Tuesday, April 28, 2015
X is for Xenophobia
I have agoraphobia. It is irrational. I can say that it is irrational. My ability to acknowledge that, however, doesn't change it in any way. Because I know it is irrational it pisses me off. That anger doesn't alleviate it, either. I have researched in trying to understand it and found that most phobias are irrational. Per Scientific American, "In humans, an unwarranted, persistent fear of a certain situation or object, known as specific phobia, can cause overwhelming distress and interfere with daily life." That is certainly the case with me, and it seems to be the case of those who sincerely deal with xenophobia.
Xenophobia is an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. We seem to have an overwhelming number of Americans who are suffering from this phobia these days. It can be caused by witnessing or hearing about an event. 9/11 with its constant news coverage and uncertainty could have certainly been a precipitating motivator. Once the perpetrators of the attacks were identified as having been from the Middle East and their religion to have been Islam, those with sincere xenophobia would have a place to direct their fear. They would have a way to identify the thing that their minds wanted to protect them from. That is irrational. And for people with genuine xenophobia, that is not their fault. It didn't stem from a place that needed to hate. It stemmed from actual fear. Their need to disassociate from others is about trying to create a world that is safe for them because of the direct physical and emotional effects they experienced by witnessing the attacks of 9/11. Their subconscious is trying to create a bubble where they will not have to face anything like it again.
There are those who wanted to take advantage of the fear that some Americans were facing. As much as they are just evil sons-of-bitches anyway, it is worse to think what they must be doing to those Americans who have been sincerely suffering since 9/11. To hear that their fears are not only warranted but will certainly prove to come true soon must be completely debilitating. It breaks my heart. With my phobia I have a safe zone. If I am in my house, my subconscious can relax and feel safe. For one with xenophobia, their home should be safe, as well. But because those on the right want to take advantage of and exploit those fears, they don't have a safe place. It will be in all means of their media at all times. Their "unwarranted, persistent fear" is being pounded into their psyche 24/7 by these swine.
The right offered that fear to more people, too. These new people were looking for hate. They accepted the irrational fear without the paralyzing effects those who sincerely suffer with xenophobia have to deal with. The media on the right; in print, internet, radio and television, have all borrowed the symbol of the Jihadist we came to understand shortly after the attacks and attributed those characteristics to all who live in the Middle East or who follow Islam. These outlets have had myriad means of delivering their message through fear of these "others." By starting at the top, they tell them that the President is a Muslim. The audience is shown video clips daily of terrorists who are planning to attack America. They rallied together against a mosque being built at the site of the Twin Towers and are repeatedly told that America is about to be subjected to sharia law. Daily they are inundated by stories where Christians have fallen victim to Muslim extremists. Their only objective seems to be a constant reminder to be afraid.
Because of their soulless attempts to garner their own viewership and a constituency for their politicians, the right-wing media have created, perpetuated and fed fears to people who have no idea that they are being preyed upon. It is a deliberate attempt to direct loyalties by means of promising to keep them informed and unified against those who mean to do them harm. The right-wing media have used all means of propaganda available to them to convey their mangled truths and conspiracies. They have also compared the Liberals to the Nazis for their audience to repeat. Irony will be certainly be lost on them, but not my readers. We know where they got their propaganda techniques. And where the initial messages of the Nazi's rallied against the Austrians and Jews, today's right-wing crazies point their contempt toward the Middle Easterners and Muslims.
Whatever our next phase of history will be, and wherever we are as a nation, I sincerely hope those who have been struggling with real xenophobia since 9/11 are able to find a healthy means of assimilating back into society without having become completely enveloped by the hate they have been buried under for so long.