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INTO MU panel addresses xenophobia

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In the end, the Honors 200 students behind the forum said they felt as if they had accomplished what they had set out to do.

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A forum that promoted the awareness and recognition of xenophobia took place Wednesday in Marshall University’s Corbly Hall.

Prior to the speakers, a video was shown in which people around campus were asked if they knew what xenophobia was, what it meant to them and if they thought it was a problem on campus.

After the video, Paige Muellerleile, representative from the psychology department, spoke about why people are all victims and offenders of xenophobia. She asked the forum what groups they were a part of and discussed people’s natural tendencies to categorize others.

“This whole idea of categorization is natural to us,” Muellerleile said. “You can’t understand xenophobia unless you start thinking about categories.”

Akira Uchida, a former Marshall INTO student from Japan, talked of how he experienced xenophobia during his high school chemistry class in San Diego.

This whole idea of categorization is natural to us. You can’t understand xenophobia unless you start thinking about categories.”

— Paige Muellerleile

He also spoke about how difficult it is for many Asian students to move to America with little or no English speaking skills.

Anita Langary, an exchange student from the United Kingdom, referred to specific instances of xenophobia she experienced.

Her main focus was on stereotypes, her parents being from Iran and the reactions people have when they learn of this.

In the end, the Honors 200 students behind the forum said they felt as if they had accomplished what they had set out to do.

“I thought that there was a lot to learn,” Lindsay Robertson, one of the forum’s organizers, said. “And it was really nice to hear experiences about other people and to think that xenophobia is not just Americans fearing other people, but sometimes that they can have fear of us as well.”

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected]

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