Dehumanizing Always Starts With Language | Brené Brown - Deepstash

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Dehumanizing Always Starts With Language | Brené Brown

https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/05/17/dehumanizing-always-starts-with-language/

brenebrown.com

Dehumanizing Always Starts With Language | Brené Brown
Adapted from Braving the Wilderness (2017) Chapter Four: People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In. When we commit to getting closer, we're committing to eventually experiencing real, face-to-face conflict. Whether it's over dinner, at work, or in the grocery line, in-person conflict is always hard and uncomfortable.

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Feeling emotionally unsafe

When people feel emotionally threatened, they are not speaking of getting their feelings hurt or being forced to listen. It is when they experience dehumanizing language and behavior.

Dehumanizing is making someone seem not worthy of humane treatment.

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Dehumanization

Dehumanization has fueled innumerable acts of violence, human rights violations, war crimes, and genocides like slavery, torture and human trafficking.

Groups are depicted as "less than" or evil when they are targeted based on their identity - gender, ideology, skin color, religion or age. The group eventually falls out of the scope of who is protected by our moral code.

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Dehumanizing always starts with language

Images often follow after language.

  • During the Holocaust, Nazis described Jews as subhuman. Jews were called rats and depicted as disease-carrying rodents - from military pamphlets to children's books.
  • Hutus in the Rwanda genocide called the Tutsis cockroaches. 
  • Serbs called Bosnians aliens.

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How to rehumanize

We can rehumanize in the same way as dehumanizing - with words and images.

  • Be careful when you push the people whom you disagree with into the territory of moral exclusion.
  • Find the face of God in everyone you meet, including politicians, media and strangers.

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Set boundaries

We will all, at some time, experience a real, face-to-face conflict.

Do we have to put up with someone tearing us down or questioning the right to exist? Is there a line that shouldn't be crossed?

The line is usually drawn at physical and emotional safety.

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People with high levels of self-control are generally seen to be healthy, well-rounded individuals who are ideally less likely to act violently or aggressively.

New research shows that this behaviour pattern may be to gain acceptance and tread the social norms as a means to one’s end, being selfish and self-centred in private.

High Self-Control

People with high self-control have a surprising behavioural trait of being shrewd and cruel according to various studies:

  1. They are more likely to cover up an anti-social act to avoid getting caught, like for dangerous driving.
  2. They ended up being keener to kill hundreds of bugs in a grinder, without any feeling of remorse.
  3. They electrocuted their opponents in a TV game to a much higher degree than others, not knowing that the electrocution is being feigned by the contestant.

But more research needs to be done before we slot someone’s moral values and behavioural traits into predictable patterns.

Interpersonal Issues

When it happens in the workplace, it can reduce productivity and make a dent in morale. 

It takes on the shape that one person, or a group of people, frustrates or hampers another person...

Types of Interpersonal Conflict

  • Policy Conflicts: disagreements about how to deal with a situation that affects both parties. 
  • Value Conflicts: they are typically pretty difficult to resolve because they are more ingrained.
  • Ego Conflicts: losing an argument, or being thought of as wrong, can actually damage a person’s self-esteem. This is like a power struggle.

What Causes Interpersonal Conflict

  • Frustration and stress
  • Misunderstandings
  • Lack of planning
  • Bad staff selection
  • Poor Communication

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Feeling Offended

Taking offence is an experience of negative emotions triggered by a word or deed which conflicts with what is expected or believed to be correct, suitable, moral and acceptable behaviour.

Kinds Of Expectations

  • Foreseeable expectations are those which we assume others will know based on our interpersonal relationship with them and feel offended when we see it is breached.
  • Reciprocity expectation is a hope that our favors and kind deeds towards someone are repaid by them.
  • Equity expectations happen when we want to be treated fairly and equally.

These expectations, values and beliefs are all based on our past experiences.

A Sense Of Entitlement

Believing in our values forms our identity and provides us with a sense of entitlement to feel offended because we feel these 'sacred' values should be respected. 

This is amplified by being exposed to a lot of different points of view on social media.