The BRAD BLOG : Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization

History’s most blatant example, the “final solution,” was not the product of some inherent psychological deficiency in the German people. To the contrary, Zimbardo informs us, it was the product of a deliberate campaign carried out in newspapers, on radio, in required texts of school children, and even in comic books, which “sought to create the perception of Jews as a sub-human race that was a threat to the national state.” Dehumanization is by no means unique to Nazi Germany. To the contrary, Zimbardo observes, citing Sam Keen’s analysis of the “hostile imagination” in Faces of the Enemy, it “is created by virtually every nation’s propaganda on its path to war….”

Zimbardo writes: “The process begins with stereotyped conceptions of the other,…conceptions of the other as worthless, the other as all-powerful,…the other as a fundamental threat to our cherished values and beliefs. With public fear notched up and enemy threat imminent, reasonable people act irrationally, independent people act in mindless conformity, and peaceful people act as warriors. Dramatic visual images of the enemy on posters, television, magazine covers, movies, and the internet imprint on the recesses of the limbic system, the primitive brain, with the powerful emotions of fear and hate.” More here.