Dehumanization is NOT a point-of-view. It describes the act of the “denial of humanness” from an individual—or more often—from a larger group of people.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DEHUMANIZATION?
To begin, it occurs in three main forms: Animalistic, Mechanistic and Adversarial.
Animalistic dehumanization occurs when a group of people is likened to animals—primarily to justify sub-human treatment. With animalistic dehumanization, groups are often described as amoral, dimwitted, uncultured, childlike and irrational. By ascribing bestial and even demonic characteristics to individuals in these groups, maltreatment can be rationalized.
Mechanistic dehumanization describes the removal of human attributes like love and compassion. By denying the existence of emotionality in individuals from these groups, maltreatment is justified based upon the created perception of coldness, rigidity, and lack of individuality.
Adversarial dehumanization occurs when a group of people is described as evil, immoral, opportunistic and driven by greed. In this case, individuals in these groups are positioned as the enemy, warranting not only sub-human treatment, but also attack, which is disguised as “defense” from said enemy.
Dehumanization can occur on many levels. It can be carried out by social institutions such as governments, schools and even families; It can occur interpersonally on a more individualized basis; And it can also be internalized, or carried out against oneself.
It is driven by power, status, and social-connectedness. Regardless of the domain, the result of dehumanization is ALWAYS injustice. This injustice occurs in the forms of exclusion and violence, as well as support for such exclusion and violence.
WHY I DON’T HAVE TO ENTERTAIN IT AS A “VIEWPOINT”:
My humanity is not up for debate. Period. It is not based upon the arbitrary rules and regulations of your respectability politics. I do not have to prove my humanity with my style of dress, manner of speech, tone of voice, or emotional temperament.
I deserve to live. My right to life is not dependent upon my behaving in a way that makes the “majority” more comfortable.
My blackness is not a threat. My inability or willful refusal to cater to white fragility should not result in death.
I am black. And human. And complex. And wonderful.
My humanity is NOT up for debate.