Dehumanisation is a process that strips people of their individual, human qualities to justify their differential treatment by those in positions of power. Dehumanisation seeks to create the impression, often in the minds of a majority or dominant group or their supporters, that another group, due to some common identifying characteristic, are somehow less human. Over time, narratives among the dominant group strip “the other” of their individual human qualities, treating “them” as a group only, denying each group member’s worth as individuals.
People dehumanise others through many different methods, but examples include equating a group of people that have a shared characteristic (e.g. their race or religion) with animals, vermin, or even disease. “Hate speech” can be instrumental in the process of dehumanisation.
- Can you think of examples of dehumanisation?
- How does dehumanisation affect the individual and society?