Ethnic hatred, inter-ethnic hatred, racial hatred, or ethnic tension refers to notions and acts of prejudice and hostility towards an ethnic group in varying degrees.
There are multiple origins for ethnic hatred and the resulting ethnic conflicts. In some societies it is rooted in tribalism, while in others it originates from a history of non-peaceful co-existence and the resulting actual disputed issues. In many countries incitement to ethnic or racial hatred is a criminal offense. Often ethnic conflict is stoked by nationalist fervor and sentiments of national superiority—for which reason inter-ethnic hatred borders with racism, and often the two terms get conflated.
Ethnic hatred has often been exploited and even fueled by various political leaders to serve their agenda of seeking to consolidate power or make electoral gains by calling for a united front against a common enemy (real or imaginary).
An example for ethnic hatred is the reported animosity toward the Romani people in Europe. The Romani people, also known as Gypsies are one of the marginalized and persecuted ethnic groups in Europe.
With the breakup of centralized Soviet rule, problems of ethnic hatred are coming to the fore in every Soviet region and republic, and are particularly acute in the Caucasus, where dozens of national and ethnic groups mingle in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ossetians speak a language related to Persian. In the early 1920's, they were persecuted by the Georgians, and in 1991 it was reported that Georgians had again burned 80 villages, killed 214 Ossetians, wounded 740 and caused 106 to disappear. By 1991, 83,000 Ossetians, half of Georgia's Ossetian population, had fled through the mountains to the North Ossetia Autonomous Republic in the Russian Empire.