When people try and justify xenophobia, the go-to answer, the default, the old stand-by, is always safety and security. Other people, other customs, are dangerous, even sinful, and we must protect… ourselves, women and children, or even the savages from themselves.
Of course, it is easiest to see irrational fear-based thinking in others. Much harder to see it in ourselves. Bullies are often the first to claim self-defense, even if they are instigators, relying on first-strike ideology.
The order came just days after the International Football Association Board voted to lift its hijab ban based on the fact “there is no medical literature concerning injuries as a result of wearing a headscarf,” the organization stated on its website.
Rayane Benatti was told to take off her headscarf for safety reasons, but she refused.
It doesn’t matter that there is no evidence for a threat or danger, it’s all about the possibility that something might go wrong, if that uncommon, alien, offensive, behaviour or thing is allowed. And when we’re not thinking clearly, confirmation bias often takes over.
In a series of experiments, viewers unfamiliar with the subject of the photograph believed that the photos they were viewing were of different people — when in fact they were simply different presentations of the same person.
By contrast, viewers who were familiar with the subject of the photograph found it much easier to identify the person across the different images. Familiarity was key…
You may think you are good at recognizing people from their photographs, but most people only have experience with people they already know. Bad sampling, makes for bad results.
Xenophobia is easy, because fear of the unknown is a survival instinct. Sometimes instincts are all you have and they can save your life, but when you have the opportunity to collect evidence, making an informed choice tempers that irrational fear, and usually leads to a better outcome.