How does Sam Keen show dehumanizing, discrimination and injustice in Faces of the Enemy?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Sam Keen's Faces of the Enemy defines the process of dehumanizing, discrimination, and injustice in the world today. So popular, the text has influenced a documentary produced by Bill Jersey (1987). Keen even narrated the documentary stating the importance lies in the fact that "before we make war, even before we make weapons, we first create the idea of an enemy whom we can fight" (New York Times review of Faces of the Enemy, 1987).

As for his ideology of dehumanization, discrimination, and injustice, Keen believes that we (as humans) always identify ourselves as the victim. After this identification, we discriminate against those who have victimized us. Lastly, we dehumanize those who have victimized us in order to rationalize the murder of them (the mindset being that they are not human and their lives are not worth that of a human; therefore, it is easier to do away with them).

Keen illuminates the one commonality which exists for all of mankind: victimization. All groups are able to define themselves as victims of others groups. Therefore, once defined as a victim of another, it is easy to hate the oppressing group (regardless if the group actually acted against them or not). One must remember that it is not always about the facts of something; it can be about how one interprets life as it is handed out).

Keen defines the harm of propaganda (in identifying and illustrating how racist terms and images dehumanize). He also includes the ideologies of two psychologists in order to define the impact of those who have victimized and war upon the victim (either real or imagined).

Essentially, Keen illustrates the ideas of dehumanizing, discrimination, and injustice through real world examples, psychological analysis, and "new's reel" reality.

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