics, in any system, is that it attracts politicians.

Have I put words in your mouth that you didn't mean? Correct me if I'm wrong.... - Rita F


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Penny
Date: 27 Mar 99 - 04:05 AM

Just heard on BBC Radio 4, actually about the territorial behaviour of corporations, and the natural instincts of most of us as peasants, (actually from Margaret Attwood), a rhyme relevant to this. Anyone know the rest?

This land is my land, This land ain't your land, I've got a shot-gun, and you ain't got one.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 07:54 PM

Alistair I think I have to agree with Pete, if it is a survival trait is is one for power structures rather than of the human race. The pathetic Slobodan Milosevic played the Nationlist card to prevent himself and his followers from following other comummist leaders down the toilet. He just replaced the Red flag with the Serbian one.

How can members of the human race killing one another be described as their survival? Surely it is the very opposite? The ones that die do not survive and the ones that do, will do their best to get revenge on their oppresors.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: AlistairUK
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 12:37 PM

What is an evil government? The UN in it's infinite wisdom, has decided to bomb a small part of the world that is predominantly moslem, why? I never understood. The Xenophobia, and it is here that it truly is xenophobia, in the balkans has existed for centuries. Once before the world got drawn into the fight between moslems and christians, serbs and croats, one race (and religion) and another, they called it the 'Last Great War'.

Xenophobia is about power. the power that one type of people has over another. The percieved difference in race is an excuse to put someone else down. A good example of this was the Southern United States where 'white trash'was the same, equivelent social class as blacks. but were still considered better than their african-american neighbours. Why? Because of the colour of their skin. So I suppose in a way xenophobia is a survival trait of the human race. It makes us feel better when we can put someone else down.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 07:49 AM

I think a big part of the "politician" problem is that the people who want to be in government (in democratic countries) are politicians! These are not the sort of people you'd buy a second-hand car from. I htink it's a control-freak thing.

But how do you deal with evil governments? Is it worse to stand by and let them get on with it than to intervene by force? Either way, a lot of people are going to suffer. Maybe if enough of us went and lay down in front of the tanks it would stop them, but there's an awful lot of tanks.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Penny
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 07:32 AM

I wish I knew the answer. I grew up pacifist, but I find these sort of issues deeply disturbing. I can't believe that it is a solution to attack the innocent. Yet again and again, governments seem to act as if any government has some divine right to rule, no matter how they came to office, and that they have a sovereignty over the people who happen to live in their states that is inarguable. A sovereignty which can be expressed by imprisonment and slaughter without anyone having the right, let alone the duty, to oppose it. Even in democratic states, once elected, the politicians seem to pick up this feeling that other leaders matter more than the people who should be their care. I did try working out a declaration about this, a while back, over the Pinochet claim to sovereign immunity, which really spelled out this view as having a right to exist. I also grew up wishiing that we had joined in signing the Declaration of Independence over here, too. Except that the USA seems to be afflicted by the same disease, too.


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: sean MacRuaraidh
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 05:38 AM

Katlaughing wrote :-

If you can start the day without caffeine, etc.

I almost predicted the ending and the comparison is possibly not fair but the point is well made.

What bothers me is that it made me laugh at my own patheticness

Sean


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 10:00 PM

First to Pete and Catspaw, Well said!!!! Initially I was drawn to the 'Cat by the music. What I discovered was that, as Bards of the modern era, we are naturally drawn to questions and discussions such as this one. Our music, whether happy or sad, inspiring or depressing, patriotic or protest, of love and of hate, causes us to want to understand the human condition. All of you have contributed to my understanding in this thread.

Let us take a turn here, if you will permit. Given the events of this week, and the protests as well as the support actions, I would love for us to have a discussion as to what action would be appropriate. I have seen war, fought 'em and protested 'em. I have seen despotic actions, and heroic actions. I hate war, I hate having to have an enemy, and most of all I hate the effect on the people of the battlefield, especially the kids. But what is the appropriate course of action when a nation is practicing what amounts to genocide? What do we do when we have tried to negotiate and the answer is the slaughter of soldiers AND civilians? Is it appropriate to sit back and say "It is not my country, hence it is not my business"?

I am not advocating any position, although I do believe, having been a warrior in my life, in what the Catholic Church calls "the just war". I believe that there are circumstances that demand a response, and that ultimately one must make a judgement as to whether they must fight. But I am looking for your views of the reality with this question, not lofty philosophy. I know that may seem a strange question from one who often philosophizes, but it is the part of me that has seen death and oppression in its ugliest reality that is interested in this discussion.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Pete M
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 06:18 PM

Like Mick, I have been watching and wondering what I could possibly add to the thoughtful, concerned and above all humane contributions. Mick has addressed what is perhaps our best hope for the future, but sadly the events set in train at 1900 Z Wednesday and which I fear may be a far darker portal than it first seems, made me think again about the two sides of the coin which we are discussing. The first, the use of epithets for 'out groups' is, it seems, a fundamental human trait. Mostly these remain mildly derogatory, the user intends no malice, and no offence is taken. What then causes one of these to make the transition from convenient label to insult?

Why is it that to some groups their "identity" bolstered by events which took place hundreds of years ago, is so important that they will continue to demonise those ancient opponents? Why are some groupings able to absorb immigrants who in their turn are happy to consider themselves members of their new home whilst others will support "their" country '..right or wrong..' even though they live half a world away and have only one ancestor from there and that several generation in the past?

The most basic understanding of sexual reproduction gives the lie to any concept of ethnic or cultural purity except in the cases of very isolated populations and over very short time spans, eg Martha's Vinyard between 1630 and the 1880's; whilst a more detailed study of human genetics destroys even broad spectrum theories of cultural displacement such as the supposed isolation of the Celts to the Western edge of Europe, rather than the actual biological and cultural assimilation and evolution.

The use of racial, religious, and cultural caricatures by those in authority to facilitate warfare by portraying them as 'interspecies' conflict has been documented from the beginning of history, but even these do not, in the normal course of events, outlive the conflict that gave rise to them.

So where does that leave us? I am certainly not suggesting that we should not be proud of our past, either individual or cultural, what I do suggest is that we allow ourselves to be proud of all parts of our heritage, not just the bits that are fashionable or appeal to us. Given my more immediate ancestry some might expect me to take a particular side in, for example, the Northern Ireland question. What they are asking is that I should condemn one half of my family because of what they did three or four hundred or so years ago to another part of the family. Now if that makes sense to you then in my opinion Mick is wrong and man is not a reasoning animal, nor do we have moral judgement.

There is plenty of evidence that xenophobia is normal, although I would disagree with Sean about it being a survival trait from a species point of view, which is the only one that counts if you are considering evolution as a driver. Where it does seem to have a survival value, and perhaps this is the key, is in perpetuating power structures. Whether that helps to explain the different attitudes in Brazil and the US I don't know, but I suspect it is a major factor.

So sorry, no brilliant insights, only more questions, but as has been said before, the fact that we can discuss it and that we share the view that "our" community transcends the petty cultural differences fostered by our countries, actual, adopted, or historical, gives me some hope.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 05:08 PM

Once again I seem to find that one of us is echoing the other Mick. We are granted a capacity for reason that allows us to go beyond instinctual behaviors and to make choices. Denying that ability is, for me, the definition of stupidity. The older I become and the more I challenge what I believe, the more I find that there is one cardinal sin, not usually found on the list, but standing well above the others......and that is stupidity. I am not the first person to express that thought and I would commend to you a book by Barbara Tuchman(sp) titled "March of Folly." All of our decisions are not necessarily the correct ones and indeed we often act in the worst possible way. But we are capable of changing.

Now I have to go get a few things ready for supper and I can ramble on later. Yet perhaps not. I think we may be reaching the point in this thread where we are all preaching to the congregation.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From:
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 04:59 PM


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 04:15 PM

We can look to the natural world to solve many of our problems, as long as we look through human eyes. We are the one species that has been given the ability to reason and evolve in a spiritual sense. And it is the latter that I refer too. One of you made a comment about not denying our inate tribal instincts. The question posed was something along the lines of "what is wrong with that?". There is nothing wrong with it if one chooses not to evolve in the spiritual AND intellectual sense. But we can, by our reasoning abilities, take steps that allow us to hold on to our basic instintual traits, while evolving in an intellectual sense of what that means now and in the future. It is what I referred to when I told of making the decision to teach my children to celebrate our cultural differences while worshipping those things we have in common. It is what allows me to remain a person who loves his ancestral homeland, its culture, music/arts, take pride in its contributions to the world, it's rebel movement which created the Republic; and yet see the way to permanent peace which respects the varying views of the peoples that live there. It is what allows me to have great respect and love for English people and their culture, and yet debate furiously the actions of their government in the North of Ireland.

As to the comment that seemed to imply that it is easy to have these ideals at this keyboard, because we are not competing for space and food, I agree especially because I live in a country that thinks poverty has to do with not being able to have ones own CD player instead of where one finds enough food to keep their small children alive, or how to stop other groups from killing them because "nits make fleas". But I would point out, without rancor, that it is just as easy to make that pronouncement because you don't know what has brought people to this stage in their lives. I have had a great many opportunities in my life to sell out my principles, some of them with life or death consequences. I do not tell these incidents for any reason other than to allow my experiences to give others fodder for thought. Sometimes we elevate the complexity of problems, instead of reducing them to their simplest denominator......Damn, I am being thrown off the library computer.......I am on the road today.........More later.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: MMario
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 03:08 PM

Something that seems to be a difficult lesson for almost everyone; that DIFFERENT does NOT mean *better* OR worse*. It just means *different*.

Something it warms the cockles of my heart to see stated here is that the "intent" should be considered - rather then that the "perception of offense" should be taken for the deed.

I once addressed a co-worker as "my dear" and nearly had my head ripped off. It was not meant to be offensive, she found it to BE offensive. I pointed out to her that:
1)it was not meant in a derogatory way
2)it was an expression of MY emotional state
3)I found it offensive that she felt she could dictate MY emotions
4) regardless of the above, if offense was percieved and no offense was intended, then in my opinion it was the person PERCIEVING the offense that should apoligise
This is a simplistic view, and I will admit that normally I would have apoligized and not used the term to her or in her hearing again...however I was being particularly prickly that day and lambasted her in return for her ripping into me.

So much is subjective, and that is where it truly becomes difficult to handle, especially when dealing with emotional issues. I know growing up I was called by a (commonly percieved as )derogatory nickname for my ethnic group...and it was done by most in an affectionate way. There was nothing derogatory in the use of the name...except by one perticular person. When used by that person it was not my nickname, it was a slur, meant as a slur, and not just to me, but my family,and to many of my friends. This was not just my perception, it was the perception of many...but he could never understand why "wop" said with friendship was acceptable and "wop" said with dislike was not.

MMario


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 02:29 PM

Sean:

I understand what you are saying, but I think one of the extraordinary thngs about this thread, in particular, is that we all ahve felt comfortable enough with one another to post and discuss the offensive terms we've all heard, learned, and maybe used.

This has happened in other threads, too. I cringed when I first started to read the postings on Vietnam songs; I was worried that everyone would be polarized and angry. I didn't know everyone on here as well then, and I was pleasantly surprised and overjoyed that it seems with distance of time and retrospect of maturity, everyone was very respectful of one another's positions in that time of our world, some were even able to see it from the other person's perspective.

Also, some tribal customs are good and I think we could use a return to some of them, esp. the nurturing of extended family-types, whether it's blood relatives or friends of like mind and goals. I understand about fighting for food, territory, etc.

The only answer I can think of to that, is the more we teach people everywhere about one another,teaching how to understand and accept our differences, even embrace the diversities of culture, etc., the less we will all have to fear. It all boils down, in my opinion, to fear of the unknown or differences.

The example of the animal world is valid, except in the colour issue. I LOVE that my cats and dog are "colour-blind" when it comes to their spots, stripes, etc., as is the rest of the animal kingdom. we can learn a lot from our dogs***smile***:

This was just recently in our paper:

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when something goes wrong through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies or deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, colour, religion, or politics, Then, my friends, you are almost as good as your dog.
(From the Ann Landers column of March 20, 1999; org. from the San Pablo Catholic Church Bulletin, Marathon, Fla.)

HERE'S TO THE DOGS OF THE WORLD!***BIG GRIN***NOI!!!


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: Sean MacRuaraidh
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 02:00 PM

Todays climate is one of discouragement of Xenophobia and that is to be commended. I don't hear anyone recommending it and that is the line I take too. I would argue that it is easy for us to take this line because we are not in a conflict situation - I am not directly competing with you for food/space.

Maybe it will always be like this i.e. no more competition and tribal instincts will evolve away like our appendices and tails.

I believe that the contributors to this group are living in societies were xenophobia is not a critical survival behaviour - but this may not true across the whole world as there are constant civil wars happening (Africa, Balkans etc.).

It is easy to pass judgement on people for being racist, xenophobic or otherwise but they may have their reasons. On a discussion group like this there is no need for any of it. Since there is no need for it why have it ? If the only reason is that it used as a form of humour sometimes then I say drop it from your text in case you offend someone (IMHO the humour is lost when you put NOI after a statement so that isn't a good alternative ). My advice would be 'If you feel you must get into a racial slagging match with someone then why not ask them for their e-mail address and carry out your discussion away from this group'.

Incidentally - with the population increase thats taking place right now I think we can expect more wars. Alls well if your part of NATO of course - I'm alright Jack etc.

Sean MacRuaraidh


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 01:52 PM

Ferrara, you said it! It goes along with an awareness we all have for the longing for community- it's very noticeable here in the so-called melting pot of the US, but it's a human trait to need the affirmation, sustenance, nurture, and protection of like-minded others. Our cities and towns are less able to pull us together than in the past, so we look for it in other ways.
Here on the 'Cat we have the best of the "cyber-community" syndrome- but we don't have the warm, face-to-face presence (although we're working on it!) that makes true community.
Xenophobia is the dark side of the force- in order to feel "in" someone else has to be "out": it's played out in our middle school cafeteria where to be a student from overseas automatically bans you to the "unpopular" lunch table. A young friend of mine bemoans the fact that she is now "unpopular" because she actually likes Yoko and Crista and some of the other "foreign" girls. Ah, middle school- the world played out on the small screen!
My, how I do go on!
Peace, Allison


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 01:42 PM

It is very natural for animals to leave their young to die if they are not giving the right responses or that they cannot be provided for, but it does not make it right that we do the same


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Subject: RE: Xenophobia
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM

Sean

I think it could be argued that xenophobia was a survival instinct, in a world where we did not know that other types of people even existed or the extent of our world. Very natural, but that very instinct that would serve us and does serve animals very well, is now the major threat to the survival of the ONE tribe we all belong to, THE HUMAN RACE, on the ONE WORLD we have.


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