Xenophobia is the fear and distrust of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. Xenophobia can involve perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup and can manifest itself in suspicion of the activities of others, and a desire to eliminate their presence to secure a presumed purity and may relate to a fear of losing identity. Xenophobia is a political term and not a recognized medical phobia.
Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an "uncritical exaltation of another culture" in which a culture is ascribed "an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality". The terms xenophobia and racism are sometimes confused and used interchangeably because people who share a national origin may also belong to the same race. Due to this, xenophobia is usually distinguished by opposition to foreign culture.
Dictionary definitions of xenophobia include: "deep-rooted fear towards foreigners" (Oxford English Dictionary; OED), and "fear of the unfamiliar" (Webster's). The word comes from the Ancient Greek words ????? (xenos), meaning "strange", "foreigner", and ????? (phobos), meaning "fear" A scholarly definition of xenophobia, according to Andreas Wimmer, is "an element of a political struggle about who has the right to be cared for by the state and society: a fight for the collective goods of the modern state." In other words, xenophobia arises when people feel that their rights to benefit from the government is being subverted by other people's rights.HISTORY
An early example of xenophobic sentiment in Western culture is the Ancient Greek denigration of foreigners as "barbarians", the belief that the Greek people and culture were superior to all others, and the subsequent conclusion that barbarians were naturally meant to be enslaved. Ancient Romans also held notions of superiority over all other peoples, such as in a speech attributed to Manius Acilius, "There, as you know, there were Macedonians and Thracians and Illyrians, all most warlike nations, here Syrians and Asiatic Greeks, the most worthless peoples among mankind and born for slavery.