Xenophobia and Jingoism

Yes, it’s still there. But it is waning in the big cities, a bit . . .

The notion of critical thinking is a Western value and critical thinking  is  a Western skill.

 Over and Over Again

You will hear many statements in China (and other foreign countries) that are obviously incorrect and silly.  Yet many of them will be repeated constantly and assumed to be the truth.  It is as if everyone read the same thing, believed it, and was told to repeat it frequently.  This idea is called Jingoism.


Jingoisms can be political/economic statements (Americans are out to dominate the world) , cultural assumptions (all Americans are noisy and rude), and even just commentary (I’m sorry you don’t have a son).  Sorry, we are picking on Americans here but we don’t want to offend anyone other than me!  You will often be astounded at some of the things you will hear.  Only with close friends will it be worth challenging such statements as they are so embedded in the culture.  And even then, it may not be worth it.

What are other common Jingoisms?

Only foreigners have AIDS.

And, of course, other generically stereotypic statements – such as, “All [fill in the blank with a nationality or ethnic or religious group] [do something stupid, odd, or bad].”


Some cultures fear foreigners.  The first time the I lived in Asia, I thought I got a glimpse how Black-Americans must have felt in the American South years ago.  The way people would stare – often in great distaste – at me.

I was on a bus once when a small and very cute young girl ran onto the bus, looked up and saw me – screamed and started crying as she ran back off the bus.  Now, I wouldn’t call myself handsome, but I’m not THAT ugly either!  What was the message she must have been given about foreigners?

Such xenophobia is fading – but is not uncommon away from urban areas and in a closed society.