When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2018
In a tweet dehumanizing his former White House advisor and Apprentice contestant, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Trump represented an African-American woman as a “dog” in his attempts to discredit her accusations that he is racist. Irony?
But Trump is infamous for representing anyone who challenging him in vicious and often dehumanizing terms. Previously, this President referred to CNN anchor, Don Lemon, as “the dumbest man on television.” He questioned the intelligence of NBA star LeBron James, and he repeatedly said that California Democratic Representative Maxine Waters has a “low I.Q.”
Trump represents undocumented migrants from our southern border and the chain of sanctuary cities that protect them as “infestations,” and new in his arsenal of epithets is his term “breeders,” as if these migrants are an invading swarm of killer bees out to kill and devour the rest of us.
The German Nazis used similar language in its propaganda film Der Ewige Jude (“The Eternal Jew”) representing Jews as plague-ridden hordes of rats. The Nazi’s accepted and advanced the “scientific” view that European-heritage Jews, in fact, all Jews of every so-called “race,” constitute a separate and lower “race” as justification for extermination as vermin.
Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the German secret police (Gestapo) who became the primary architect of the Nazi anti-homosexual campaign, argued in 1933 that male homosexuals are “like women” who cannot fight in a German war effort.
By all appearances, the Springs of Life Church patterned its 1990s anti-LGBTQ propaganda film The Gay Agenda along parallel lines.
The film’s announcer forthrightly states that “17% of homosexual men consume human feces for erotic thrills [and] 20% homosexual men engage in sodomy with more than one thousand partners,” and “They spread diseases that imperil the entire society.”
A crucial point in the psychology of stereotyping and scapegoating is the representation of minoritized groups as, in classical historian John Boswell’s words, “animals bent on the destruction of the children of the majority,” and dominant groups have long dehumanized Jews and LGBTQ people as dangerous predators of young people as well.
In the Middle Ages, dominant groups depicted the image of the hyena (an animal with a supposed homosexual nature) to represent both those engaging in same-sex sexuality and Jews.
The text of a medieval manuscript declared that the hyena “is an unclean animal… sometimes male and sometimes female,” and that “the children of Israel are thought to be similar to this animal, since they first worshiped their Lord and then, abandoning themselves to pleasure and lust, venerated idols and now pursue avarice.”
The hyena’s unsavory association with Jews and those engaging in same-sex relations was perpetuated in depictions of the animal’s predatory nature, such as the claim that it robbed graves and devoured corpses. It was just a small leap of imagination that Jews and LGBTQ people also abuse and recruit young people.
By the late 1800s, members of the medical and scientific community increasingly pathologized people with same-sex desires and gender nonconforming people.
From the so-called “Eugenics Movement” of the mid-nineteenth century though the twentieth century, medical and psychological professions have often proposed, in starkly medical terms, the alleged “deficiencies,” “mental diseases,” and “physical” differences of LGBT people compared to heterosexuals and people who are cisgender.
Some members of the scientific community viewed people attracted to their own sex as constituting a distinct biological or racial type — those who could be distinguished from “normal” people through anatomical markers.
Dr. G. Frank Lydston, a urologist and professor, delivered a lecture in 1889 titled “Sexual Perversion” at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago in which he referred to homosexuals as “sexual perverts” who are “physically abnormal.”
“The unfortunate class of individuals who are characterized by perverted sexuality have been viewed in the light of their moral responsibility rather than as the victims of a physical and incidentally of a mental defect,” he said.
“Even to the moralist there should be much satisfaction in the thought that a large class of sexual perverts are physically abnormal rather than morally leprous.”
The American medical doctor, Allan McLane Hamilton, wrote in 1896 in his article “The Civil Responsibility of Sexual Perverts,” in the American Journal of Insanity, “The [female homosexual] is usually of a masculine type, or if she presented none of the ‘characteristics’ of the male, was a subject of pelvic disorder, with scanty menstruation, and was more or less hysterical and insane.”
Physician Perry M. Lichtenstein published in his 1921 medical journal article “The Fairy and the Lady Lover,” that, “A physical examination of [female homosexuals] will in practically every instance disclose an abnormally prominent clitoris,” and that the “fairy” is a “freak of nature who in every way attempts to imitate women.”
And in 1857 in France, the physician August Ambroise Tardieu wrote in his book, Medico-Legal Attacks on Morals, that, “This degeneracy is evidenced in men who engage in same-sex eroticism by their underdeveloped, tapered penis resembling that of a dog, and a naturally smooth anus lacking in radial folds.”
The first Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association-endorsed handbook of mental disorders) published in 1952 listed homosexuality as “Sociopathic Personality Disorder.”
By 1973, the APA had finally changed its designation of homosexuality for those comfortable with their sexual orientation, now asserting that it does not constitute a disorder.
Throughout history, when strong leaders engage in dehumanizing representations of entire groups of people and individuals, oppression and violence are the result until other individuals or nations intervene.
So why aren’t more Republicans trying to interrupt Donald Trump’s incessant abuses and racist attacks? They don’t want to end up in Trump’s “doghouse.”