The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Stereotyping and Dehumanizing Run Wild

Twin diseases are running wild through the human race these days: stereotyping and dehumanizing others. To stereotype is to believe unfairly that all people or things of a similar characteristic are the same, according to Merriam Webster. Unfairly is a pivotal word in that sentence. To stereotype is to pigeonhole someone and dismiss them as a mere type. It is to, with the swipe of a hand, dismiss entire populations as all simply a single characteristic, and that characteristic often based on the bad behavior of some small fraction of that population. 

Here are a few quotes relevant to stereotyping: 
Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.
~ Ed Koch
Stereotypes do exist, but we have to walk through them. 
~ Forest Whitaker
Stereotypes, they're sensual, cultural weapons. That's the way that we attack people. At an artistic level, stereotypes are terrible writing.
~ Junot Diaz
(For more, see:

Right up there with stereotyping is dehumanizing others. We do this when we want to go to war with them, physically and/or psychologically. We humans find it hard to go to war with other humans, or commit atrocities against them, so we try to make others less than human in our own minds. So, the Nazis called the Jews "rats" and the Hutus referred to the Tutsis as "cockroaches." Sadly, countless other groups have done the same when they want to inflict harm on others. We are endlessly inventive in figuring out ways to dehumanize and harm our fellow humans.

Stereotyping and dehumanizing have created conditions in which unarmed African-American males are dying in the hands of the police when they shouldn't. These factors are leading police forces to become convinced that to fight amorphous terror threats they need military equipment and one officer was recorded in Ferguson, Missouri, as referring to the populace as "animals" and urging those "animals" forward so he could shoot them. 

We have used and continue to use stereotyping and dehumanizing to keep those of specific races, religions (and lack thereof), genders, ... and anything else you care to name, subjugated, enslaved, or murdered in genocidal rage. ISIS is currently doing so in the Middle East. 

Horribly, we are allowing our opinion makers and reactionaries to lead the way in the USA in this terrible and dangerous form of abuse and all that it leads to. We need to reign in this awful tendency we have to dehumanize and stereotype others, given the bizarre and deadly reactions these twin horsemen of evil lead to in far too many cases. If we are to save ourselves and ensure we ourselves do not convince each other to commit mindless horrors on our fellow humans, we have to stop these tendencies now. We have to reveal them for what they are ... our basest, most evil, most genocidal urges at work ... and end them.

If we do not, then the last transmissions leaking from earth into space and across the universe will be the madness of stereotyping and dehumanizing language moments before the explosions that put an end to us all. 

Extending this theme, here are other recent posts to see:, and

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