Okay, so we all know X is probably the most dreaded letter in this A-Z Challenge. Am I right or am I right? Show of hands … who automatically thinks X-Ray and tries to come up with a remotely interesting story about one? Yep. Me too. I got lucky last year (not in that sense, focusing on the writing challenge here people) – I wrote about Xenophobia. Basically it’s a dislike of people from a foreign country and it seemed a valid travel related subject matter. So I figured I’d just flip in around and look at the opposite: Xenomania.
Let’s start with the definition:
- A strong preference for foreign customs, manners, or institutions; the gaining of pleasure from meeting strangers or visiting foreign countries. An obsession with strangers.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s discuss. Looking at the first part of that definition – on the surface, I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with having a passion or even a preference for a foreign culture or country. I’ve met numerous people, who although born here in Australia, identify more with the country of their ancestors and so prefer to call themselves English, Greek, Lebanese (for example) rather than Australian. They speak the language, stick to foreign dress sense, serve up cuisines from those countries, and chose to support national sporting teams of those foreign lands. I don’t think you can fault people for being proud of their ethnic background and for choosing to maintain an element of that heritage. I do, however, see a problem forming when that attachment to foreign institutions clashes with those of the country you’ve been born into or choose to live in. Respect for the culture, laws and customs of the place we call “home” needs to come before personal preferences.
But lets look at the second part of the definition … “gaining pleasure from meeting strangers and visiting foreign countries”. I’m trying to be balanced in looking at this but to be honest, I can’t see any harm coming from that part. At all. If anything, I think a willingness, even eagerness, to visit foreign countries or mingle with foreign people (at home or abroad) probably promotes acceptable and tolerance. By actively seeking to learn more about foreigners, we educate ourselves and I think ultimately break down unfounded prejudices. I will say though, as someone who is proud of her own culture and country, I would like to think that everyone at least be able to acknowledge the wonderful elements of the place they were born to.
This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge
For a list and links to my other challenge posts, click here
For those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for X, here’s the link: Xenophobia