Dehumanisation doesn’t have to be conscious to be real.
It’s in the scary uncertain situations that our unconscious fear of the other causes us to shoot first and only figure out later whether the danger was real. From a pure survival standpoint it’s completely rational. But that doesn’t mean that our society shouldn’t aspire to be better than that.
No human is born bad. I fully believe that any person is capable of dehumanising others should the right emotional conditioning be applied.
The only way to figure out how to stop bad things from happening is to first understand how that conditioning works; to figure out what influences caused someone to conclude that the pain they’re going to cause is irrelevant compared to getting what they feel like they need.
It’s worth noting at this point: Empathy is not the same thing as agreement. I feel like there are far too many people who fail to see this distinction. I believe in universal empathy. I believe that there is no person who is beyond help. I know that no matter how many times I or anyone else gets hurt, punishing bad people wont fix anything.
Keeping people safe does not require us to dehumanise anyone.