I am trying to understand the meaning of the word xenophobia. A simple Google search gives the following: "dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries". The majority of the definitions I have found online revolve around hate, racism, dislike, etc. Few of them also revolve around fear, which one could argue that is somehow related to prejudice. Wikipedia states: "Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange". Another definition I have seen is "unjustified fear of an 'other'".
The world xenophobia originates from the Greek word Ξενοφοβία which is a combination of the words "ξένος" and "φοβία". The former means "foreign(er)" or "strange(r)" while the latter means "fear". As you can see, none of the two words has anything to do with hate or dislike.
Based on the above one could say that xenophobic is a person who is afraid of foreigners or different cultures or different "things". But this does not mean that this person hates them or dislikes them. He/she is just afraid of them consciously or unconsciously.
However, nowadays people use the word xenophobia when they talk about hate, dislike, or racism. As I explained above, even most dictionaries focus on hate/dislike/racism instead of fear, which has a completely different meaning.
Here are my questions now:
- Is any of my above statements wrong?
- What is the correct/original meaning of the word xenophobia?
- Why most people use this word to express hate and/or racism?
- What is the real difference between racism and xenophobia?
- What is the right word one should use to describe a person who is afraid (but not hate or dislike) of foreign/strange/different cultures/people/things consciously or unconsciously, justifiably or unjustifiably?
In regards to my last question: I guess I am looking for a word like arachnophobia but for humans or cultures. To my understanding, arachnophobia is the irrational and extreme fear of spiders, but it doesn't mean that you hate them or dislike them. One can be afraid of spiders because he/she was bitten by them many times, but at the same time admire them for a number of reasons (anatomy, evolution history, colours, etc). Alternatively, one can be afraid of them only in the thought that they can bite her/him, but at the same time admire them.
Thanks in advance.