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Dehumanization is the denial of full humanness in others and the cruelty and suffering that accompanies it. A practical definition refers to it as the viewing and treatment of other persons as though they lack the mental capacities that are commonly attributed to human beings. In this definition, every act or thought that regards a person as "less than" human is dehumanization. Dehumanization is one technique in
incitement to genocide Incitement to genocide is a crime under international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a ...
. It has also been used to justify war, judicial and
extrajudicial killing An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution or extralegal killing) is the homicide, killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any Judiciary, judicial proceeding or legal process. They often target ...
,
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
, the confiscation of property, denial of suffrage and other rights, and to attack enemies or political opponents.


Conceptualizations

Behaviorally, dehumanization describes a disposition towards others that debases the others' individuality as either an "individual" species or an "individual" object (e.g., someone who acts inhumanely towards humans). As a process, dehumanization may be understood as the opposite of
personification Personification occurs when a thing or abstraction is represented as a person, in literature or art, as an anthropomorphic Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread spec ...
, a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities; dehumanization then is the disendowment of these same qualities or a reduction to
abstraction Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, mak ...

abstraction
. In almost all contexts, dehumanization is used
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
ly along with a disruption of
social norms Social norms are shared standards of acceptable Acceptability is the characteristic of a thing being subject to acceptance for some purpose. A thing is acceptable if it is sufficient to serve the purpose for which it is provided, even if it is f ...
, with the former applying to the actor(s) of behavioral dehumanization and the latter applying to the action(s) or processes of dehumanization. For instance, there is dehumanization for those who are perceived as lacking in
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
or
civility Civility comes from the word ''civis'', which in Latin means "citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the ...
, which are concepts that are believed to distinguish humans from animals. Social norms define humane behavior and reflexively define what is outside of humane behavior or inhumane. Dehumanization differs from inhumane behaviors or processes in its breadth to propose competing social norms. It is an action of dehumanization as the old norms are depreciated to the competing new norms, which then redefine the action of dehumanization. If the new norms lose acceptance, then the action remains one of dehumanization. The definition of ''dehumanization'' remains in a reflexive state of a type-token ambiguity relative to both individual and societal scales. In biological terms, dehumanization can be described as an
introduced species An introduced species, alien species, exotic species, adventive species, immigrant species, foreign species, non-indigenous species, or non-native species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, ...
marginalizing the human species, or an introduced person/process that debases other persons inhumanely. In
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
and
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whol ...
, the act of dehumanization is the inferential alienation of
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
or
denaturalization Denaturalization or citizenship deprivation or citizenship revocation is an involuntary loss of citizenship Loss of citizenship, also referred to as loss of nationality, is the event of ceasing to be a citizen Citizenship is a relationship bet ...
of
natural rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental Fundamental may refer to: * Found ...
, a definition contingent upon presiding
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
rather than
social norms Social norms are shared standards of acceptable Acceptability is the characteristic of a thing being subject to acceptance for some purpose. A thing is acceptable if it is sufficient to serve the purpose for which it is provided, even if it is f ...
limited by
human geography Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a coun ...
. In this context, a specialty within species does not need to constitute
global citizenship Global citizenship is the idea that one's identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: "humanity". This does not mean that such a person denounces or waives ...
or its inalienable rights; the human genome inherits both. It is theorized that dehumanization takes on two forms: ''animalistic dehumanization'', which is employed on a mostly intergroup basis; and ''mechanistic dehumanization'', which is employed on a mostly interpersonal basis. Dehumanization can occur discursively (e.g., idiomatic language that likens individual human beings to non-human animals,
verbal abuse Verbal abuse (also known as verbal aggression, verbal attack, verbal violence, verbal assault, psychic aggression, or psychic violence) is a type of psychological/mental abuse that involves the use of oral language, gestured language, and written ...
, erasing one's voice from discourse), symbolically (e.g., imagery), or physically (e.g., chattel
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
,
physical abuse Physical abuse is any intentional act causing injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage to the body caused by an external force. This may be caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and other causes. Major trauma is injury t ...
, refusing eye contact). Dehumanization often ignores the target's
individuality An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Individuality (or self-hood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly of being a person separate from other people and possessing one's own needs or goals, right Righ ...
(i.e., the creative and exciting aspects of their personality) and can hinder one from feeling
empathy Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional s ...

empathy
or correctly understanding a
stigmatized Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People ma ...
group. Dehumanization may be carried out by a social
institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Ha ...
(such as a state, school, or family), interpersonally, or even within oneself. Dehumanization can be unintentional, especially upon individuals, as with some types of ''de facto''
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
. State-organized dehumanization has historically been directed against perceived political,
racial A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations. By ...
,
ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously a ...
, national, or religious
minority group A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are fewer in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
s. Other minoritized and
marginalized Social exclusion or social marginalisation is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social ...
individuals and groups (based on
sexual orientation Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

gender
, disability,
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
, or some other organizing principle) are also susceptible to various forms of dehumanization. The concept of dehumanization has received empirical attention in the
psychological Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is ...

psychological
literature. It is conceptually related to infrahumanization,
delegitimizationDelegitimisation (also spelled delegitimation) is the withdrawal of Legitimacy (political), legitimacy, usually from some institution such as a state, cultural practice, etc. which may have acquired it explicitly or implicitly, by statute or accepted ...
,Bar-Tal, D. (1989). "Delegitimization: The extreme case of stereotyping and prejudice". In D. Bar-Tal, C. Graumann, A. Kruglanski, & W. Stroebe (Eds.), ''Stereotyping and prejudice: Changing conceptions''. New York, NY: Springer. moral exclusion, and
objectification In social philosophy Social philosophy examines questions about the foundations of social institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American pol ...
.Nussbaum, M. C. (1999). ''Sex and Social Justice''. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Dehumanization occurs across several domains; it is facilitated by status, power, and
social connection Social connection is the experience of feeling close and connected to others. It involves feeling love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiolo ...
; and results in behaviors like exclusion, violence, and support for violence against others. "Dehumanisation is viewed as a central component to intergroup violence because it is frequently the most important precursor to moral exclusion, the process by which stigmatized groups are placed outside the boundary in which moral values, rules, and considerations of fairness apply." David Livingstone Smith, director and founder of The Human Nature Project at the University of New England, argues that historically, human beings have been dehumanizing one another for thousands of years. In his work "The Paradoxes of Dehumanization", Smith proposes that dehumanization simultaneously regards people as human and subhuman. This paradox comes to light, as Smith identifies, because the reason people are dehumanized is so their human attributes can be taken advantage of.


Humanness

In Herbert Kelman's work on dehumanization, humanness has two features: "identity" (i.e., a perception of the person "as an individual, independent and distinguishable from others, capable of making choices") and "community" (i.e., a perception of the person as "part of an interconnected network of individuals who care for each other"). When a target's agency and embeddedness in a community are denied, they no longer elicit compassion or other moral responses and may suffer violence.


Objectification of women

Psychologist
Barbara Fredrickson Barbara Lee Fredrickson (born June 15, 1964) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), comm ...
and Tomi-Ann Roberts argued that the
sexual objectification Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person solely as an Object (philosophy), object of sexual desire. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity. Obj ...
of women extends beyond
pornography Pornography (often shortened to porn) is the portrayal of Human sexual activity, sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.
(which emphasizes women's bodies over their uniquely human mental and emotional characteristics) to society generally. There is a normative emphasis on female appearance that causes women to take a third-person perspective on their bodies. The psychological distance women may feel from their bodies might cause them to dehumanize themselves. Some research has indicated that women and men exhibit a "sexual body part recognition bias", in which women's sexual body parts are better recognized when presented in isolation than in their entire bodies. In contrast, men's sexual body parts are better recognized in the context of their entire bodies than in isolation. Men who dehumanize women as either animals or objects are more liable to rape and sexually harass women and display more negative attitudes toward female rape victims. Philosopher
Martha Nussbaum Martha Craven Nussbaum (; born May 6, 1947) is an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics ...

Martha Nussbaum
identified seven components of
objectification In social philosophy Social philosophy examines questions about the foundations of social institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American pol ...
: instrumentality, denial of
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
, inertness,
fungibility In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of good ...
, violability,
ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germ ...
, and denial of
subjectivity Subjectivity in a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum ...
.


History


Native Americans

Native Americans were dehumanized as "merciless Indian savages" in the
United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known a ...

United States Declaration of Independence
. Following the
Wounded Knee massacre The Wounded Knee Massacre, also known as the Battle of Wounded Knee, was a massacre A massacre is the killing of multiple individuals and is usually considered to be morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of poli ...
in December 1890, author L. Frank Baum wrote:
The ''Pioneer'' has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.
In
Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or part ...
's book on
civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', ...
, ''
Why We Can't Wait King at a press conference on June 8, 1964 ''Why We Can't Wait'' is a 1964 book by Martin Luther King Jr. about the nonviolent movement against racial segregation in the United States Racial segregation in the United States is the segregation of ...
'', he wrote:
Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.
King was an active supporter of the
Native American rights movement The Red Power movement was a social movement led by Native American youth to demand self-determination for Native Americans in the United States. Organizations that were part of Red Power Movement included American Indian Movement The America ...
, which he drew parallels with his own leadership of the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
. Both movements aimed to overturn dehumanizing attitudes held by members of the public at large against them.


Causes and facilitating factors

Several lines of psychological research relate to the concept of dehumanization. Infrahumanization suggests that individuals think of and treat outgroup members as "less human" and more like animals; while Austrian ethnologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt uses the term ''pseudo-speciation'', a term that he borrowed from the psychoanalyst
Erik Erikson Erik Homburger Erikson (born Erik Salomonsen; 15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994) was a Danish-German-American developmental psychologist Developmental psychology is the science, scientific study of how and why human beings change over the cour ...

Erik Erikson
, to imply that the dehumanized person or persons are regarded as not members of the human species. Specifically, individuals associate secondary emotions (which are seen as uniquely human) more with the ingroup than with the outgroup. Primary emotions (those experienced by all sentient beings, whether human or other animals) are found to be more associated with the outgroup. Dehumanization is intrinsically connected with violence. Often, one cannot do serious injury to another without first dehumanizing him or her in one's mind (as a form of
rationalization Rationalization may refer to: * Rationalization (economics), an attempt to change an ''ad hoc'' workflow into one based on published rules; also, jargon for a reduction in staff * Rationalisation (mathematics), the process of removing a square root ...
.) Military training is, among other things, systematic desensitization and dehumanization of the enemy, and servicemen and women may find it psychologically necessary to refer to the enemy as an animal or other non-human beings. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has shown that it would be difficult without such desensitization, if not impossible, to kill another human, even in combat or under threat to their own lives. According to Daniel Bar-Tal, delegitimization is the "categorization of groups into extreme negative social categories which are excluded from human groups that are considered as acting within the limits of acceptable norms and values". Moral exclusion occurs when outgroups are subject to a different set of moral values, rules, and fairness than are used in social relations with ingroup members. When individuals dehumanize others, they no longer experience distress when they treat them poorly. Moral exclusion is used to explain extreme behaviors like
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
, harsh immigration policies, and
eugenics Eugenics ( ; ) is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism ...
, but it can also happen on a more regular, everyday discriminatory level. In laboratory studies, people who are portrayed as lacking human qualities are treated in a particularly harsh and violent manner. Dehumanized perception occurs when a subject experiences low frequencies of activation within their
social cognition Social cognition is a sub-topic of various branches of psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or so ...
neural network A neural network is a network or circuit of neurons, or in a modern sense, an artificial neural network Artificial neural networks (ANNs), usually simply called neural networks (NNs), are computing systems vaguely inspired by the biolog ...

neural network
. This includes areas of neural networking such as the
superior temporal sulcus The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is the Sulcus (neuroanatomy), sulcus separating the superior temporal gyrus from the middle temporal gyrus in the temporal lobe of the brain. A Sulcus (neuroanatomy), sulcus (plural sulci) is a deep groove that c ...

superior temporal sulcus
(STS) and the
medial prefrontal cortex In mammalian brain anatomy, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the cerebral cortex which covers the front part of the frontal lobe. The PFC contains the Brodmann areas Brodmann area 8, BA8, Brodmann area 9, BA9, Brodmann area 10, BA10, Brodmann area ...
(mPFC). A 2001 study by psychologists
Chris Chris is a short form of various names including Christopher Christopher is the English language, English version of a Europe-wide name derived from the Greek language, Greek name Χριστόφορος (''Christóforos''). The constituent parts ...
and
Uta Frith Uta Frith (''née'' Aurnhammer; born 25 May 1941) is a German developmental psychologist working at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , estab ...

Uta Frith
suggests that the criticality of social interaction within a neural network has tendencies for subjects to dehumanize those seen as disgust-inducing, leading to social disengagement. Tasks involving social cognition typically activate the neural network responsible for subjective projections of disgust-inducing perceptions and patterns of dehumanization. "Besides manipulations of target persons, manipulations of social goals validate this prediction: Inferring preference, a mental-state inference, significantly increases mPFC and STS activity to these otherwise dehumanized targets." A 2007 study by Harris, McClure, van den Bos, Cohen and Fiske suggests a subject's mental reliability towards dehumanizing social cognition due to decreased neural activity towards the projected target, replicating across stimuli and contexts. While
social distance In sociology, social distance describes the distance#Theoretical distances, distance between individuals or Social group, groups in society, including dimensions such as social class, Race (classification of human beings), race/ethnicity, gender o ...

social distance
from the outgroup target is a necessary condition for dehumanization, some research suggests that this alone is insufficient. Psychological research has identified high status, power, and social connection as additional factors. Members of high-status groups more often associate humanity with the ingroup than the outgroup, while members of low-status groups exhibit no differences in associations with humanity. Thus, having a high status makes one more likely to dehumanize others. Low-status groups are more associated with human nature traits (e.g., warmth, emotionalism) than uniquely human characteristics, implying that they are closer to animals than humans because these traits are typical of humans but can be seen in other species. In addition, another line of work found that individuals in a position of power were more likely to objectify their subordinates, treating them as a means to one's end rather than focusing on their essentially human qualities. Finally,
social connection Social connection is the experience of feeling close and connected to others. It involves feeling love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiolo ...
—thinking about a close other or being in the actual presence of a close other—enables dehumanization by reducing the attribution of human mental states, increasing support for treating targets like animals, and increasing willingness to endorse harsh interrogation tactics. This is counterintuitive because social connection has documented personal health and well-being benefits but appears to impair
intergroup relationsIntergroup relations refers to interactions between individuals in different social groups, and to interactions taking place between the groups themselves collectively. It has long been a subject of research in social psychology, political psychology ...
. Neuroimaging studies have discovered that the medial prefrontal cortex—a brain region distinctively involved in attributing mental states to others—shows diminished activation to extremely dehumanized targets (i.e., those rated, according to the stereotype content model, as low-warmth and low-competence, such as drug addicts or homeless people).


Race and ethnicity

Dehumanization often occurs as a result of intergroup conflict. Ethnic and racial others are often represented as animals in popular culture and scholarship. There is evidence that this representation persists in the American context with African Americans implicitly associated with apes. To the extent that an individual has this dehumanizing implicit association, they are more likely to support violence against African Americans (e.g., jury decisions to execute defendants). Historically, dehumanization is frequently connected to genocidal conflicts in that ideologies before and during the conflict depict victims as subhuman (e.g., rodents). Immigrants may also be dehumanized in this manner. In 1901, the six Australian colonies assented to federation, creating the modern nation state of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
and its government. Section 51 (xxvi) excluded Aboriginals from the groups protected by special laws, and section 127 excluded Aboriginals from population counts. The '' Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902'' categorically denied Aboriginals the right to vote. Indigenous Australians were not allowed the social security benefits (e.g., aged pensions and maternity allowances) which were provided to others. Aboriginals in rural areas were discriminated against and controlled as to where and how they could marry, work, live, and their movements.


Language

Dehumanization and dehumanized perception can occur as a result of the language used to describe groups of people. Words such as migrant, immigrant, and expatriate are assigned to foreigners based on their social status and wealth, rather than ability, achievements, or political alignment. Expatriate is a word to describe the privileged, often light-skinned people newly residing in an area and has connotations that suggest ability, wealth, and trust. Meanwhile, the word immigrant is used to describe people coming to a new location to reside and infers a much less-desirable meaning. The word "immigrant" is sometimes paired with "illegal", which harbors a profoundly derogatory connotation. Misuse of these terms - they are often used inaccurately - to describe the other, can alter the perception of a group as a whole in a negative way. Ryan Eller, the executive director of the immigrant advocacy group, Define American, expressed the problem this way: A series of language examinations found a direct relation between homophobic epithets and social cognitive distancing towards a group of homosexuals, a form of dehumanization. These epithets (e.g., ''faggot'') were thought to function as dehumanizing labels because they tended to act as markers of deviance. One pair of studies found that subjects were more likely to associate malignant language with homosexuals, and that such language associations increased the physical distancing between the subject and the homosexual. This indicated that the malignant language could encourage dehumanization, cognitive and physical distancing in ways that other forms of malignant language do not.


Human races

In the US, African Americans were dehumanized by being classified as non-human primates. The US Constitution held that enslaved Africans would be counted as three-fifths of a free person for purposes of federal representation and direct taxes. A California police officer who was also involved in the
Rodney King Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965June 17, 2012) was an African-American man who was a victim of police brutality Police brutality is the excessive and unwarranted use of force by law enforcement File:CBP female officers going aboard a s ...
beating described a dispute between an American Black couple as "something right out of ''Gorillas in the Mist''".
Franz Boas Franz Uri Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942) was a German-born American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and wide ...
and
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
hypothesized that there might be an evolutionary process among primates. Monkeys and apes were least evolved, then savage and deformed anthropoids, which referred to people of African ancestry, to Caucasians as most developed.


Property takeover

Property scholars define dehumanization as “the failure to recognize an individual’s or group’s humanity.” Dehumanization often occurs alongside property confiscation. When a property takeover is coupled with dehumanization, the result is a dignity taking. There are several examples of dignity takings involving dehumanization. From its founding, the United States repeatedly engaged in dignity takings from Native American populations, taking indigenous land in an “undeniably horrific, violent, and tragic record” of genocide and ethnocide. As recently as 2013, the degradation of a mountain sacred to the Hopi people—by spraying its peak potwith artificial snow made from wastewater—constituted another dignity taking by the U.S. Forest Service. The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 also constituted a dignity taking involving dehumanization. White rioters dehumanized African Americans by attacking, looting, and destroying homes and businesses in Greenwood, a predominantly Black neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street.” During the Holocaust, mass genocide—a severe form of dehumanization—accompanied the destruction and taking of Jewish property. This constituted a dignity taking. Undocumented workers in the United States have also been subject to dehumanizing dignity takings when employers treat them as machines instead of people to justify dangerous working conditions. When harsh conditions lead to bodily injury or death, the property destroyed is the physical body.


Media-driven dehumanization

The
propaganda model The propaganda model is a conceptual model A conceptual model is a depiction, representation of a system. It consists of concepts used to help people knowledge, know, understanding, understand, or simulation, simulate a subject the model represen ...
of Edward S. Herman and
Noam Chomsky Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gesture ...

Noam Chomsky
argues that corporate media are able to carry out large-scale, successful dehumanization campaigns when they promote the goals (profit-making) that the corporations are contractually obliged to maximize.Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. (1988). ''
Manufacturing Consent ''Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media'' is a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of la ...
: the Political Economy of the Mass Media''. New York: Pantheon. Page xli
State media State media, state-controlled media, or state-owned media is media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying a ...
are also capable of carrying out dehumanization campaigns, whether in democracies or dictatorships, which are pervasive enough that the population cannot avoid the dehumanizing
meme A meme ( ) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ...

meme
s.


Non-state actors

Non-state actors—terrorists in particular—have also resorted to dehumanization to further their cause. The 1960s terrorist group
Weather Underground The Weather Underground was a Far-left politics, radical left wing militant organization first active in 1969, founded on the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. Originally known as the Weathermen, the group wa ...
had advocated violence against any authority figure and used the "police are pigs" meme to convince members that they were not harming human beings but merely killing wild animals. Likewise, rhetoric statements such as "terrorists are just scum", is an act of dehumanization.


In science, medicine, and technology

Relatively recent history has seen the relationship between dehumanization and science result in unethical scientific research. The
Tuskegee syphilis experiment The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male (informally referred to as the Tuskegee Experiment or Tuskegee Syphilis Study) was a study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service (PHS) and the Cente ...
and
Nazi human experimentation Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners, including children, by Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "Natio ...
on Jewish people are two such examples. In the former, African Americans with syphilis were recruited to participate in a study about the course of the disease. Even when treatment and a cure were eventually developed, they were withheld from the African-American participants so that researchers could continue their study. Similarly, Nazi scientists conducted horrific experiments on Jewish people during the Holocaust. This was justified in the name of research and progress, which is indicative of the far-reaching effects that the culture of dehumanization had upon this society. When this research came to light, efforts were made to protect future research participants, and currently,
institutional review board An institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC), ethical review board (ERB), or research ethics board (REB), is a type of committee A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons subordinate ...
s exist to safeguard individuals from being exploited by scientists. In a medical context, some dehumanizing practices have become more acceptable. While the dissection of human cadavers was seen as dehumanizing in the
Dark Ages Dark Ages or Dark Age may refer to: History and sociology *Dark Ages (historiography), the use of the term ''Dark Ages'' by historians and lay people **Byzantine Dark Ages (7th–8th centuries), period of large-scale transformation but obscure du ...
(see
history of anatomy The history of anatomy extends from the earliest examinations of sacrificial Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship ...
), the value of dissections as a training aid is such that they are now more widely accepted. Dehumanization has been associated with modern medicine generally and has explicitly been suggested as a coping mechanism for doctors who work with patients at the end of life. Researchers have identified six potential causes of dehumanization in medicine: deindividuating practices, impaired patient agency, dissimilarity (causes which do not facilitate the delivery of medical treatment), mechanization, empathy reduction, and moral disengagement (which could be argued to facilitate the delivery of medical treatment). In some US states, controversial legislation requires that a woman view ultrasound images of her fetus before having an abortion. Critics of the law argue that merely seeing an image of the fetus humanizes it and biases women against abortion. Similarly, a recent study showed that subtle humanization of medical patients appears to improve care for these patients. Radiologists evaluating X-rays reported more details to patients and expressed more empathy when a photo of the patient's face accompanied the X-rays. It appears that the inclusion of the photos counteracts the dehumanization of the medical process. Dehumanization has applications outside traditional social contexts.
Anthropomorphism Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an ...
(i.e., perceiving in nonhuman entities, mental and physical capacities that reflect humans) is the inverse of dehumanization.. Waytz, Epley, and Cacioppo suggest that the inverse of the factors that facilitate dehumanization (e.g., high status, power, and social connection) should promote anthropomorphism. That is, a low status, socially disconnected person without power should be more likely to attribute human qualities to pets or inanimate objects than a high-status, high-power, socially connected person. Researchers have found that engaging in violent video game play diminishes perceptions of both one's own humanity and the humanity of the players who are targets of the game violence. While the players are dehumanized, the video game characters are often anthropomorphized. Dehumanization has occurred historically under the pretense of "progress in the name of science". During the St. Louis World's fair in 1904, human zoos exhibited several natives from independent tribes worldwide, most notably a young Congolese man,
Ota Benga Ota Benga ( – March 20, 1916) was a Mbuti The Mbuti people, or Bambuti, are one of several indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native peop ...
. Benga's imprisonment was put on display as a public service showcasing "a degraded and degenerate race". During this period, religion was still the driving force behind many political and scientific activities. Because of this, eugenics was widely supported among the most notable US scientific communities, political figures, and industrial elites. After relocating to New York in 1906, public outcry led to the permanent ban and closure of human zoos in the United States.


In art

Francisco Goya Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (; ; 30 March 174616 April 1828) was a Spanish Romanticism, romantic painter and Printmaking, printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His p ...
, famed Spanish painter and printmaker of the romantic period, often depicted subjectivity involving the atrocities of war and brutal violence conveying the process of dehumanization. In the romantic period of painting, martyrdom art was most often a means of deifying the oppressed and tormented, and it was common for Goya to depict evil personalities performing these unjust horrible acts. But it was revolutionary the way the painter broke this convention by dehumanizing these martyr figures. "...one would not know whom the painting depicts, so determinedly has Goya reduced his subjects from martyrs to meat".


See also


References


External links

* https://web.archive.org/web/20100929000211/http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Dehumanization {{Discrimination Abuse Bullying Corruption Crimes Genocide Harassment Homophobia Injustice Interpersonal relationships Moral psychology Prejudice and discrimination Propaganda Racism Sin Slavery Sexism Social psychology concepts Social inequality Terrorism tactics Violence