London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Developing civic dispositions by generating experiences around democratic ideals

Author(s) Doyle Stevick  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2002  
Editor Future Citizens in Europe Ed. Alistair Ross  
Language English  
Age group -  
A few years ago, a former Latin student whom I had failed appeared on CNN. He was driving around shooting people. Not just anyone, but what he called 'mud people': blacks, Jews, Asians. After shooting eleven people, and himself twice, he managed to finish himself off while shouting 'nigger' at an officer who was trying to wrestle a gun away from him. The news called him 'the white supremacist' Benjamin 'August' Smith. His picture glared from the screen. Had I not known him, it would never have occurred to me that he was a person. To me he was just Ben, an unmotivated, introverted and otherwise unremarkable young man.1 He did not see many of his fellow Americans as humans, and strangely, now the media were encouraging me to do the same with him. As you can imagine, the media treatment was no different after Columbine, or 9/11. Many would flatly deny that the perpetrators of these crimes were, or had ever been, human. Yet as people, we are all too susceptible to the dehumanization of those who are portrayed to us as irredeemably evil. Somehow, we are all undergoing a similar process.

Back to search results


   Page last updated 09 March 2011