Ethnic hatred, inter-ethnic hatred, racial hatred, or ethnic tension refers to feelings and acts of prejudice and hostility towards an ethnic group in various 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 enhanced by nationalism and feeling of national superiority—for which reason inter-ethnic hatred borders with racism, and often the two terms are conflated.
Ethnic hatred has often been exploited and even fueled by some political leaders to serve their agenda of seeking to consolidate the nation or gain electorate by calling for a united struggle against a common enemy (real or imaginary).
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.