Home | About | Donate

The Slippery Slope of Dehumanizing Language


#1

The Slippery Slope of Dehumanizing Language

Allison Skinner

Comparing people to animals seems to increasingly be a part of our political discourse.

When Roseanne Barr tweeted that former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was the child of an ape, it came only a couple of weeks after Donald Trump called immigrant gang members, “animals.”


#2

The internet seems to bring out the worst in many people based on the lack of civility that is common and is probably adding to this problem of dehumanization. Dehumanizing language is certainly a critical tool of fascism. I think those fighting fascism should call out this type of language when they see it and refrain from using it. Civility is the enemy of fascism. So is truth. To try to combat Trump and the Republicans with dehumanizing language and lies probably will benefit them in the long run.


#3

I absolutely agree, and that goes for this site, too. For me, when I witness anything getting into a personal attack , the ad hominem, it is a shrill statement of an absolute void, a lack of any real possible comeback. So lame to be called a Russian bot because I happen to text during US sleeping hours. Or a crazy, because I have a difference of opinion.

And LRX, the Democrats are fair game, too, but we should still be civil.


#4

If you live long enough, you get to see the same stupid stuff happen again. I was born in 1954 and from the moment of my birth until Reagan and Gorbachev ended the cold war (no, we didn’t win, that is a silly myth) I was indoctrinated to hate the Soviet people. Then Phil Donahue and a Soviet TV personality named Vladimir Posner did some joint question and answer shows with audiences from the U.S. and the Soviet Union. I remember watching a couple and in a very short time realized that what I had been taught about the Soviet people was not merely false but was actual nonsense.
Does anyone remember Keith Olbermann going on a rant a couple of years ago about Russian scum? How about the constant MSM nonsense every day about Russia Putin Russia along with Libya, Syria, Iraq. etc. in the recent past? It’s the same shit, different millennium. Look at the Soviets in the video below. No tails, no horns, just regular middle class people who want peace. Dehumanizing speech is always false, don’t buy into it, you’re just being used.

Peace
Po


#5

Totally agree. Dehumanizing speech is always a mark of a fascist society.


#6

Most of the greatest evils ever perpetrated by humans on humans have happened because of the dehumanization of a people, race or creed. It is how people get thrown in cattle cars and stuffed into ovens…
Dehumanizing language is the mark of a fascist society.


#7

If “dehumanizing language is the mark of a fascist society” the US has been fascist for at least four decades. The Powell memo prompted the GOP to become the masters of spinning language to dehumanize anybody not in line with their military industrial greed is good mantra, in addition to their dehumanizing the poor and minorities.

Saint Ron’s 1984 re-election and 1985 formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) solidified dehumanizing language in DC via active expansion and tacit approval by not challenging it.


#8

Yep, why not just call her Hillary or Hillary Clinton, or Hillary Rodham Clinton.


#9

Trump- DNA Test Confirms He’s Part Orangutan.


#10

Humans have dehumanized “the other” long before fascism came into existence. Read the 31st Chapter of Numbers in the Bible. Yahweh commands the Israelites to slaughter the midianites (men, women, children, even the livestock) because the Midianites did not worship Yahweh.

Aristotle thought that slavery was not wrong so long as you enslaved only barbarians and never Greeks. And white Europeans enslaved black Africans because whites are superior to blacks.

Fascism is a political theory that rejects democracy. Society is to be led by an all-powerful dictator. Adolph Hitler was der Fuehrer (the leader). Anti-Semitism goes all the way back to the 4th century CE when Constantine converted to Christianity. Once Christians were in power in the Roman Empire they started persecuting both pagans (because pagan emperors had persecuted them) and Jews because Jews are Christ killers. Hitler was both an anti-Semite and a fascist. But there were plenty of Germans who opposed fascism and were anti-Semites.


#11

Orangutans and humans share 97% of their DNA. What is your point?


#12

The point of this piece is indisputable, but to place the Doyen of Dehumanization on a par with his victims is false balance incarnate, and Skinner’s example is a heaping helping of fruit salad (apples and oranges, you see).


#13

To start and end where this article does is in itself a rejection of so much we call humanity today


#14

What’s worse than being compared to Nazis? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to Nazi war criminals? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to fascists? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to serial killers, mass murderers? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to murders and rapists? ANIMALS, of course!
What’s worse than being compared to child molesters, pedophiles, pornographers? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to abortionists? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to drug pushers? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to racists, white supremacists? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to a lynching mob? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to sexists, misogynists, batterers? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to psychopaths? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to sociopaths? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to terrorists? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to bigots, fools, and slobs? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to gluttons and drunks? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to barbarians? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to religious fanatics? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to animal-rights “extremists”? ANIMALS!
What’s worse than being compared to animals? HUMAN BEINGS!

“Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.” ― Richard Adams, Watership Down

Human beings perpetually wage violent war on nonhuman animals. As Gary Yourofsky explains it: “The hate that humans hold toward animals is matchless. It is impossible to overcome with compromise, or with only entreaty. It is so vicious, aseptic and bitter that a thousand peaceful Gods and Goddesses couldn’t eradicate it.”

Devaluing animals other than humans in the first place has always been used to validate violence and destruction against them–as if ONLY minorities experience being victims. Why? So that we can differentiate who counts from those who don’t count. And nonhuman animals NEVER count for anything! As per animal-rights activist Gary Yourofsky: “The problem is that humans have victimized animals to such a degree that they are not even considered victims. They are not even considered at all. They are nothing. They don’t count; they don’t matter; they’re commodities like TV sets and cell phones. We have actually turned animals into inanimate objects - sandwiches and shoes.” All the hatred, contempt, violence, and destruction nonhuman animals experience at the merciless hand of humanity each and every day has been normalized to such a degree that people take it for granted: “It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s necessary. It’s progress.”

“What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world - about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer


#15

Anthropofascism: Anthropofascism is the ideology that human beings have a right to be everywhere, all the time, pursuing their own interests regardless of their impacts on other species and the earth’s environmental systems.

This ideology is widely shared by partisans of the political right and left, by conservatives and progressives, by free market enthusiasts and liberals who champion the regulation of capitalist economies, by those indifferent to inequality in human societies and radicals who seek to overturn capitalism in favor more egalitarian social systems.

Anthropofascism is often rooted in religions that contend God has created humankind in his own image. Religions originating in Asia promote it in their own ways, including those in which long karmic processes are thought to account not only for inequality among human beings but also for human moral superiority over other living things .


#16

Chris Stedman: In his debate with Bill Nye, Ken Ham said that without the biblical divine origin story we’re “just animals” and suggested that this position undermines human dignity. What do you think about the view that we’re “just animals”? What can we learn about our moral nature from looking at other animals?

Frans de Waal: People who say that view undermines human dignity obviously have a low opinion of animals, which I don’t share at all. It’s perfectly fine to be associated with dolphins or elephants or chimpanzees.

Indeed. Authors of articles like this one that never address the UNDERLYING speciesism that fuels racism must obviously have a very, very low opinion of nonhuman animals. The other animals, our fellow Earthlings and evolutionary kin, count for MORE than we give them credit for. Otherwise, we wouldn’t accept debasing, denigrating, and dismissing them with the arrogant and indifferent grace of a despotic monarch.


#17

Dehumanization is much much worse than depicted in this article.

A culture pervaded by dehumanization, sees all people as instruments, functionaries in its pervasive ideology. In American culture, and many others, capitalism is the pervading dehumanization that is wedded with authoritarianism and monetary control of the public.
Having been cultured this way, most come to believe that human beings are many things they are told to believe - they are commodities, mere statistics, and aggressive and hostile storm troopers for the extremist ideology. Humans must conform to the traditions forced upon them, and do so ‘happily’ and with ebullient patriotism. Obey and perform = success!!!
So, much worse than insults is the dominating dehumanizing ideology that causes so much unnecessary suffering, violence and aggression in this world. Pretending that voting within this hubris and picking yet another ‘champion’, is merely testament to the saturation of our identities with anti human values and mythological social dramas.
A culture of corruption, violence and lies is a dehumanized culture that continues its deceptive domination with the support of far too many powerful, dehumanized people.


#18

Most people treat non-human animals better than they treat human animals. Americans would freak out if the government openly advocated for the torture of dogs in the name of national security, but have no problem torturing humans, even though the results of both amount to the same end. Nothing is gained from torture, but they do it anyway. Hang a dog in a stress position or waterboard them and Americans would be outraged, but do a human the same way and it’s just a “necessary evil in the war on terrrrrrr.”


#19

Showing a pig as Trump really shames the pig though. Pigs are highly intelligent animals that would NEVER act in the despicable ways this pile of human dung acts!