‘Thingification’ running roughshod over decency
SUSAN K. SMITH | 5/29/2018, noon
Crazy Faith Ministries
This week, the president of this nation – a White man who seems so glued to his Whiteness that he cannot move without it making itself known and heard – called a group of people “animals.”
The group was undocumented immigrants that he said were “dangerous people” that are trying to get into the United States.
“We have people coming into the country or trying to come in [and] we’re stopping them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” The New York Times quoted him saying.
The reaction to what the president said was swift; people and organizations were appalled, which caused the Trump machine and Trump surrogates to clarify that the president was only talking about a certain group of undocumented immigrants.
That was supposed to make everything all right.
The phenomenon of white supremacy is the core of the American value system. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will ‘thingify’ them – make them things.” From the birth of this nation, those who were running the system of white supremacy made people “things;” Black people were thingified, certainly, but so were women, children, Native Americans and poor White people. White supremacy is a friend to no one but itself, and it works to keep wealthy, white men in control.
Because those in power, those in control of the white supremacist machine – thingified people in order to exploit their bodies, time and talent for the purpose of making the system the wealthiest in the world, they lost the capacity to see fellow human beings as human and to consider the damage they did as they used people but did not connect with them as human.
So, breaking up the families of Africans brought to this land did not affect them; they could not see the anguish in the eyes of mothers whose babies were being snatched from their arms and they could not hear the screams of those same babies as they were thrust into the arms of an unknown person. They could not relate to the anguish of Native Americans as they were robbed of their land; they could not consider the possibility that their treatment of everyone who was not White, male and wealthy had a deleterious effect on them.
And so even though many cringed and are still cringing at the fact that the president of this nation called a group of people “animals,” even as he is kissing the feet of a known, murderous dictator names Kim Jung Un, he and his “base” can see nothing wrong. This man, who “thingified” Mexicans at the beginning of his campaign, sees good in white supremacist groups, honors dictators and says this country will “protect” them, sees nothing ironic or wrong in what he is doing or saying. He does not care that the vast number of Americans who heard his “animals” remark will not take the time to distinguish between which immigrants are legal and which are not; he does not realize or will not acknowledge that his words will lead to more violence against innocent people.