Friday, April 28, 2017

Personality Quirks: X is for Xenophilia

 These days there is a lot of talk worldwide about xenophobia, fear of strangers, such that borders are unilaterally closed even to refugees, not just immigrants. This fear is flamed by outrageous acts of global terrorism that is meant to send the message that no where is truly safe, not your shopping mall, not your commute, not your religious building. They have been very effective, these terrorists, at disrupting what ought to be a sacred principle in any religion: help those in need.

So let’s talk about an opposite condition: xenophilia, attraction to foreign peoples, manners, and cultures. A xenophiliac would seek out opportunities to travel and to welcome those from other cultures.

Xenophilia derives from Greek xenos meaning ‘stranger’ and philia meaning ‘fondness.’

So what stories could you spin? Might xenophilia apply within one’s own country? Might a Southern belle want to know more about and be attracted to understanding the life of the black sharecropper down the road? Why not? How would that come about? Perhaps she encounters the sharecropper at the library and is curious what heesh could want to read about. Maybe the belle meets the sharecropper at the grocery store and notices heesh bought the same dress fabric. Historical or modern day, your protag could follow through on the curiosity and become friends with someone who has lived the opposite life. Welcoming that new culture with interest and zeal is the sign of a xenophile.

Or, your xenophile could be one of those extreme characters who has little innate core so heesh adopts the trappings of another culture and lives shis life as if heesh is born of the other culture. Imagine how annoying to know that someone is only assuming the garb of being French, British, or Pakistani. Your xenophile would insist to others that heesh is of another culture even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Is your xenophile mentally ill, delusional, or merely establishing a life that is more tolerable than the one born to? Does the xenophilic character remain in the other culture or does something shake shim out of it to the reality of life?

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Here are some ideas for #writers on creating xenophilic #characters from @RomanceRighter

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