We were watching an old WWII movie and noted the way the American soldiers referred to the Germans. They used words like “Kraut” and “Natzi” when talking about their enemy. I did not judge them for this. I understand how important it is to objectify the enemy that one has to kill. I don’t know whether they would have been able to do their work had they been able to see the full humanity of those they killed. One soldier said of the German soldier they found dead in a bunker: “He was just a kid.” Humanity was not totally lost. In that moment there was a shift from “they” to “he”.
I know that this objectifying of the enemy is taught to our troops as part of their training. It is part of the training of enemy troops, too. Our American soldiers are “they” for the enemy. In fact, I, white, middle class, elderly grandmother living in a rural America am a “they” to someone somewhere.
But, let’s be honest:
“They”- the Muslims – did not destroy the World Trade Towers. A handfull did it. Are all Muslims sitting around planning another attack? Maybe a few are, but the percentage of those doing so is so minute that to fear the Muslims we see at the checkout in Walmart is irrational. Almost all Muslims are people like “us”, whoever us is, who love their kids, go to work, and like chocolate.
Black men are not all violent. A handful may be. But not every black men standing around on the corner are is thinking about the evil he can do. Maybe a few are, but the percentage are so minute that to fear the black man standing on a street corner on a Friday night is irrational. Most Black men are like “us”, whoever us is, who love their kids, go to work, and perhaps like chocolate.
Bankers are not all crooks. A handful may be. But all bankers looking over your records are not out to rob you. Maybe a few are crooks, but the percentage are so minute that fear of every banker sitting in his office is irrational. Most bankers are like “us”, whoever us is, who love their kids, go to work, and has a stash of Hershey’s kisses in his left hand drawer.
Democrats are all about spending and want to take away the freedom of the American people. Republicans don’t give a rip about the poor or the environment. Jews only care about making money. Mexicans are lazy. Grandmothers bake cookies. Christians are judgmental. Athiests have no values.
The word that people use most often for objectifying their perceived enemies is “they”. “They are all alike.” THEY ARE NOT! When will people wake up? Do “they” who put people into boxes realize the damage “they” are doing?
I needed to get this off my chest… it isn’t really off my chest. It will come back, I am sure.