Can we stop de-humanizing each other?

The following post is from a dear friend and fellow actor: Dustin Moore.  I met Dustin on the Internet, Twitter actually, and I’m delighted to say that we’ve been friends for several years now. He wrote this wonderful journal entry as a plea to all of us, stop dehumanizing each other. It’s a touching post, but it’s also a very important post. I hope you enjoy!

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Dear Journal,

Can we stop de-humanizing each other?

Like many people in this country, I have found myself caught in the crossfire of a gun debate within my family. It is the kind of thing that can suck you in if you aren’t careful. Like abortion or other hot-button issues, everyone has a strong opinion and strong feelings about guns.

Thankfully, I am not going to enter the debate with this entry. I mainly wanted to ask the question: “Can we stop de-humanizing each other?” 

This debate, like many recently in our country has brought to my attention how quickly all large arguments degrade into name-calling and demonization. Ads about how dangerous and evil the opponent to my position is or how hypocritical they are and on and on.

Can we please stop?

Are we really so desperate to defend our ideas, wants, positions and ideologies that we are willing to strip away our opponents humanity?

Strip apart his dignity, self respect and motives until he can be nothing but our worst enemy. That his mere existence threatens your well being and safety. And that you must act. Act to stop your enemy.

Every conflict on this earth; every time a hand is raised against another human on this planet begins with this process of dehumanization.

My dehumanization of you begins when I write a story in my head. In that story I dress you in the clothes of a monster. A monster that is after me and my children. A monster that is wicked and devious and would like nothing than to hurt my family, my well-being or my way of life.

Maybe I don’t have to give you monster clothes, because you are already different from me in some visible way; the color of your skin for instance. Every little difference that makes you special becomes another reason why you are such a monster. Because anything that that isn’t “Me” is wrong.

This enemy I have created, is worth nothing other than destruction. And since I am threatened, I will not hesitate to destroy you to protect myself. Clearly, given the chance you will destroy me first.

This is a story. You are not destroying me. You are not hurting me. If you were actually physically doing those things, I wouldn’t be worried about your ideas, I would be fighting for my life.

We accept these stories as reality. We respond to our fellow man as if they were actually that monster. Not the man or woman that looked on their newborn infant with love and hope. Someone who worried about how they were going to feed their family or make sure their children had a chance to laugh sometimes and feel safe.

The irony of it all is that in creating the story “Monster” in my head and assigning you to that role, I become your monster.

Since you are my enemy, I will stop you.
I will hurt you.
I will kill you because you are my monster, and now I am yours.

Stop.

Can we please stop?

You have a story. But it is so much more dynamic and beautiful than the one I create for you. It is unique in the universe.

When will we start treating or fellow man with basic dignity and respect and love? It is not love to demonize, name call, minimize, and dehumanize. 

Love.

There is risk in loving our fellow man. Because in our humanity we do hurt each other. And to love is to put the well being of others above our fear of being hurt.

I hope that there are people out there that want this too journal. I hope that I am not the only one who wants to talk to the person I disagree with and find the ways that we are the same, not different.

Who knows journal?

I guess I need to overcome my own fears and start looking for those people.

TL;DR: I am tired of all the name calling and dehumanization we do to those who disagree with us or have something we want. 

By Dustin Moore

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