Stop Name Calling

  1. Slurs that insinuate deviance, criminality, etc.
  2. Grouping of some kind — ethnic, religious, gender, or other group — often using an epithet.
  1. Insinuating deviance, criminality, etc de-legitimizes the target’s claim to being treated with fairness and humanity.
  2. Grouping through ethnic, religious or other slur de-individualizes the target, stripping them of name, personality, and the personal traits we use to experience empathy.
  1. For a human being “in the wild” social exclusion is literally a death sentence — particularly for a small and immature individual. On a primitive level, denial of one’s membership to the support group would be life threatening. And, primitive parts of us know this.
  2. Semantic dehumanization (verbally stripping someone of human status) lowers natural inhibitions to violence. So, the emotional distress caused by a frenzy of name-calling may be more than “hurt feelings” — it may be a warning, as a potential attacker works themselves into the state for violence. This process is often seen in violent adult offenders, who will commonly preface physical assault, rape, or murder with a stream of derogatory language and epithets.

What Can I Do?

As with everything else, start by checking your own behaviors and language.

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