An Apology of a Privileged Leftist

Dehumanization just ain’t it.

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Photo by Dalton Caraway on Unsplash

Prejudice

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Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

Othering

When we engage in this prejudicial conceptualization of a group that we don’t belong to, we are really working to define ourselves in relationship to the group. Our contempt for these other people allows us to pat ourselves on the back and think, “Well at least I’m not like that!” There are two main dangers to this mindset.

Dehumanization

Once we begin to define ourselves in opposition to another group and elevate ourselves above them, we begin to dehumanize them. Humans are messy, complicated animals, and we tend to inhabit varied roles, exhibit varied behaviors, and cling to varied beliefs. I catch myself thinking, saying, and doing things that are ignorant or harmful all the time. Part of life is working to accept that nobody is perfect, and everyone deserves dignity anyways. Dehumanization, like the prejudice and othering that spawns it, can happen without much effort or thought. It is easy to objectify individuals and groups, and it requires concerted effort and willful education to avoid it.

Understanding

The county I live in has gone through decades of roller coaster booms and busts. Every industry depends heavily on the performance of the nearby oil fields from the antique stores to the local welding shops. What does a democratic president mean for my new home? It means sanctions on oil, which means oil workers will be out of work, which means restaurants and apartment complexes will be forced to shut down. That chain reaction will affect everyone this area, and it is felt more keenly than the seemingly far away, ethereal, elitist vision of climate change that they have been taught to think is a farce.

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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Underpaid Social Worker. Advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence. Creator of feministmasculinity.com

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