July 6, 2022

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demonizing the other so you don't have to think - 05/26/2022 - Claudia Costin

demonizing the other so you don’t have to think – 05/26/2022 – Claudia Costin

In a recent article in The Atlantic, that Applebaum He remembers the terrible winter of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, when Stalin ordered to look for food in peasant houses. Grain, bread, cattle, and wheat were confiscated and a great famine spread in the area. Years later, members of the participating battalions, such as Viktor Kravchenko, described the sad episode, explaining how political jargon helped disguise what they had actually done.

According to him, there was talk of threatening the “kulaks” to avoid giving the poor Ukrainian peasants, from whom they stole food, humanity, to hide what they were doing from themselves. Even the great Russian writer of the period, Vasily Grossman, put words in the character’s mouth denoting belated regret for taking humanity away from the kulaks and letting his heart freeze.

Reading the text, the episodes taking place here were reminded of the same process of dehumanization or demonization of the other. After all, it is easier to destroy the opponent if we do not need to argue, listen to their theses and explain the reasons for the disagreement. Excluding the opponent and assigning his titles to him in times of political polarization and anticipation of election campaigns eliminates the effort of thinking.

In the same way, stigmatizing a social or racial group also facilitates the practice of exclusion, through euphemisms used to hide what we are doing from ourselves. Even worse, society embodies and makes arguments for what Silvio Almeida accurately describes as structural racism, in Your book of the same titlecrystallization of rules that naturalize and facilitate the inaccessibility of entire ethnic groups.

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Again, the idea here is that a person who is seen as another does not share the same human condition as the “elect”. In this sense, there would be no need to explain why they were excluded. They do not have enough “merit”.

In this same issue of The Atlantic, Catelyn Dickerson tells the story of Ukrainian refugees in Poland and chronicles the always imprecise racial discrimination among asylum seekers there, including a Nigerian who lived most of his life in Ukraine, where he went to complete his life. studies. Some volunteers had to fight guards on both sides of the border to allow them access to the neighboring country.

The disqualification of the other, after all, takes many forms. But, here too, education can help, in forming citizens who are able to live in diversity, to see humanity in the other and to discuss deeply divergent opinions.


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