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Fear of the Other

jogengo's picture

There was a quote in the "Three Generations of Imbeciles are Enough" chapter of Neilson's work that made me reflect on a point made in class last week. It reads: "The warehousing of those considered deviant in one way or another, combined with the threat of sterilization, policed behaviors and literally controlled the reproduction of social norms." Something we have seen a lot in modern and past politics is the disenfranchisement of Black and Brown people, of the disabled population, and of other hard-working citizens. For example, legislation preventing some disabled citizens from voting, voting laws including ID laws, in addition to blatant gerrymandering to prevent the majority from gaining their deserved power and voice. Wealthy white men in power will lose their position to govern if these populations were given the legitimacy to exercise their voice in elections and related events. As a result, as they did previously, and as they will continue to do now, they have put forward their best efforts to silence, to other, and to discard those who pose legitimate threats to their longevity of maintained power. Many wealthy, white, able-bodied individuals in power are aware of and fear how they are representing the minority. This population does not represent the majority now, nor did it ever. And, in efforts to retain their power, they felt as though they had no other option but to cast away women who didn't fit the normative roles of their gender for that time, the LGBTQ+ population, Black and Brown people as they "lacked the mental and physical capacity to handle contemporary and civilized life," disabled individuals in any way shape and form, and so many others. In doing so, they hoped to keep this majority silent and carry on as if they didn't exist. While many people may consider the applications of these issues to the present day much more dramatic, it must be considered that these issues are ongoing and still occurring on some part of the same spectrum. I also want to comment briefly on how many people may reflect on issues relating to forced sterilization and mass institutionalization of anyone deviant from the norm as issues of the past. However, the recency of these events, many of which occurring not even 100 years ago needs to be remembered and considered. These atrocities are not so far in the past that their impacts don't live out to this day. Additionally, many of the effects of these policies remain to this day. In efforts to ensure that we, as a society, do better, we must remember this history, inform others of the stories of those impacted, and constantly remind ourselves of how contemporary these atrocities were and are.