Dehumanization and Racial Epithets in The Darfur Genocide


Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 12:00


Wenona Rymond-Richmond
Dr. Wenona Rymond-Richmond

Dr. Wenona Rymond-Richmond is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sociologists empirically and theoretically neglect genocide. Our critical collective framing perspective begins by focusing on state origins of race based ideology in the mobilization and dehumanization leading to genocide. We elaborate this transformative dynamic by identifying racially driven macro-micro-macro level processes which are theoretically underdeveloped and contested in many settings.

We investigate generic processes by exploiting an unprecedented survey of refugees from the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Our focus is on the Sudanese government’s crisis framing of a dehumanizing collective process. Sudanese forces joined with Janjaweed militia to attack black African settlements. They aggregated and concentrated racial epithets in a collective process of dehumanization and organized terror which amplified the severity of genocidal victimization, the lethal and lasting scar of the genocidal state. Our findings question primordial and counter-insurgency explanations, while supporting aspects of the instrumental, population-resource, constructionist and cognitive perspectives that form the foundation of our critical collective framing perspective.