“There must be a reason”


Braverman’s language, says Zosseder, “is what’s causing people to think it’s OK to do what they’re doing, to spray swastikas on bus stops.”

What Braverman and other politicians do, that’s otherization, a term apparently first used by Oxford neuroscientist Kathleen Taylor, for example in her 2009 book “Cruelty. Human evil and the human brain.” People also often call it “othering”.

…even mild otherization primes people for aggression”

– Kathleen Taylor

Talking about cruelty makes it easier to be cruel – unless one’s talk incurs swift punishment. Acting out the otherizing ideas, especially in a group whose members compete for status and egg each other on, can push people into extreme otherization with remarkable speed.”

– Kathleen Taylor

the difference between someone hurling verbal abuse at an immigrant and someone beating an immigrant to death is a difference of degree, not a difference in kind”

– Kathleen Taylor

Neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett also talks about this topic in her book “Seven and a half lessons about the brain”.

A“reason why people sometimes fail to to empathize with those who look different or believe different things than they do”

may be that “it’s metabolically costly for the brain to deal with things that are hard to predict”

– Lisa Feldman Barrett

The less familiar we are with a group of people, the harder it can be to feel empathy for them. That’s why inclusivity is so important.

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