Steve King and the Dehumanization of Others
Yesterday Congressman Steve King told constituents that the U.S. should only choose the best immigrants to accept into the nation the way one chooses “the pick of the litter”.
He continued on comparing people to his “bird dogs”. The implication that Steve King seems to view immigrants in a way similar to slave owners viewed slaves I imagine is beyond the pale of acceptable political discussion but it seems to be somewhat obvious here. Let me be clear I’m not saying that Steve King is arguing for the return of slavery or anything of the sort but I am arguing that the pathology to view people as pets or beasts of burden like hunting dogs is the same one that animated the viewpoint that enslaved Africans should be viewed as such. It is in this dehumanization of the other that leads to people being able to so casually refer to immigrants with agency thoughts and ideas as hunting pets. If we literally took the advice of Rep. King where we “pick the one that’s friskiest” to make sure we accept the best immigrants how far off would we be from looking at teeth to make sure they’re healthy. It’s human nature to create in-groups and out-groups, we act more favorably towards people who seem to be more “like us” and because it’s so easy to fall into this pattern of lazy thinking it’s important to be vigilant against appeals from politicians that prey upon that thought process. Steve King is a clown and it’s sad that he holds a place in the halls of power no matter how prominent he is or isn’t but the fact is that he is there and should be held accountable no matter how ridiculous we think he is.