The term ‘racism’ originated with the Nazi project to make Germany ‘clean of Jews’ However, notions of racism were present before the term was coined. The Nazi project was only one stage in a very long history of anti-Semitism. ‘Racism and racists: some conundrums’ looks at the origins of racism and anti-Semitism and the complexity in engaging in an inquiry into the meaning of term. Such an inquiry throws up a number of perplexing questions and cognitive terms: ethnicity and ethnocentrism; nation, nationalism, and xenophobia; hostility to ‘outsiders’ and ‘strangers’, or heterophobia. The idea of ‘race’ contains both biological and cultural elements, for example skin colour, religion, and behaviour.