When I began module 1, the thing that struck me was the motivation of the colonists. It looked like they were trying to produce a fortune for themselves, and inhumanely using other people was a means to accomplish that. To me it looks like in many of these cases of racism there is a selfish motive of some kind driving these actions. I also think fear of the other is part of it, too. I'm inclined to think fear of the other can often drive racism. It seems to me that fear helped motivate people to do some of these disgusting things, like setting up a concentration camp and relocating all those Japanese Americans to this camp during the war, or putting people crossing the U.S. / Mexico border through a humiliating and unsafe, inhumane fumigating and inspecting process. I'm shocked at learning these things and what I find myself wondering, "what was in that person's heart when they were doing that?" I think of the role Richard Henry Pratt played in Indian assimilation and the boarding school era. Did he think what he was helping start was wrong? Did it bother his conscience? People like me look back now and are shocked at the effect of the project Pratt played a significant role in. And I think it comes back to dehumanization. In the video about racist medical abuse, I consider what that young woman endured from J. Marion Sims attempting a procedure 30 times to her as he was trying to develop a treatment for a condition. Why was she chosen to be the test subject? Why was this done to her in particular? It really appears that her status as a slave and having dark skin meant to Sims that it was a reasonable, or acceptable choice to subject her to what sounds like torture.
Also in the boarding school era there was a very present notion of indigenous peoples as "savages". The families adopting Native American children believed they were "saving" them from their former state. They were stripping that child of their family, their way of life, their own language and everything pertaining to their culture but the idea being perpetuated was that they were making them "civilized"--changing them from what was considered "savage" to what was considered "acceptable." I suppose they wouldn't consider that child a person when they were still with their biological family members, and speaking their own language.