August 19, 2019
David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, was recently featured in several media outlets across the country speaking about President Donald Trump and dehumanization.
Smith was also quoted in a New York Times article linking language used by President Donald Trump to a manifesto written by the man accused in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The 21-year-old suspect is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration.
In the article Smith said Trump had emboldened Americans whose views were seen as unacceptable in everyday society not long ago.
“This has always been part of American life,” Smith told the New York Times. “But Trump has given people permission to say what they think. And that’s crack cocaine. That’s powerful. When someone allows you to be authentic, that’s a very, very potent thing. People have come out of the shadows.”
Smith was also interviewed about the impact of hate speech for Cheddar, a live and on demand video news network.
Smith is the author of the award-winning book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others. The book explores how some people depict groups of others as less than human.
He is currently working on two more books on the subject of dehumanization—one to be published by Harvard University Press and the other by Oxford University Press. His paper "Manufacturing monsters: dehumanization and public policy" appeared in The Palgrave Companion to Philosophy and Public Policy.