It is thought that fireworks and martial arts are exports from China. Theirs is a large land with many people – an exotic world of snow and jungle – congested city streets and rice paddies – sophisticated arts and savage beasts. The complexity of this culture has some in fear – the phobia is known as Sinophobia.
There has often been a sense of the forbidden in the Chinese culture. It is at one moment compelling, intriguing and desirable. At another there is a sense of danger, mystery and fear (undeserved though it may be).
What Causes Sinophobia?
Whenever there is fear towards a culture or people group it often has to do with a lack of understanding on the part of the one who fears. There are broad misconceptions that may include a fear that all people of Chinese descent can kill you using martial arts or that any romantic interest in someone who is Chinese may result in a threat to your life. Both are stereotypes that border on racial profiling on a personal level.
The fear may originate in books and movies created fictionally to exaggerate the use of martial arts in Chinese culture. It may have been introduced by a well-meaning relative who suffered from a sense of prejudice. Their sense of caution translated into your personal fear.
It could also be something as simple as fearing a culture you were not introduced to as a child. They may seem very different from your background causing you to refrain from interaction with them based on your insecurity. That insecurity can grow into fear.
This fear may mean you stay away from Chinese restaurants or festivals involving the Chinese culture. It may even be uncomfortable if not impossible to watch movies or documentaries in which the Chinese culture is featured.
Other symptoms may include…
- Dry mouth
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rate
- Panic attack
It is entirely possible you do not wish to express a feeling of prejudice although you have a hard time explaining why you are uncomfortable around people from China.
How to Overcome Sinophobia
This fear may respond well to simply, yet intentionally working to learn and appreciate the Chinese culture. There are many customs we have adopted from the Chinese and this culture continues to influence the American way of life – both culturally and financially.
Attending a Chinese festival with someone you are comfortable with can allow you to quietly observe the event without a strong need to involve yourself. This can be a strong behavioral step in helping you see a bigger picture of the culture you may fear.
If you couple this with therapy you may find a change of mind in relation to the fear you have experienced. You may even be able to find a place where the fear is minimized while you gain an appreciation for a culture you once feared.
You can be sure that if you fear the Chinese there will be at least some Chinese that may fear your culture.
The fear of Chinese is also referred to as:
- Fear of the Chinese culture