Have you ever heard of xenophobia?
“Xenophobia is a broad term that may be applied to any fear of someone who is different from us. Hostility towards outsiders is often a reaction to fear”
In my experience, the most xenophobic people are those who never really travelled or learned any language.
Sometimes we don’t even realise we are xenophobic, because we grew up with that “code”. The belief of hatred towards unknown was passed on us from our parents or others in our surroundings when we were not able to think for ourselves yet when we used to sponge all the information without a filter.
“Broaden your experience. Many people who display xenophobia have lived relatively sheltered lives with little exposure to those who are different from them. Traveling to different parts of the world, or even spending time in a nearby city, might go a long way toward helping you face your fears”
We are not responsible for what information was “coded” in us when we were children, but we are responsible for what we do with it, once we are able to think for ourselves.
So how can learning English help?
“Fight your fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful fears of all. If you have not been exposed to other races, cultures, and religions, gaining more experience may be helpful in conquering your xenophobia.”
Let’s talk about cultures now. Every country has its own unique culture and we can probably agree on the fact that some cultures may be very different than others. And as we can differ a lot, this can generate a lot of fear and hatred in some people. Hatred results in violence and hatred crimes.
Now let’s bring the factor of foreign language. Language is like a bridge between people. If you know the language you can over-bridgde the difference by talking, listening and understanding. And since you understand other cultures better through knowing and using a foreign language, the fear dissolves and understanding takes place. The more cultures one encounters the more culture tolerant one can become. You will understand that no matter how different one or the other culture, race, religion or sexuality preference might be, eventually we all are the same. We are humans.