For several years Elena and I have been discussing Alanna’s report on genocide and how relevant it still is. As I sit here listening to President Obama speaking at the Holocaust Museum, I decided to take the plunge, find Alanna’s thread which is almost 4 years old, June 8, 2008, and reposting it.
Read the process of how genocide happens. Think about it first in terms of the Holocaust and then how it applies in modern countries today. Then do the really uncomfortable thing and think about it in our own country. Have we contributed to making someone or a group of someones “others?” Being an “other” is where it all starts.
This was an uncanny unplanned article on Huffington Post that was discovered AFTER Moon reposted this thread.
Immigrants–particularly Latinos in both their specificity and generality–are seen as “other” than what some folks–from everyday citizens to those embedded in our national security apparatus–conceive of as “real Americans”, or productive, law abiding members of society. Even though greater than 85% of Latinos are citizens and legal residents, we disproportionately carry the burdensome weight of being illegal as stigma.
So in the case of the contemporary immigration question, specifically Latinos–not entirely unlike the Irish, Italians and Jews in times past–have been dehumanized and demonized as undesirables, as illegals. And it isn’t just those who are undocumented; we are all caricatured as “illegal criminals”. Even our children, who represent roughly a full third of our population, are caste in such stigmatizing terms as anchor babies… dog food… parasites. As Elena Schlossberg cogently stated in a 2007 county board meeting, “They are talking about children! And [politicians] have not taken a leadership role to stop this!”
June 8, 2008
At the risk of setting off a firestorm, I’d just like to post these 8 Steps that have been identified by an organization entitled – Genocidal Watch, these steps are part of a process that has been identified in cases of genocide. Again, this doesn’t mean we are having or going to have a ‘Holocaust’ experience, but it’s wise to be aware of these steps. So, here it is – The Genocidal Process ‘:
THE GENOCIDAL PROCESS
Prevention of genocide requires a structural understanding of the genocidal process. Genocide has eight stages or operational processes. The first stages precede later stages, but continue to operate throughout the genocidal process. Each stage reinforces the others. A strategy to prevent genocide should attack each stage, each process. The eight stages of genocide are classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination, and denial.
All languages and cultures require classification – division of the natural and social world into categories. We distinguish and classify objects and people. All cultures have categories to distinguish between “us” and “them,” between members of our group and others. We treat different categories of people differently. Racial and ethnic classifications may be defined by absurdly detailed laws — the Nazi Nuremberg laws, the “one drop” laws of segregation in America, or apartheid racial classification laws in South Africa. Racist societies often prohibit mixed categories and outlaw miscegenation. Bipolar societies are the most likely to have genocide. In Rwanda and Burundi, children are the ethnicity of their father, either Tutsi or Hutu. No one is mixed. Mixed marriages do not result in mixed children.