Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Demonization of "the Other"

It's a sad day when I godwin up a post, so I'll let Nicole Belle do it, in a piece exerpted from Crooks and Liars.
David Neiwert has written about this institutionalized fear of the other, and if I may be so lazy as to co-opt his (and Orcinus blogging partner Sara Robinson's) breakdown of the construct to make some group the feared "Other". Read and see how familiar this sounds:
1. Untrustworthy, unethical with money, prone to cheat in business dealings;

2. Clannish and unwilling to assimilate into the larger culture;

3. No respect at all for the rule of law. The only way to control them is through brute force;

4. Dim-witted, lazy, fit only for physical labor -- but you have to threaten them to get off their butts, because they won't work otherwise;

5. Constitutionally weaker than members of the dominant culture;

6. Complete lack of moral self-control;

7. Bent on world domination. These plans always involve secret conspiracies and special skills known only to the clan;

8. Despite their minority status, they are thought to have far more power than their numbers, and an inordinate influence over the running of the country;

9. Heirs to an inhumanly bloody history that cannot be forgiven, and which they have never moved past (they're "bloodthirsty savages" with no redeeming qualities); and which never created anything meaningful in the way of art, music, science, or architecture (writing them out of history);

10. Congenitally to understand the subtleties of the "superior" race they live among, and thus forever brutish and inferior;

11. Inadequate personal and domestic hygiene (they smell, and their houses and businesses aren't clean). Carriers of strange diseases that threaten the dominant culture;

12. "Breeding like flies" and attendant fears that they're going to out-breed the dominant culture (this one will be tossed around regardless of actual comparative birth rates);

13. The men are out-of-control sex fiends who will sexually terrorize the dominant culture's women if not firmly restrained;

14. The women are appropriate targets for sexual abuse by men of the dominant culture. They probably even enjoy the chance to finally experience a "real man."
Take a look at any one of the right wing sites and you'll see variations on these themes over and over. I'm happy that Charles Johnson has started to speak out over the blind hatred and eliminationist rhetoric, although he too is not above wading in those waters when it comes to Muslims.

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