There is a country in which there are many different religions, races and cultures.

In that country, people are cold and they only care about themselves or their community. There is little or very limited communication between the different groups (races, religions, cultures).

Additionally, people are cautious about each other because of racial/religious/cultural differences. They don't trust each other or like one another.

  • What is the term that expresses this situation?
  • Is it okay to use suspicion, as in "there is a lot of suspicion in that country" to express the above situation?

7 Answers 7


I believe wary would be a more suitable word.

Suspicion holds the connotation that the other party has done something wrong, and thus is being 'suspected'.

In this case, people are cold and just care about themselves, and in the context, none of the people have done anything wrong against other races / religion, so a better term to use would be wary.

Wary means:

feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.

For example:

The people are 'wary' of each other.

  • yes, people in 1 group don't care or dare to touch other groups. So, I think wary is suitable
    – Tom
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 1:13

Xenophobia is technically "fear of strangers" but in US we commonly use "xenophobic" to describe ethnic groups who live in ghettos, marry among themselves, do business only with their own, etc.


The word would be "segregated", e.g., "It's a very segregated country."

To say "there is a lot of suspicion" is accurate, but vague. What about, "there is a lot of racial tension in that country" ?


Provincialism may be applicable. It is when one puts his own province ahead of the interests of his nation. It also refers to "narrowness of mind or outlook; lack of sophistication."

There is a lot of provincialism in that country.

This would address the attitude of those who "only care about themselves or their community." The drawback is that provincialism is more toward "my province versus my nation," and is usually related more to geography.

Tribalism refers "loyalty to a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group." The idea that "they don't trust each other or like one another" may be caused by the strong negative feelings of tribalism.

There is a lot of tribalism in that country.

Tribalism is less bound by geography and more about "us versus them."


I would use the words isolated and isolation to talk about groups that do not interact with others. In politics, isolationism refers to "a policy of remaining apart from the affairs or interests of other groups, especially the political affairs of other countries." (Oxford)


According t0 the Oxford dictionaries online, paranoia is the «suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification»

The Merriam-Webster describes it as «a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others».

Therefore the adjective "paranoid" comes to mind.

  • Good work with the edit!
    – user63230
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 3:46

Mistrust and prejudice are the main characteristics of the kind of society you are describing:


  • lack of trust or confidence: I viewed the stranger's advice with mistrust.


  • the act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions.

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