Dehumanizing People Makes Killing Easier

When the Nazis described
Jews as Untermenschen, subhumans,
they didn’t mean it metaphorically. They meant they were literally subhuman. This de-humanization was an integral part of
the Holocaust. We should have learned from this that dehumanizing “others”
inevitably leads to killing, as it did in El Paso.

The white supremacist
shooter in El Paso posted an online rant saying his attack was a response to
the Hispanic invasion of Texas (which was Mexico before it became
Texas): “I’m simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement
brought on by an invasion.”

“Replacement”
was a reference to a white genocide conspiracy theory (The Great Replacement),
which originated in France and is aimed at the presence of Muslims. It argues
that the white French culture is being destroyed, replaced by Muslims. This
conspiracy theory has an online life that fuels white supremacist hate
throughout the Western world, including Switzerland, Germany, Scandinavia,
Britain, New Zealand, and the United States.

His reference to an invasion
was pure Donald Trump who even now is running Facebook political ads
condemning the invasion of Latinos at our southern border (not to
mention his use of invasion rhetoric at his rallies and on Twitter).
Trump’s racism, in addition to focusing on Latinos, has also been directed at
African Americans, Muslims, and Jews. Yet, it’s Latinos whom he routinely
dehumanizes.

Trump began his
dehumanization of Latinos the day he announced for president: “They’re
murderers and rapists,” he claimed, referring to Mexicans coming across
the border. As this dehumanizing campaign progressed, he routinely fires up his
rally crowds with rants about migrant invasions by gang members, murderers,
rapists, thugs, and animals with, of course, no proof. This Untermenschen characterization
of Latinos reached its zenith when he separated children from their parents and
packed migrants seeking asylum, including children, into overcrowded cages in
inhumane conditions, and he then sent ICE out to round up more Latinos for
deportation.

The world has seen roundups
of innocent people by dominant cultures before, with really bad results. We
have also seen people characterized as “others” packed into boxcars
in inhuman conditions leading to horrific results. During one of his anti-Latino
rants, at the now infamous Panama City, Florida, rally, Trump asked his
audience how they thought “we” should stop the invasion on our
southern border. A member of the audience shouted, “Shoot them.” Trump
laughed. It should, therefore, not have been surprising that a white supremisicist
responding to this kind of rhetoric committed the largest mass killing of
Latinos in U.S. history in El Paso.

Trump’s America cannot
fairly be compared to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Trump, however, can
absolutely be condemned for using tactics reminiscent of the Nazis’ dehumanization
of Jews leading to the Holocaust. We are witnessing the leader of the Free World
constantly, on social media and television, fostering racism. He obviously
knows that white nationalism is on the rise in the Western world. He obviously
knows that there is an audience, both nationally and internationally, using his
racism to bolster their hate. He obviously knows that this kind of white
supremacist hate leads to killing.

The President of the
United States is suppose to lead all of us toward “a more perfect Union.”
Instead, he has de facto become the leader of a white supremacist
movement that is killing innocent people because they are non-white.

Donald Trump did not
create the white supremacist movement. Humanity, unfortunately, has a long
history of those “in power” terrorizing people of different races and
ethnic groups coming into their midst. We all share a common humanity, which
inevitably will and should be integrated into our communities regardless of
race or ethnic origin. This is a good thing. It makes us stronger. It should be
celebrated. Instead, we have a president who is opposing it to galvanize a
shrinking base of political support. The 2020 election cannot stop white
supremacy. It can, however, deprive it of a leader by voting Donald Trump out
of office.

The post Dehumanizing People Makes Killing Easier appeared first on The Santa Barbara Independent.

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