Europeans view Muslims as backward.. the blatant dehumanization

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Afhrasianet - Hassan Al-Asi - You don't have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanize others. You just have to be a normal human being” (British psychologist, professor of philosophy at the University of New England David Livingstone Smith, author of my book “Dehumanization and How to Resist” about Oxford University in 2020, and his tenth book “The Making of Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization, Harvard University 2021.

The relationship between dehumanization and racism, what it means to consider others not human, and how dehumanizing others turns into something so brutal that they must be destroyed is shocking and terrifying.

Some believe that their enemies are monsters and therefore easy to kill - as happened in Rwanda in 1994 at the altar of genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Calling someone a monster is not just a refuge in metaphor - dehumanization is already taking place in many places in this ugly world. black sheep During the refugee crisis in 2015, some European politicians spoke of "swarms" and "human waste".

In the 2016 US presidential campaign, President Trump spoke of a "massive cross-border spread of an infectious disease". On a later occasion, his son called the infamous wall along the Mexican border a "zoo fence."

The likely candidate for the French presidency, the far-right Eric Zemmour, stated that he welcomes Ukrainian refugees because they are “Christian European people, closer to the French than the waves of immigrants from Arab Muslim countries and Middle Eastern countries.

In Switzerland, Ulrich Schluer, director in charge of the newspaper “Swiss Time” and one of the prominent politicians in the People’s Party with the “Black Sheep” campaign to prevent immigration. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Urban’s racist statement this year, who rejected the plural society, saying, “We move to other places, we work abroad, we mix inside Europe. But we don't want to be a mixed race or (a) multi-ethnic people" mixed with "non-Europeans".

Muslims are inferior

Two leading researchers in the field of social psychology, Nour Kteily (Northwestern University) and Emile Bruneau (University of Pennsylvania), have shown that the majority of the population in both the United States and a number of European countries willingly advertise That different ethnic and religious minority groups in their countries are "less developed" than the indigenous ethnic population.

This therefore applies to Muslim refugees in Europe, as well as Mexicans, Latinos, and Muslims in the United States. In 2019, the researchers explored the impact of blatant dehumanization to predict negative group attitudes and behaviors.

They examined the blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees during the 2015/2016 “refugee crisis” among large samples in four European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, and Greece.

The findings indicated that the blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees is (a) prevalent among Europeans, and (b) uniquely associated with anti-refugee attitudes and behavior, beyond political ideology and prejudice, and is particularly relevant to the refugee crisis.

The researchers also found that blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees is much higher and strongly correlates with behavior among groups in Eastern European countries (particularly the Czech Republic) than in Spain and Greece. By examining a range of external goals outside of refugees, the findings further demonstrate that blatant dehumanization is not purely racial prejudice. While individuals across contexts feel warmth toward their group more than others, they classify many high-status outgroups as "equally or fully and civilly developed" from the group.

The research concludes that blatant dehumanization plays an important and independent role in the rejection of Muslim refugees throughout Europe. Measuring dehumanization with the 'rise' of nations In a series of seven studies, Kteily and colleagues Adam Waytz, associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, Emile Bruneau of MIT, and Sarah Cotterill of Harvard University, used the graphic

The well-known "Rise of the Human" schematic to determine the willingness of participants to grossly dehumanize others. The sketch, altered and even parodied over the years, dates back to an illustration of Time-Life Books from the 1960s. It shows five figures in silhouette who are depicted as being in different stages of civilization development - from four curved legs on the far left to a straight human on the far right.

In their studies, the researchers asked participants to rank where the different groups fell on the evolutionary spectrum. "It's definitely a provocative scale," Ketely says. But we wanted to capture dehumanization in the clearest and most unambiguous terms possible. We wanted to make sure there weren't two ways for this to happen."

The first study involved 201 Americans. These participants were shown a chart of the man's ascent on a computer with 13 different nationalities or ethnic and religious groups listed, and asked to indicate "how advanced [they] were considering the average number of people in each group." Participants did this by moving the slider next to each group to any point on the man's scale.

The researchers converted the responses into a numerical order from 0 to 100 where 100 represents the highest point of evolution, the corresponding silhouette of a "whole" human. In the result, Europeans and Americans ranked first and second with 91.9 and 91.5, respectively. Six other groups were within two points of that and thus statistically indistinguishable from the Americans: the Swiss, the Japanese, the French, the Australians, the Austrians, and the Icelanders.

Five groups scored significantly lower: Chinese (88.4), South Koreans (86.9), Mexican immigrants (83.7), Arabs (80.9), and Muslims (77.6). "These perceptions are extreme," Ketely says. “But they are not confined to the margins, where the influence is led by one or two persons. Very large numbers of people were willing to dehumanize other groups.”

Experience application in Denmark

 A Danish study conducted by the Danish Lundbeck Research Center in 2020, showed that the Danes view Muslims as being in the Stone Age stage. International research shows that this form of dehumanization generates counterpressure and can lead to a violent downward spiral.

The center measured the degree to which Danes are willing to say that Muslims are less developed. In the study, the same scale used by the above-mentioned researchers in the USA, Britain, Hungary, and Greece, among other countries, was used.

Therefore, about 1,200 Danes, who were representatively selected for the different samples, were asked to read the following instructions: “You sometimes hear the view that people differ in their human appearance.

Some peoples are sometimes described as highly developed, while others are described as indistinguishable from lower animals. Using the image below as a guide and moving the cursor over the scales below, we ask you to indicate How developed you are in the perception of the average member of the different groups.

The participants then placed 14 different groups on the attached picture scale. As can be seen from the figure, the participants can place the different groups from 0 to 100, which correspond respectively to the least and most developed with respect to the associated illustration.

The results were clear: The Danes showed clear signs of dehumanization as previous research in other countries had found. Where the Danes put Muslims in the Stone Age stage. The religious minority "Muslims" were rated with an average of 64 in the Stone Age stage.

Participants were asked about ethnic minority groups such as Turks and Arabs, and the average rank of these groups was: Turks 70 and Arabs 65. For comparison, the center also asked study participants to place the "Scandinavian" and "European" groups on the same scale. Thus these two groups can be considered as representative of the Danes' perception of the majority group in Danish society. The average rank of "Scandinavians" was 86, while that of "Europeans" was 85.

Thus, the minority group "Muslims" is seen as about 25% less developed than the two majority groups, but Muslims are also significantly less developed than Asians, according to participants, for example, who score 76. This Danish study of 1,200 representative Danes, although not part of a scientifically published article, is referenced in a number of scientific articles.

The study's authors state that it does not necessarily imply that the majority of Danes view Muslims as developmentally backward and backward. Participants may have used the scale to express their general attitude towards and (their lack of sympathy) with Muslims.

But the way this attitude is expressed can make a difference in social harmony. When you are deprived of your humanity as a minority, it brings with it hate and anger.

This is indicated by the results of many international studies. The center that supervised the study finds it difficult to understand how the same basic group dynamics and processes occur in Denmark.

In other words, how do we refer to each other. But, whatever one might think of these statements, in all cases they build a linguistic bridge between immigrants and minorities on the one hand, and less-developed animal species on the other. Dehumanization Dehumanization is one of the eight forms of "moral decoupling" in which Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura described humans as capable of horrific crimes.

Human civilization has developed its tools to prevent aggression, but it has not eliminated violence. This is partly due to techniques for creating (false) excuses and justifications for unethical behaviour. All moral disengagement techniques are ploys to get people to accept behaviors that they would immediately recognize as immoral and unfair. For example, assuming that most people are not fans of the abuse of women, other dehumanizing and dehumanizing strategies are used to trick people into accepting the abuse of some women. Manipulators do this to secure power or financial profit. Bandura's moral disengagement theory holds that during social evolution, behavior is reinforced or punished through the use of various actions, a regulation to which we are subject over time through assimilation through socialization. Little by little. We develop a sense of morality that regulates our behavior based on the values defined in our way of being. Thus, we tend to act in a manner consistent with, and self-regulating, the standards of behavior we have internalized.

But it is sometimes possible for people to take actions that are inconsistent with these internal values and standards (for convenience, conformity, survival, or other possible reasons) that usually cause dissonance between what we do and what we think.

This will lead to an increase in internal tension and the emergence of self-discomfort in front of the performance itself, when a moral conflict arises. In these cases, and especially when the violation is a strong disconnect from our beliefs and values, it is common for Bandura to advocate selective moral detachment, using various defense mechanisms to try to legitimize actions, despite its conflict with his own moral system that disrupts self-regulation, and moral blame becomes The elements are irrelevant and defensible for the person himself.

This separation occurs gradually, so that after a while more and more behaviors that are initially considered unacceptable, silly, cruel, or even criminal can be accepted. Thus, the self-concept is protected and the usual self-regulation process does not appear, as various defense mechanisms are used.

This theory is based on the idea that the interaction between behavior and thinking is deeply influenced by environmental, personal, and behavioral factors, and ethics are also affected by the influence of cognition, emotions, and social interactions. Bandura's theory of moral detachment, as we saw in the introduction, is applicable to all kinds of situations: from the simple and the trivial, to major war crimes.

Obviously, the more difficult it is to separate behavior from the moral, the more difficult it is to apply, and the greater the need for extensive use of defensive mechanisms, which prevent the destruction of self and self-concept. populist revival The report of the European Network against Racism "Enar" for the year 2021 stated that the tone of hostility to asylum seekers and immigrants is increasing in Europe, as populist and far-right groups and parties spread their ideas widely, especially through social media.

The report stated that the number of demonstrations and protests reveals the strong influence of extremist right-wing groups with regard to spreading their anti-Islam perceptions, asylum seekers and immigrants in Europe.

The network documented statements by elected politicians from countries such as Romania, Slovenia, and Hungary, which bear a lot of hostility towards foreigners. As for the inflammatory rhetoric, especially against Muslim immigrants, there are many citizens in the European Union. In Poland and Croatia, parties with racist ideas received more than 30% of the vote.

These percentages were around 20% in Austria, Denmark, and Hungary. While you do not find this phenomenon widespread in Spain, for example, according to the report of the network.

disturbing facts

History is full of examples of how people of different races, religions, or ethnic backgrounds have been dehumanized. Consider the fact that slaves in the United States were counted as three-fifths of a person when determining representation in Congress, or that the Nazis routinely referred to certain racial groups as "insects."

The debate over the past several years about the integration of minorities in European countries has been characterized by a debate about the actual political content of this debate, and about the tone of the debate, that is, the way immigrants are talked about. The results of this project serve as an urgent reminder that real discrimination persists and contributes to political and societal violence.

In other words, dehumanization leads to a vicious cycle that only exacerbates the possibility of solving actual problems that may exist with regard to immigration and integration.

The pressure generates the counter pressure. When the majority group expresses that minorities are less developed, minorities respond by perceiving the population majority in the same way.

The fact that blatant dehumanization of certain groups in a number of countries is real and widespread is also very worrying. It requires us to ask, How can we transcend these deeply troubling perceptions and improve attitudes and behaviors between different groups?

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