Gods and Demons: The Politics of Disgust

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b**ch off the field right now? He’s fired. He’s fired!” ~ Donald Trump

 “This may be one of the most vile and disgusting things that president Trump has ever said in a very long and impressive list of vile and disgusting things,”
~ Marc Lamont Hill

I’ve been thinking a lot about disgust these past few months. Not physical disgust, making you crinkle up your nose and say, “ewwh!”; but moral disgust, that toxic feeling that comes when we experience words, actions, or beliefs and the people who espouse them as morally tainted, stupid, evil, insane, or…..deplorable.

In our politically-divided country, disgust is increasingly what we feel for “the other side.” We can’t understand how “those people” can believe and feel as they do; they are so incomprehensible to us that they become “other,” the out-group to our own identified in-group. They must be bad, probably irredeemable. We want nothing to do with them. We will stay in our own, lovely echo-chambers, thank you very much.

Disgust erodes communication because, in the throes of disgust, we no longer think of the other as quite completely human, and therefore, not truly worthy of being heard and understood; perhaps, unconsciously, not quite worthy of kindness. Psychologists and sociologists call this infrahumanization – perceiving the out-group to be less human.

To continue reading my full post Gods and Demons: The Politics of Disgust, click here.

The full blogpost is hosted on my new website, 21stcenturykindness.com, a website that focuses on Kindness as one of the most important 21st century skills.

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