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Some Politicians “Dehumanize” Blacks Through Degrading & Incendiary Rhetoric


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This is part two of our three part series on race, media and politics.
Washington Post’s Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Wesley Lowery covers law enforcement, justice and he served as the lead reporter for The Post in Ferguson, Missouri.
He has covered the Black Lives Matter Movement for a number of years. And, in November, he had a book published called “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement.”
Lowery has traveled the country studying cases where African Americans have been shot by police and talking with community organizers and residents. He has chronicled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He notes that the inflammatory political rhetoric during the 2016 Presidential Campaign took the spotlight away from the movement which had been gaining momentum. Politicians often denigrated Blacks and other urban dwellers. The media covered this desecration as part of “normal” campaign coverage
Urban citizens were characterized by politicians as being violent, angry, desperate, and out-of-control. Neighborhoods are often characterized as being “war-zones.”
Lowery also says that politicians often “dehumanize” urban dwellers similar to the way soldiers dehumanize the enemy. If someone is less than human, then one doesn’t care what happens to that person. They get what they deserve according to the rhetoric.
Dehumanizing equals desensitizing. Both are negative to urban dwelling blacks and other people of color, according to Lowery.
Lowery also is critical of media – especially broadcast – for filing our homes with negative and misleading images of Blacks.
For example, Lowery has often gone to neighborhoods just outside areas of major demonstrations and found that most people were living their lives in a normal fashion while the demonstration was going on just blocks away. But, he says, those images are never shown.
Instead, we just see the glaring images of angry black men and women who appear out-of-control and dangerous. They are not the whole neighborhood or the majority of urban citizens. Yet, they are what the media characterizes as the typical inner city dweller.