Monday, October 9, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Beware of Dehumanizing Language and Images

"The point is that we are all vulnerable to the slow and insidious practice of dehumanizing, therefore we are all responsible for recognizing and stopping it. "

In these 31 Days of October I am unpacking my learning from the book, Braving The Wilderness, by Brené Brown. She has been a favorite author for years. In this new publication she manages to build a sidewalk and curb in the wilderness where we can bravely tread.

This is a more difficult post to write simply because I am out of my element in this wilderness of mistrust and disconnection. Mankind has a deeply rooted past in prejudice and hate. Once a culture has been exposed to hate language towards a race or group of people it takes generations to shift the behavior. 

I am by birth a German. My parents and brothers survived WWII before I was born. We emigrated when I was two. I inherited a national shame about the holocaust and the dehumanization of Jews. My parents didn't talk about it to me. I did feel that they were not as outraged about this historical disaster as the Americans around me. It was confusing. I did see signs that my parents and aunts were racist. As immigrants we lived in a very diverse neighborhood. My friends were black and asian. To me that was normal. But, my father wanted to move away to a more affluent area. It didn't occur to me that he was uncomfortable with our neighbors.
With some discomfort I am really looking at my feelings and actions. Do I ever feel "better than"? Do I tolerate people making any group seem less than human in conversations I hear? 

"In order for slavery to work, in order for us to buy, sell, beat, and trade people like animals, Americans had to completely dehumanize slaves. (Or Native Americans.) And whether we directly participated in that or were simply a member of a culture that at one time normalized that behavior, it shaped us."

Click here to go back to my table of contents to see the other posts.

1 comment:

  1. I think it can be easy for attitudes that dehumanise certain groups to slip into our thinking without us even noticing, especially if it's what we've been brought up with or surrounded by. It is good to take time to stop and think about where we may be doing this.


What do you think?