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Opinion

Dehumanization is the key to colonization

The key to successfully colonizing a land is to dehumanize the people who were already inhabiting that land.

The key to successfully colonizing a land is to dehumanize the people who were already inhabiting that land.

If you call Indigenous people uncivilized, then it’s easier to justify sending in the religions of your own society, which you claim is civilized.

If you call Indigenous people savage, then it’s easier to justify replacing their concept of communal stewardship of land and resources and replace it with private property rights.

If you call Indigenous people wild or untamed, then it’s easier to justify enslaving them as unpaid labour for your capitalist, profit-making enterprises.

If you call Indigenous people exotic, then it’s easier to justify stealing their icons, clothing, and other artifacts to display in your museums for the entertainment of your own people.

Dehumanizing Indigenous people allows you to dismiss addiction as lack of self control, instead of self-medicating to cope with the trauma inflicted upon them and the generations before them by settlers. Likewise, it allows you to dismiss all their health issues as drug or alcohol related.

Dehumanizing Indigenous people allows you to dismiss their parenting customs as unfit, justifying you in removing their children from them and placing them in residential schools or in the homes of white foster families.

Dehumanizing Indigenous people allows you to dismiss their indigeneity as suspect, justifying you in not renting to them, not hiring them, and following them in stores.

Dehumanizing Indigenous people allows you to dismiss their indigeneity as criminal, justifying you in carding them at a higher rate, arresting them at a higher rate, convicting them at a higher rate, and imprisoning them at a higher rate, while also handing them harsher sentences and later reincarcerating them.

Dehumanizing others allows you to justify your prejudices and racism towards them. After all, you can’t be racist if what you’re saying is just “facts”.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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