Communal Discussion by: Margaret Magee, OSF, Helen Roberts, OSF, Kathie Uhler, OSF, Harriet Hamilton, OSF, Claire Bertero, OSF, Gwyen Melhado, OSF, Cindy matthews, OSFJudith Terrameo, OSF, Rosemary Weiss, and Mary Labenthaul
What are my initial thoughts about the connection between speech that demonizes others and potential violence as well as polarization?
- When we demonize others, we dehumanize them. We need to humanize the other who is also a child of God.
- We have seen this demonizing of others in our elected leaders; that is, putting others down, making fun of others, and calling them names which is dehumanizing. We especially see this happening in Florida in the attacks on LBGTQ people who fear speaking up for themselves
- It is easy to belittle another to build ourselves up. This dehumanizes the other.
- Demonizing the other(s) happens by simple negativity (the effects of original sin). Are we strong enough to stand up to this dehumanization by being positive?
- Conversion and inner transformation are possible, but we need to work on it individually and communally.
- We are keepers of each other; so how can we respond kindly to others, especially when they are negative.
- Sometimes dehumanization of the other starts as a joke ̶ these jokes put the other down; sometimes becoming the norm among a group(s).
- Compartmentalization that happens when we demonize people (good vs negative) position is dehumanizing. What does decompartmentalizing do to us? How do we embrace another and work with for something good?
Did anything I heard in the presentations surprise me or make me see the issue in a new light?
- The whole presentation surprised me ̶ the naming calling around the world and how it is dehumanizing.
- Heightened my awareness especially about teasing others and how that can be dehumanizing.
- I now see how one kind word can lift another up.
- Making a comment such as, “… but I was only kidding,” is a slam against the other.
- A children’s book entitled, “I am loveable and capable,” can help us to see how our words can hurt. We need to keep saying, “I am loveable and capable.”
- They ̶ Them ̶ thinking is promoting division. We should not use, “they speak that way because ….”
- Be aware of FaceBook jail. We need to be careful what we share as it can be dehumanizing.
- 16–30-year-old men commit most violence and young people using guns,
- The dehumanizing effect of “object and subject” and its attempt to remove another’s “divine.” We need to speak out when another is dehumanizing.
- Speech begins with thoughts, so our thoughts must also be “re-humanized.”
Might I be called to re-examine my own speech during this sacred season?
- Make a more conscious effort to speak against words that are demonizing and/or dehumanizing.
- Be attentive to the acronym for THINK: Is it truthful, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and k If not don’t say it.
- Be attentive to, “Am I being toxic,” in this moment, this time?
- Let people share their pain and not participate in dehumanization of people so that we can get to know them.
- Consider how I might “re-humanize” vs “dehumanizing.”