On Dehumanization and Idolization

Doing APUSH notes got me thinking a lot about dehumanization. We do it so often in the course of history, and it’s a large reason why people commit genocides, racist acts, and other atrocities. The more I thought about dehumanization, the more I realized that I do it on an opposite extreme in the form of idolization. My idealistic tendencies cause me to envision certain people as perfect beings, forgetting that people are hardly ever all good or all bad, they’re just everything at once. I also often make snap judgments of people (much like how Elizabeth Bennet does in Pride and Prejudice) and base my whole perception of them on a few data points.

Over the years, I’ve learned that celebrities, sociopaths, lovers, parents — whoever — are not all that different. We all have stories that deserve to be heard and respected, and we shouldn’t put people on pedestals or treat them as subhumans just because it’s easier to do so. Instead, we must strive to see the similarities in the depths of our characteristics while valuing our differences.

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