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Demonization and Political Rhetoric

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Eric Lucas       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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"...I stand in the middle of two opposing forces... One is a force of complacency...they have adjusted to segregation. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred...Nourished by the...frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America...and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil..." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From A Birmingham Jail

DEMONIZING WORDS

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Demonizing words are the precursors of violence and annihilation. Both the wise and the truly political avoid them in trying to advance true change and progress. Efforts at demonization are attempts to create change based on a lie. Such efforts are not progressive, nor will they result in true change.

In my article, Law, Truth, Meaning, and Lies [1] , I argued:

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There is another type of lie. This is the offensive/aggressive lie. It has destruction as its primary aim. This type of lie, at its core, is an attempt to paint a person or situation as totally negative some would say as "totally evil." Much of its power inheres in its tendency to demonize. This is the killing type of slander and innuendo, which ruins reputations and destroys careers. It is the type of lie Hitler told about the Jewish people. It is the kind of lie Nixon told about John Dean. [2] It is the kind of lie Iago tells Othello about Desdemona. [3]

And it is the kind of lie told against black people and other racial minorities in order to justify their oppression, enslavement and/or genocide. The primary characteristic of such a lie is its destructive impulse, its goal of annihilation. What is always destroyed? The target's humanity.

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THE MIDDLE WAY: NO WHITE DEVILS

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Eric Z. Lucas is an alumnus of Stanford University (Creative Writing Major: 1972-1975), the University of Washington (1981: BA English Literature and Elementary Education) and Harvard Law School, J.D. 1986. Since law school he has been a public (more...)
 

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