Lucia has something to say

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Border

She lives on the border.

"The cockroaches," she said, "leave trash all over my land."

"The cockroaches?" he asked.

"The illegals who cross," she said. Las cucarachas. "You see one and there are another hundred that you don't see."

Calling people cockroaches. Is a dangerous first step to dehumanization. In Rwanda, the Hutus called the Tutsis cockroaches. Before they started their campaign to exterminate them. The power of words is strong. And can subtly sway people. Like the frog in the water set to boil. Without them noticing.

8 Comments:

Blogger thailandchani said...

Oh, gawd! (sigh) I'm ready to move now. Now. This makes me sick!

9:47 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i know. i know. i was at a parent's gathering yesterday and someone commented on M's name and how they liked the unusualness of it. i replied that it was Arabic and they actually said "i don't like it so much now".

wow. just wow.

10:18 AM  
Blogger meno said...

This tells you the importance of these people to her. Bugs to be squished. Sad.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Have you read A Brief History of Genocide by Barbara Colloroso? She talks alot about the steps between school yard bully and genocidaire, and the language that dehumanizes along the way. I think you'd find it interesting.

10:50 AM  
Blogger amusing said...

It creeps in, the attitudes.... I saw it creep along in the south when people would talk about how slow that black girl behind the counter was, how stupid that black girl at the Piggly Wiggly was, how they all freaked out when a little black kid from the neighborhood wandered on campus....
it's one of the very, very bad parts of human nature

9:52 PM  
Blogger ThomasLB said...

They've already been dehumanized. The first step was calling them "aliens" or "illegals" instead of "people."

The ironic thing is that our economy is now totally dependent upon a poverty class to do the real labor. If all those workers packed up and went home, this country would collapse.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

The thing is, she probably wouldn't think of herself as racist.

The language is the first step; as an English teacher, I'm mindful of it all the time.

4:08 PM  
Blogger kat said...

it's sick how people are so dismissive like that. it's shameful, really.

4:28 PM  

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