I found our discussion of dehumanizing the oppressed to be quite thought provoking. The example of dehumanizing non-heterosexual couples through the legal system got me thinking about the other forms of legal dehumanization and oppression that occur. I was taken back to Michelle Alexander’s discussion of the “New Jim Crow,” and how black people and other people of color are treated as second hand citizens through the legal system. Alexander at one point breaks down the ways in which a felon is treated the same way that black people were treated during the Jim Crow era: they can’t vote, it’s hard to get jobs, they can’t serve on a jury (and by extension cannot be tried by a jury of their peers), and much more. These are all examples of ways that people of color are dehumanized and oppressed still. I’m sure there are innumerable other examples of this type of dehumanization that Freire discuses.

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4 responses »

  1. ariatung says:

    Not only are these people who were convicted as felons discriminated against legally, but also just purely socially. People generally have very negative opinions towards people who have been convicted of a crime, no matter what crime. The fact that they spent time in jail, give them a bad rep, which isn’t fair.

  2. krystalyiranli says:

    Definitely agree with you. The dehumanization towards to the oppressed occurs in this society in different groups and this is absolutely unfair. Neither of the felon nor race group like the black should be treated in this way. They deserve equal rights rather than this ‘dehumanization’ from the dominant society and mainstream. The elimination of the stereotypical negative opinions towards these people is definitely very crucial of this process. People should stop enforcing their negative opinions on these groups of people.

  3. ddmaoz says:

    I agree, I believe that at the root of every oppression is this dehumanization. As long as mainstream media and institutions create an image of the oppressed as un-human, stigmatizing some as felons, or criminals, or people who have come to steal jobs, it will be a lot harder for people to see the living conditions of so many people in the US as inhumane. This dehumanization is a barrier to asking ourselves “what if it were me?” It pushes us to criticize the reaction of the oppressed to their oppression, rather than oppose the conditions of their oppression. Every system of oppression has dehumanization mechanisms that enable oppression to keep operating. If we grew up without perceiving the stigma that’s attached to the oppressed, we would not be ok with their treatment.

  4. palomapineda19 says:

    I also think dehumanization is extremely pertinent in politics today and how we exercise our right to vote. Issues today are simplified down to pro or con ex: pro life or pro choice and in many instances we fail to recognize the implications of adhering to a highly polarizing political atmosphere. Like you brought up it’s important to recognize the oppressed and put a name, and a face to these mechanisms that further oppression. It’s extremely important to keep up this mindset when we approach voting in this upcoming election and the ways in which we need to put agency back into the oppressed.

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