Members of the targeted group are killed, systematically denied access to food, water, shelter, or life-saving medicines, or prevented from having children.
There are innumerable ways that individuals or groups are killed by those in power, but the clear pattern is that the murders serve the purpose of preserving and/or strengthening the oppressive power structure.
- People are targeted for a specific transgression, which might be an actual crime or merely for breaking social norms. These murders may be perpetrated by the police or vigilante individuals.
- People are targeted for pushing against oppression. These murders should be seen as assassinations as the victim was perceived as a threat to the oppressive power structure and status quo of the community.
- Individuals are targeted simply for being members of the oppressed group. Members of the oppressed group often live without basic police protections, which means that anyone, bigoted or not, can kill these individuals with less concern that they will be brought to justice
- See the murder of Freddie Gray.
- Extrajudicial Executions
- Mass Murder:
- Collective punishment
- Rohingya concentration camps and ethnic cleansing.
- Mass Executions
- Police Firing into Crowds
- Anti-Minority Riots and Massacres
- Structural manipulation to ensure that the basic needs of survival are not met
- Holodomor in Ukraine – Josef Stalin murdered millions through a programmed famine.
- Genocide (see Stanton’s 8 Stages of Genocide).
- Mass sterilization
- In the US
- In Nazi Germany
- Chinese authorities force birth control on Uighar Muslim population
Given that murder is morally abhorrent and the vast majority of humans see themselves as good, ethical people, oppressive killings requires major rationalizations:
- The violence is often masked with euphemism. Instead of calling these deaths murder, that are called “collateral damage,” “pacification,” “ethnic cleansing, or “elimination of unreliable elements.” According to Steven Pinker, euphemism works “not by triggering reactions to the words themselves but by engaging different conceptual interpretations of the state of the world.” (The Better Angels of Our Nature, pg. 566).
- A narrative is created that imagines the targeted group as a corrupting or polluting force in the society, and killing them will attain a fantasy of “purity.” (See Tragic Application of Values.) In these narratives, it is common for the targeted group is often dehumanized and compared to vermin (usually rats and cockroaches).
- The targeted group is blamed for various social ills and calamities. Historically, targeted groups were often blamed and punished for famines and plagues. In the modern world, targeted groups are more likely to be blamed for high crime rates and economic recessions. The mechanism of how the targeted group could cause these things is never clear, so attackers turn to magical thinking (“God is punishing us for mixing with them”), and/or conspiratorial thinking (“Members of targeted group have secret meetings and they have secret power over society.”)