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Dehumanizing death

nia.pike's picture

I agree with the arguement Judith Butler makes in her essay "Violence, Mourning, Politics" that we have become desensitized to death. I, however, do not agree that it is a dehumanitization and/or desensitization that is only targeted towards the deaths resulting from violence against "the Arab people." More than 30,000 people in the United States are shot and killed by civillian gun violence every year. The names of these people are not repeated across the country, and in large cities these deaths could be at most a five-second piece in the evening news; that is all. We, as a people, are desensitized to death in general. Society, especially the influence of the media (the commonality of death in TV shows, the lack of respect for murder on the news, etc.) tell us that death is not a big deal, that instead it is a common occurance. I know we will all die one day, and that death is a way of life. But that does not mean we should have a lack of respect for the dead, especially those dead at another's hand. Instead of having death a part of everyday life, we should be trying to prevent pre-mature death, not sweep it under the rug and ignore it because it will not go away. 


Anne Dalke's picture

"we will all die one day"

This was the message Zadie Smith delivered @ Bryn Mawr during her Emily Balch talk last month;
for those of you who missed it, it's just been published in The New Yorker: