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Hate Crimes and Enemy Imaging

Updated on February 14, 2015

Enemy Imaging, Scapegoating, and Dehumanization: The Lesson For Today.

“In Group” vs. “Out Group”

These groups are based on factors of similarity; race, religion, age, economic background, regional location,etc. In conflict people view people outside of their own group as less good, or bad. Consciously or Subconsciously the enemy may be seen as stupid, aggressive, evil, and/or less than deserving of human rights. You see the “out group” as wrong in every aspect of their lives with your “in group” being right or superior. These thoughts are present even if the actions are no different than the activities of the “in group.” Those of the “in group” tend to ignore their actions, shortcomings, or wrongdoings while emphasizing the wrongs of others.

Wikipedia defines the enemy as: the social function of designating a particular entity as a threat, thereby invoking an intense emotional response to that entity.

As a result of the “In Group/Out Group” Mentality -Scapegoating then takes place which mean you now identify “the others” as the enemy and the source of all your problems. If you could eliminate, exterminate, “those people” then all of your problems will go away.

Wikipedia reveals scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals.

Further still when enemy imaging is at its' worse; dehumanization occurs. That means again, consciously or subconsciously you view those in the out-group as less than human and evil. When such a mentality is practiced it leads to actions that are violently carried out with horrific results. War, human rights violations, and/or genocide are often the result of such thinking.

This question was posted on Yahoo:

Is racism in American increasing? (Unknown)

“Am I the only person who has noticed the incredible increase in racism in America? It seems like every youtube video featuring an African American has some comment underneath it about how stupid blacks are how ugly blacks are, how horrible blacks are etc... it's really scary! Is anyone else afraid that the next holocaust will be in America, and the victims will be African is so very very sad.”

Best Answer (Rosemary B)

“Seems like it is it's all under cover now. Seems like it's more since Obama became President.”

Do you view others that are different than you as less valuable in society?

See results

FBI Reported the following statistics:

Hate Crimes 2013

U.S. law enforcement agencies reported 5,928 hate crime incidents involving 6,933 offenses in 2013.

Single-bias incidents

Analysis of the 5,922 single-bias incidents reported in 2013 revealed that:

  • 48.5 percent were racially motivated.

  • 20.8 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.

  • 17.4 percent were motivated by religious bias.

  • 11.1 percent stemmed from ethnicity bias.

  • 1.4 percent were prompted by disability bias.

  • 0.5 percent (31 incidents) were motivated by gender-identity bias.

  • 0.3 percent (18 incidents) resulted from gender bias. (Based on Table 1.)

What Can We Do to As a Society to Change?

  1. Be honest regarding your prejudices, your childhood influences regarding race, and your preconceived notions about other races and/or groups of people.

  2. Understand that people are human. Just like you: “they” have loved ones, parents, family, and friends that care for them and their well-being.

  3. Stop believing the negative media images and stereotypical televisions shows that often perpetuate and attempt to confirm stereotypes in an effort to further promote “in group/out group” thinking.

  4. Spend time stepping out of the box to get to know someone who is similar to you but perhaps different. Understand their story. If you want to do this on a small scale I can recommend watching a show like “Undercover Boss.” Every time I watch those executives work the front lines of jobs and hear the stories of the employees- my heart is enriched. You always walk away from the show realizing that you are a piece of the significance in the world, a profound understanding that everything is not about you, and people have stories beyond the surface person you meet.

  5. Open yourself up to conversations with people that are different but enjoy similarities without subconsciously having conversations with people to justify your prejudices. Next time you are at a bar, art gallery, or concert just say hello to someone that appears similar to you. You never know who someone is until you discover their story. *******Do not approach someone changing your dialect or speaking in colloquialisms. That behavior is extremely inappropriate, disrespectful, and degrading. Be yourself.


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