Disrupting Dehumanization and Affirming the Humanity of BYMOC and Their Villages
What is dehumanization? It is the persistent invalidation of humanity through perceptions or actual treatment. At the center of dehumanization is the pervasive idea that people of color do not need, and are not worthy of basic human dignities. Dehumanization threatens the healthy development of BYMOC and their villages and manifests in the narratives, policies, and practices that impact them.
THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF DEHUMANIZATION
Dehumanization is the cause of generations of historical trauma. The cycle begins with negative narratives that label people of color—particularly boys and young men—violent, criminal, and animalistic. To combat the perceived threat, dangerous actions are taken by the majority culture and systems which further dehumanize BYMOC. As a result, BYMOC and their villages often hold harmful internal feelings of unworthiness taught by their oppressors. It is not uncommon for them to engage in various forms of self-harm or to harm others. These destructive external reactions are not explained as normal responses to trauma. Stories of their negative reactions become justification for more negative narratives and the cycle begins again