How do we as a society demonize others?How do we as a society demonize others?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, we use propoganda most frequently to demonize others. Propoganda often involves uses a piece of a truth and then spinning that just enough to make the other person look bad.

Ways to do this include using negative language when reporting something good that they have done, using emotionally charged words, and crying out that there will be devastational madness if we continue in this route with this person. This is done at every level of man: among high schoolers where we call it bullying, among working adults where we call it harassment, and among elected officials wehere we just call it politics as usual.

As a group, when you consider us a society, we cling to a set of ideals. When we think someone is outside of that radically, we demonize them. However, if they are just different by a couple of opinions we tolerate them. Doesn't really sound like a complete land of the free, does it?

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ways to demonize people in modern society have become more and more accessible and easy to create than ever. In Cyberspace, we can demonize others by cyber-bullying, spreading out false and hurtful; or humiliating information, posting pictures, or beginning fake propaganda.

In regular life, spreading gossip, starting rumors, and revealing secret facts (whether true or not) about other people constitute demonizing them/

Another thing is when a person is demonized it is usually something that has been blown out of proportion for the benefit of a small group. Therefore, when one engages in reading or even considering information without an actual basis, we are engaging in the process of possibly believing the propaganda and we run the risk of demonizing others as well

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that we do demonize others, but I think that just about any society ever made does this as well (so it's not something that is peculiar to us).  I think that we tend to demonize others by believing only the worst things about them and failing to see them as complex human beings with understandable motivations like our own.

I think you can see Americans demonizing people today.  For example, we tend to demonize Muslims, as can be see in some of the debates going on over the issue of mosques in our country.  We demonize them by thinking that they are all terrorists or terrorist supporters.  And we demonize them by thinking that they are motivated by evil intentions. (Of course, they demonize us in just the same ways...)

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with some of the above posts in that demonizing, also known as scapegoating, is partly human nature.  All government and organizations do with propaganda is exploit that aspect of our nature.  Especially when economic times are bad, as evidenced by this election cycle, it's easy to look for someone to blame.  It's easier to do that than it is to find solutions or to accept responsibility yourself.  So the path of least resistance - which humans often tend to follow - becomes to demonize another group.

History is rife with examples, both in the distant past and in the present day.  The trick, I think, is being able to maintain a cool head and to recognize scapegoating when we see it, and refuse to participate.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Demonizing, to me, is a powerful word; I'm not sure I'd use it so glibly in so many circumstances.  However, oneresult is the same as it is for stereotyping but to a greater degree--the victim is seen as a composite of all things negative rather than as an individual.  The primary way that happens is to remain ignorant and uninformed about individuals and continue to see anyone who is different as being part of "them"--whoever "them" is. Seeing and thinking about others as part of a group rather than individuals is the root of the problem, it seems to me.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
We demonize people we don't understand. We also group certain races and religions together and stereotype thorn. As with Muslims, we blame an entire race or religion for the actions of one group of extremists.