Here’s a small catalogue of examples of dehumanization, of the ways in which humans try to exclude others from humanity, to deny them equality, to ridicule them, to render them objects in their plan, instruments for their advancement or pleasure. It ranges from the harmless national stereotypes and political humor, to the incitement of genocide. It has been said that the only way to violate people’s human rights is to deny that they are human.
The Jews, of course, have a long experience of exclusion and dehumanization. Here’s a cartoon from Der Sturmer, Nazi newspaper:
The cartoon suggests that Jews are sucking the economic life from Gentiles. The newspaper is infamous for comparing Jews to inhuman and unpleasant creatures.
Much of contemporary anti-jewish propaganda in Arab media often refers to the old anti-semite tradition of depicting Jews as animals:
There’s the human pyramid in Abu Ghraib; treating people like toys to be played with:
Oddly reminiscent of the way in which women are often treated as sex-objects:
You can find more on the dehumanization of women in pornography here.
And there’s the racist view that whites are somehow the end of evolution, and blacks still closer to apes:
This perception of the Negro has undoubtedly contributed to slavery since slavery is the commodification of the human. If the Negro is less than the white person, then he can be considered as a commodity which one can buy, sell and use in slavery.
The man-monkey analogy has also been used for non-racist, political purposes:
The Rwandan radio station “Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM)” played a major role in the Rwandan genocide:
(Translation: “What’s happening?” “They killed Habyarimana (Hutu President of Rwanda)” “We ask all our Hutu brothers not to let this crime remain unpunished. Get up. Get to work. Take your tools and eradicate this race of cockroaches. Find them in all the holes…”)
And then there are the relatively harmless national stereotypes (although one can claim that all dehumanization starts with this):