It's often said that people fear what they don't understand.
Actually, the complete opposite is true.
People fear what they do understand.
Most people are afraid of falling from a skyscraper, not because they never took the time to get to know the ground, -but rather- because they do understand gravity.
Take this story for example. Here is a follow up to it. The race of the victim as well as the perpetrators is, of course, predictable.
On a related note,
Those in power also fear what they understand. And they understand that (access to a broad range of) knowledge is power.