Trump “animals” comment: the disturbing power of dehumanizing language – Vox

The trends that I’ve been seeing have me even more alarmed than I ever have been before. As a whole, as a country, as an electorate, we have gone from being the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid to being the United Fucking States of Even Fucking Stupider. Yesterday’s article linking Aaron Schlossberg’s racist rant to the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s description of undocumented immigrants as animals was my latest attempt to map the behaviors of fascism onto the administration, the government, and our country.

This article on Vox covers some of the same ground, but emphasizes the danger of using dehumanizing language to describe a group of people. Widespread use of dehumanizing language presages horrific acts of violent abuse and even genocide against the group. That we have so many citizens out there just ranting and raving about the presences of non-whites among us, people calling the police for non-whites being present and doing normal innocuous things like bar-b-quing in a park, waiting for a friend at Starbucks, or napping while studying in a dorm common area should be alarming to us all. Couple it with wholesale police abuse of people of color and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber describing immigrants as animals, then we’re standing at the precipice of a complete breakdown of our social mores and norms and could find ourselves interning Japanese and segregating our public facilities by race and ethnicity again.

It is incumbent upon everyone in the resistance to be on guard against these propaganda tricks that will seduce us as they have seduced us in the past and people across the world into committing atrocities against fellow human beings.

Things that I really liked about the article:

  • The way that dehumanizing language triggers abuse, especially by those already predisposed to abusive behavior.
  • America is already hip deep in dehumanizing PoC’s, Muslims, and immigrants.
  • And, the summary of a study examining the way white supremacists rate the groups they hate on a scale of human evolution. Spoiler: On a 100 point scale with 100 being 100% evolved to be human, they rated Muslims at a 55.4 (again, out of 100), Democrats at 60.4, black people at 64.7, Mexicans at 67.7, journalists at 58.6, Jews at 73, and feminists at 57. These groups appear as subhumans to those taking the survey. And what about white people? They were scored at a noble 91.8. 

Mother of God, they rated feminists at 57 out of a possible 100 points on a scale of human evolution. Journalists at 58.6. And Muslims the lowest at 55.4. We’ve seen fatal levels of violence directed at Muslims and women recently. Don’t be surprised if journalists join that dubious grouping.

This has to be read to be believed.

Donald Trump and the disturbing power of dehumanizing language

Dehumanization is already prevalent in America. We don’t need anyone — especially Trump — stoking it further.


“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday about people who have been deported from the United States, during a discussion about California immigration-law enforcement in the White House. “These aren’t people. These are animals.”

As Vox’s Dara Lind points out, it’s unclear exactly whom Trump was referring to: people deported for being involved in the MS-13 street gang, or anyone who has been deported? In either case, the language is extremely dehumanizing and concerning.

History and psychological science show us that when we refer to people as “animals” or anything other than “people,” it flips a mental switch in our minds. It allows us to deny empathy to other people, makes us feel numb to their pain, and lets us forgive ourselves for causing them harm.

Last year, when Trump gave a speech to a crowd of law enforcement officers on Long Island, he also called MS-13 gang members “animals.”

Continue reading at Vox: Trump “animals” comment: the disturbing power of dehumanizing language – Vox

5 replies »

  1. I see 1939 Europe every morning now. It is beyond scary, and has moved into the rhelm of being terror. by dehumanizing entire groups of people it is easy to rip children from their parents arms, place them in a concentration camp on a military base and deport the parents…it is easy to round up people just because they “look different” or speak a different language. Our “rights” as humans are denied all of us when we allow the rights of others to be thrown by the wayside. Americans have to wake up and fight back en masse or we are doomed to see the rise of the fourth reich right in our own backyards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Suze!

      In 1939 few could see it for what it was and those who could felt helpless to resist. While it is scary, I take heart at the shear number of people in the media and on social media who are recognizing the threat, and from our ability to connect over social media to strengthen our resolve and plan and execute our resistance. Hopefully, they will not enact net neutrality before we can vote these fascists out.



    • When you talk like that, maybe you should have your guns taken away. This kind of dehumanizing talk always presages an increase in violence. Worse, it is evidence of our slide into fascism.



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