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Dehumanizing Always Starts With Language | Brené Brown

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

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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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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 cro...

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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.

...

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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 th...

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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 c...

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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.

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The Way We See The World

Each of us looks at things differently, and it's largely based on our thinking patterns, education levels, inherent bias, self-identity, and real, first-hand experiences.

Higher Mind Vs Primitive Mind

Human beings tend to have two kinds of conflicting mindsets:

  • The Higher Mind, the conscious truth-seeking mind, has made human beings an advanced civilization.
  • The Primitive Mind is our hardwired, thousands-of-years-old survivalist part, the one that's still stuck in the dark ages.

The Psych Spectrum

Our Higher Mind and the Primitive Mind always have a tug-of-war like conflict. The degree of the conflict can be placed in a spectrum, which is called a Psych Spectrum.

If the Higher mind is in control, we are placed higher in the Psych Spectrum and have the Primitive Mind under check. If we are placed at a lower degree in the Psych Spectrum, then the Primitive Mind is under control.

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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.

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Verbal violations

  • Not allowing you to speak or be heard.
  • Yelling at you.
  • Saying things that are derogatory about your integrity and character.
  • Gossiping about you.

Psychological/emotional boundary violations

  • Preying upon your sense of self and self-esteem
  • Using what you’ve told them in confidence against you
  • Lying to you
  • Criticizing you
  • Manipulating you
  • Mocking you
  • Making demands of your time
  • Bullying you
  • Lording a superior attitude over you

Physical violations

  • Moving into your personal space
  • Touching you without permission
  • Being inappropriate or too familiar towards you
  • Violating your privacy
  • Damaging or destroying your personal property
  • Threatening you with physical harm

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