Lumbersexual, vape, dark web, ad blocker, and selfie. These words or expressions have become popular over the last few years. Our thirst for their meanings have much significance for our future and new age culture. Many words that I was taught as impolite or even vulgar as a child have become mainstream in our elementary schools and on our television screens.
Dictionary.com has become a reliable resource to know the words and thoughts in our minds. It is easy for companies to calculate what words we search for most often on the internet.
In 2014, This company announced the word of the year was “exposure.” That made sense with the dread of the Ebola virus, police shootings, and widespread leaks of our personal information.
In 2015, the beautiful word “identity” was proclaimed the most popular. People were searching for their uniqueness in ethnicity, spirituality, and gender.
The word of 2016, however, should make us all ashamed. The word is “xenophobic.” The word was first used over a hundred years ago and its meaning is ugly. It is defined as “an unreasonable fear or hatred of people from other countries.”
It is no wonder the word has crept back into our world because of Brexit, the talk of banning Muslims into our country, dividing our Mexican neighbors with a wall, and the rhetoric of the president elect.
I am a better human now than I was twenty-five years ago. That is because I have met tens of thousands of families in the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest. These families have come from every corner of the world. They have the same hopes and dreams as myself. They yearn to be acknowledged, they want to fully live their unlimited potential, and they each love and appreciate their mothers. There is intense beauty in ethnic diversity!
If there was any reason for me to be frightened of any family, can someone explain why I have never experienced fear? How many more thousands of families should I meet before I should reasonably be afraid of someone?
Most everyone has a phobia, whether it is darkness, heights, or speaking in front of a large crowd. But the real fear is our ignorance of what we fear. A dark, silent room is quite welcoming when we are tired. A bejeweled insect is beautiful when examined closely. A person from another country can quickly become a best friend when one discovers shared humor or favorite foods.
The only antonyms I could find for xenophobia was fairness, respect, and tolerance. None of these words are the complete opposite of xenophobic. With your help, I would like to invent a word that means, “the intense love and respect of persons from diverse backgrounds.” Whatever word we agree upon, let’s make it the word of the year for 2017.
I vote for the word, uniphilarsian. With the help of my friend and master wordsmith Doug Lowry, uniphilarsian would translate to, “One who loves, regards, and watches over the unique aspect of every other person.” Uni (all) + Phil (love) + Lars- Latin lār (“guardian spirit”) from Etruscan + ian- meaning of or relating to.