Dehumanization is a process that deprives people or groups of people of human qualities. We believe that to be fully human is to be a subject in one’s own reality. In other words being a human who is fully alive involves being able to see and name what is around us (both in terms of physical things, but also systems and ideas), identify our place in this environment, and then take action to modify the environment we find ourselves in as needed. The ability to act in a way that creates change within the environment is what makes a person a subject as opposed to an object. If a person is not allowed to create change within an environment or system, then it has reduced them to a lifeless object.
Because to be fully human is to be a subject in one’s own reality, when humans are objectified, their humanity is stolen from them. This theft of humanity is dehumanization. Dehumanization is a process that strips life from a person and is inherently an act of violence. Because dehumanization is violent, we believe this means it is unjust, cruel, and to be avoided at all costs.