Dehumanization is the act of denying that a person is fully human, or treating a person like they are not fully human. Dehumanization makes it easier for people to be cruel to others, and inflict suffering.
Dehumanization can be used against a racial group or ethnicity, by comparing them to animals or monsters. In this way it is easier to abuse people of another group. For example, black people have been dehumanized by racist images comparing them to apes. Researchers say that this dehumanization continues to exist today: it can affect the punishment for a crime. Some people, such as Ota Benga, an African Mbuti man, were held in human zoos. They were shown for visitors' amusement, just like zoo animals.
Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians were often pictured as unintelligent and savages. When Ireland became a colony of England, English newspapers showed the Irish as less cultured, less reasonable, and violent.
In Nazi Germany, Nazis called Jews Untermensch, meaning less than human. Nazis also described Jews as rats. These words were used to allow the Nazis to kill millions of Jews in the Holocaust. The Nazis also dehumanized other groups, such as Romani people (Gypsies). In the Rwandan Genocide, Tutsis were described as cockroaches.
Women actors in pornography can be subject to objectification, which means they are seen as an object. The pornography is made for the pleasure of men, who may only see the actors for their body, not as a person. Some say that women are victims of objectification in their daily life. They say that society (especially men) sees women as sexual objects, and that the woman herself is seen as less important.
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- Spens, Christiana (2014-09-01). "The Theatre of Cruelty: Dehumanization, Objectification & Abu Ghraib". Contemporary Voices: St Andrews Journal of International Relations. 5 (3). doi:10.15664/jtr.946. ISSN 2516-3159.
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- APA Staff (2014-12-15). "Eugenics and Human Zoos: The Case of Ota Benga". Haunted Files | A/P/A | NYU.
- "The enemy as animal: Symmetric dehumanization during asymmetric warfare". PLoS ONE. 12 (7). 2017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181422.
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