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"Breakdowns: Portrait of an Artist as a Young %@?*!", by Art Spiegelman

"I know now, as I look down at what I have wrought here, that were I to think upon what I have done... what I have truly done... I would be struck mad. A deed such as this... the anguish would overwhelm, destroy me. So, First Officer Falm, it must be that there are no innocents in Agarheim... no mothers, no children, no people. Only traitors. Vile, cunning traitors, who deserve no less than the full brunt of our most Holy King's wrath."
Admiral, Planescape: Torment

Dehumanization is the denial of someone's status as "human" or "person", whether by assimilating them to animals or things, especially of the harmful and disgusting sort, for the purpose of thus denying them the rights and the sympathy that come with "true personhood", and deliberately ignoring the target's individuality (i.e., the creative and interesting aspects of his or her personality).

Dehumanization can occur discursively (e.g., idiomatic language that likens certain human beings to non-human animals, verbal abuse, erasing one's voice from discourse), symbolically (e.g., imagery), or physically (e.g., chattel slavery, physical abuse, refusing eye contact).

Dehumanization may be carried out by a social institution (such as a state, school, or family) or via an individual's sentiments and actions. Dehumanization can be unintentional, especially on the part of individuals, as with some types of de facto racism.

State-organized dehumanization has historically been directed against perceived racial, ethnic, national, or religious minority groups. Other minoritized and marginalized individuals and groups (based on sexuality, gender, (dis)ability, class, or some other organizing principle) are also susceptible to various forms of dehumanization.

The concept of dehumanization is related to infrahumanization (i.e., calling someone "sub-human"), delegitimization, moral exclusion and objectification. Dehumanization occurs across several domains, is facilitated by status, power, and social connection, and results in behaviors like exclusion, violence, and support for violence against others. Will often lead to a Guilt-Free Extermination War. As a result, dehumanization is recognized as #4 in Gregory Stanton's 10 stages of genocide, making it easier to dismiss such an accusation as "rude" (Which in of itself is #10).

Related is the practices of stereotyping, which is basically assigning certain traits to certain group of people. It may overlap with dehumanization in some cases, but just as often it doesn't.

Subtropes include:

  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": Um... calling a human a meatbag.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Often a price of having cybernetic implants is making you less than human.
  • Dehumanizing Insult: Insulting someone by implying they are less than human.
  • Demonization: Making something seem despicable like a demon or monster in spite of what it really is.
  • Expendable Clone: What's stopping you from making new clones if one died?
  • Fantastic Racism: When one race is treated as lower than the other.
  • Final Solution: When dehumanization is taken to its logical conclusion, this can be the result.
  • Human Weapon: Someone is treated less as a person and more as a means for destruction.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: Non-humans wouldn't have the same rights as those of a human. Even if said non-humans are sapient.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Calling someone "it" instead of a proper pronoun indicates that that someone is treated as a "thing" and not a person.
  • Just a Machine: Robots and A.I.s are often considered expendable and/or easily rebuilt, unlike humans, so they have less value.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Lots of casualties (in a war, disaster, etc) are treated as unimportant especially if there's no recognizable people among them.
  • Mooks: A group of grunts whose purpose in the story is to be slain en masse, and they're made to be as unsympathetic as possible.
    • Faceless Goons: Their faces are concealed, therefore they're expendable.
    • Red Shirt Army: Same thing applied to good guys' army. Downplayed in that they can be sympathized with, but because they lack importance, they're still the guys to be killed in place of the real characters.
    • What Measure Is a Mook?: Significant bad guys may be treated well enough by the heroes. Not so much for the mooks.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Calling the enemies with names will prevent you and your allies from hesitating to attack said enemies.
  • Not Even Human: Implicitly leans on many of the concepts associated with this trope by making the enemies genuinely non-human in order to justify violence against them. If the bad guys is an alien species, why wouldn't it be okay to kill them without any moral issues?
  • Of the People: When a group call themselves "the people" and people outside of said group "not-people".
  • Pitiful Worms: Comparing less-powerful enemies to small, lowly creatures.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: When slaves are treated like animals or chattel instead of human beings.
  • Son of an Ape: Comparing humans to less advanced primates, like apes and monkeys, is a common way to imply that the humans in question are primitive and inferior.
  • We Have Reserves: There's more where they came from, so who cares what happens to 'em.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A group of sapient species is treated not as human because they're not technically humans.

Played with:

  • Death Means Humanity: A previously dehumanized non-human being has its personhood recognized upon death.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The monsters are shown to be just minding their own business, or (potentially) outright kind, and a human commits hate crimes on them.


A form of Lack of Empathy; in fact, the whole point of dehumanizing someone is to deem the one in question "not deserving any empathy". Compare and contrast Death of Personality (rendering someone as "dead" by making them lose their humanity).

In real life, averting this is a very important tactic for people in a hostage situation or prisoners of war. Enforcing that you are human with loved ones, likes, and interests will make it more difficult for captors to torture, mistreat, or kill and make it more likely for them to treat you better.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • A young Eren Yeager makes a statement like this after he helps kill some slave traders who were trying to abduct Mikasa: "I didn't kill people. I just killed animals who happened to look like people." The kid was ten.
    • Eldians are seen as "devils" by the rest of the world and are addressed as such to their faces. Injured enemy soldiers will even refuse help if it's offered to them by an Eldian. The Eldians who live on the island of Paradis (i.e., the main charactersnote ) have a reputation of being even worse. Even non-Paradis Eldians hate them and see them as even less human than they are, despite being exactly the same race.
  • Cross Ange: A baby that rejects magic is an aberration, subject to forcible removal from society, a "Norma", not "human". This distinction is so well-taught to the aspiring heiress to the throne, she even clings to it for some time after, ahem, an abrupt career change.
  • In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, this is the Galactic Alliance's rationale for their galactic war with The Hideauze (intelligent, space-dwelling squid-like creatures), and their harsh living conditions and governing of the human race. It turns out later that the Galactic Alliance knew the Hideauze were once humans who changed themselves with genetic engineering to be able to live in the harsh conditions of space. This was hidden from lower ranking soldiers like Ledo. It's justified again later because the Hideauze are so far gone, and dangerous that they threaten the humans with extinction. If they don't fight it would be impossible to survive and still maintain their humanity, and society.
  • This is a strong motif of Mahito, a villain from Jujutsu Kaisen who was born from humanity's negative emotions towards other human beings. His power is Idle Transfiguration, which changes the shape of the soul and the body, which he uses to turn human beings into grotesque parodies of what they once were.
  • Both radical factions in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny do this. The Coordinator extremists consider themselves a Master Race, meant to lord it over the rest of humanity, while Blue Cosmos insists that the Coordinators are an abomination that needs to be exterminated to preserve "our blue and pure world". Most of the series' Heel Face Turns occur when a Natural or a Coordinator is given the chance to view the other side as human beings.
  • Naruto:
    • The title character deals with this during his childhood and early parts of the story, with many of the Leaf villagers treating him with contempt, seeing him as either nothing more than a vessel for the Nine-Tailed Fox, or as the Nine-Tailed Fox itself.
    • It's later revealed that all Tailed Beasts, including the Nine-Tailed Fox (real name Kurama), underwent this as well. Even though they really are non-humans, they are intelligent beings who have feelings, personality, and aspirations. However, for centuries, humans saw them as nothing but dangerous weapons whose only use is for warfare and treated them as such. Also, they only differentiated them with the number of tails they have, even though they all have proper names. Eventually, the mounting hate the Beasts endured caused them to resent humans and snap back, turning them into the monsters that humans thought them to be.
  • In One Piece, the Hoof of the Soaring Dragon imprinted by the Celestial Dragons marks one "less than human".

    Comic Books 
  • During the climatic confrontation in God Loves, Man Kills, Reverend Stryker points to Nightcrawler and exclaims:
    Stryker: Human?! You dare call that... thing — HUMAN?!?
  • Morbius: When Morbius is captured by Hydra, he is referred to as a "thing" and an "it" multiple times, likely because they only see him as a piece of equipment that can be used to achieve their goals.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Thurim, as part of his pre-battle speech to his fellow Teutonic Knights against the Lithuanian army, tells them that the very word Slav means, well, slave.

    Fan Works 
  • A Better Word Than Humanity's iteration of the T.C.R.I. does this constantly to Leonardo and Donatello, to the point Leo had to actively irritate them to be allowed so much as to be able to wear scrubs— a luxury later taken away from Donnie again once he's muzzled for biting. Even then, it's implied that Leo only succeeded because they were interested in the fact Leo was demonstrating "surprisingly human behavior" in his attempts to annoy them, making it very clear that the scientists consider them less than by default.
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Ghidorah pulls a variation. It considers any of its heads that have detached from Ghidorah's main body and become autonomous creatures to be nothing more than "shed skins" or "shadows" which are inferior to Ghidorah, despite said shed skins retaining their personalities.
  • Child of the Storm explicitly has this as the root of Sinister's More than Mind Control based control of Maddie Pryor in the sequel, having raised her to believe that she was nothing more than a Living Weapon, entirely artificial and created solely to do his bidding. While he has psychic triggers, until a long process of Gambit's helping her come to realise that she's more than just a weapon, topped off by Harry's faith in her ability to choose for herself — and more importantly, choose right — he doesn't actually need to use them.
  • In the Turning Red fanfic The Great Red Panda Rescue, Mei is kidnapped and treated like an animal by her captors.
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: In Land of Oblivion Aqua is appalled when she sees Naminé's memories of how DiZ treated her and Xion: "It is a Nobody. It cannot have wants, for those require feelings. It is not real, no more than you are." However, Aqua is later shown to be not much better after she relives her battle with Vanitas and tells Kairi and Naminé "That thing was not a person!" Naminé reacts with Tranquil Fury at this, reminding her of what they just saw and asking if she wants to rephrase that. Aqua does gradually get better about this in later stories.
  • In Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space, robots are being taught to be Three Laws-Compliant, but one robot suggests that this trope can be used to get around the "Don't harm humans" rule.
    "That's just hate propaganda!" shouted the Sayer, trying to regain control of the situation.
    "So they can harm the enemy without it bothering them."
    A brief look of panic appeared on the Sayer's face — then he said:
    "The Second Law of Robotics is: Do as we say, not as we do!"
  • In Three Strikes, a conservative Erusean officer tries to justify to Rosa killing the civilians of Balkan descent by calling them animals who have led their country to ruins.
  • Played for Laughs in Njal Gets Burned, in which Icelanders all agree that resident or visiting Norwegians are Redshirts. Killing them is not considered illegal. note 

    Film — Animated 
  • The song "Savages" from Pocahontas has both the English colonisers and the Native Americans declare one another as evil and inhuman as they psyche themselves up for conflict.
    They're savages, savages
    Barely even human
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Moses spends the majority of his childhood ignoring the plight of the Hebrews who slave for Egypt. However, when he discovers that he himself is actually Hebrew, and that his father the Pharaoh ordered the wide-scale death of Hebrew children, he can no longer ignore his morals.
    Pharaoh Seti: Moses, sometimes for the greater good, sacrifices must be made.
    Moses: Sacrifices?
    Pharaoh Seti: Oh, my son... they were only slaves.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future Part III, when Marty and Doc are reading about "Mad Dog" Tannen, an old newspaper report indicates that he has killed twelve men, "not including Indians and Chinamen", implying that Tannen's kill count is much higher, but that "Chinamen" and "Indians" were often not thought of as human in the 1880s.
  • Blade Runner: Replicants are said by Tyrell to not have emotions, making them more palatable for use as slave labor to purchasers. This is a lie. They rapidly develop emotions, but merely express them differently from normal humans. Replicants are therefore designed to die in four years before their emotions develop, to keep the narrative that they aren't human alive. Ironically, the Tyrell Corporation's motto is More Human Than Human.
  • In Casshern, the concept of "True Humans" appears; some ancestral race of superior beings who are entitled to treat baseline humans as disposable.
  • This is the entire point of the anti-Semitic movie The Eternal Jew (1940). It was created by the Nazis in order to justify the Final Solution to the German public.
  • Frailty involves a father psychologically torturing his son until he agrees to help him gruesomely murder (seemingly) everyday people the father believes are actually demons. The tension in the film centered around whether the son could be conditioned to see his father's victims as inhuman, and whether the father's assessment was accurate or not.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Maia Simmons doesn't have much respect or high regard or any fondness for Kong, prominently only derisively calling him "the monkey".
  • Men Behind the Sun: The reason why the "researchers" of Unit 731 are able to perform their experiments on their unwilling test subjects is because they are referred to as maruta, which translates as log from Japanese.
  • In Minority Report, Anderton says of the three Pre-Cogs: "It's better if you don't think of them as human."
  • None Shall Escape: With a movie about Nazis and the atrocities they commit, this is a given. For instance, Willie justifies the harsh measures against the Jews this way to Janina.
    "Anyway, those weren't people, they were Jews."
  • The Australian thriller and serial killer biopic Snow Town, which was based on a true story, is essentially the story of a charismatic psychopath convincing a group of socially disadvantaged and alienated locals that it was morally acceptable to torture and kill other members of their community in order to perpetuate a social security scam, providing that they were undeserving of life to begin with. Some of the targets were pedophiles, but others were dehumanized (and tortured and killed) for being members of harmless groups, like being gay or obese. The unsettling thing here is that the writers clearly did their homework, to the point that the rhetoric will sound eerily familiar to anybody familiar with Adelaide's impoverished outer suburbs (and the satellite city of Murray Bridge).

  • Black Fleet Crisis: The Yevetha view and refer to all other species uniformly as "vermin", treating them as such — thus, they exterminate any within "their" home star cluster, as it's viewed as a contamination of the sacred All.
  • In The Brightest Shadow, a fully sentient non-human culture is reduced to being Always Chaotic Evil Mooks by the Hero.
  • The plot of the book Crispin The Cross Of Lead is kicked off by a peasant boy accidentally overhearing part of a secret conversation, which results in the steward of his village falsely accusing him of a serious crime and declaring him a "wolf's head," which not only marks him for death, but also means he is no longer legally human so that anyone can legally kill him.
  • Deryni: The Deryni are often spoken of this way by their human foes.
    • In Deryni Checkmate, Archbishop Loris asks Warin de Grey, "You would kill Morgan without chance to repent his sins?" Warin replies, "I doubt there is hope in the Hereafter for the likes of him, Excellency. The Deryni were the spawn of Satan from the Creation. I do not think salvation is within their grasp." Warin later tells Morgan much the same thing to his face, admitting that Morgan will be granted time to confess his sins before he is killed against Warin's "better judgement": "Personally, I feel that such is a waste of time for your kind; but Archbishop Loris disagrees."
    • Years later, in The King's Justice, Loris tells Duncan McLain, "I do have a care for your soul, though — if Deryni even have souls, of course."
  • The Diabolic: Anyone who is not a noble is considered less than human. The servitors are bred and engineered for their roles, so that at least makes sense (though Sidonia argues vehemently that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy), but even the peasants are referred to as excess. As far as the nobles are concerned, they have no purpose but to make the nobles look good by having free-willed employees.
  • Discworld: A repeated motif, and ultimately what distinguishes "good" from "evil" in the universe.
    • Used by Granny Weatherwax as her yardstick for evil, as seen in Carpe Jugulum. It also shows up in the main villains of the piece; the Count Von Magpyr and his "modern" vampires view people as little less than cattle and practice Industrialized Evil on them in order to be "maximally efficient", while the Old Count was a sportsman who viewed the individuals who happened to enter his castle as challengers. Despite the Old Count being just as bad as the new Count in terms of body count, ultimately this distinction saves the Old Count from death because the nearby villagers treat him as "their monster"; someone who keeps them on their toes and respects the rules.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, this topic is discussed repeatedly. The protagonist makes a particularly vivid reflection that the literal straw men they stab in training do not serve the purpose of training them in combat (they are soft, and don't fight back) but in making them forget that, unlike them, a human, when stabbed, will bleed, and cry, and more than straw might fall from their wounds.
    • Snuff examines this idea using the goblins, a sentient human race, as exemplar for Fantastic Racism. The goblins are viewed as animals and vermin, and any indignity can be inflicted on them, including torture and slavery. It takes a real shift in attitudes to get them recognized as a sentient race deserving the same rights that are accorded to men, dwarfs and trolls.
  • In Fate/Zero, Ryuunosuke — a Serial Killer of women and children — finds that his "art" was incinerated and demolished by a third party, and cries to the heavens: "Who could do this and still call themselves human?!" There are other places where this pops up.
  • In The Fifth Season, people born with the Functional Magic of orogeny are formally classified as non-human and are enslaved by the Fulcrum to serve The Empire as Human Weapons.
    "Friends do not exist. The Fulcrum is not a school. Grits are not children. Orogenes are not people. Weapons have no need of friends."
  • In The Forever War, the soldiers are mentally conditioned to view the enemy Taurans as sub-human by being shown images of Taurans burning cities, eating children, and raping women. The soldiers know that the images are fake, as no-one has even seen a Tauran before their battle, but they still work to send them into a bloodthirsty frenzy, to the point that their mission to capture a Tauran fails because the soldiers slaughter them all.
  • Played with in Halo: Hunters in the Dark. During the expedition, several of Captain Richards's soldiers are lost. She realizes that she hadn't even bothered to learn their names and quickly scans the nametags of the others but finds that it's easier to keep relaying battle orders if she doesn't register them as human. That said, Richards does genuinely care about her subordinates (on the other hand, she doesn't care much for her Sangheili allies, but she's professional enough to not let it interfere with the mission).
  • In Imperial Radch, the captured enemies whose bodies are taken over by a spaceship's A.I. are referred to as "units". The protagonist, who is such an A.I., is also treated as nonhuman, and seems to be okay with this; though it's hard to tell whether she's just resigned. She does show a preference for people who treat her like a person.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin: In the first book, Merlin realizes to his horror that what he believed was just a bundle of rags he'd hit with a stone when playing with other boys is really a person. They retort that this isn't true-it's a Jew. After he refuses to go along with this, they caution Merlin against defending Jews, because people might think he has Jewish stock himself.
  • Martín Fierro is a Narrative Poem about the eponymous Martín Fierro, a Gaucho who is Press-Ganged into Conscription trying to settle the frontier and who is an accomplice (and later victim) of a Final Solution. Fierro denies various people's status as "human", comparing them to animals.
  • Ravensong: As said in chapter 15, Stacey's Momma's thoughts towards the people of "white town":
    "They aren't human," she had told Stacey a while back, categorically dismissing them all. Momma took a look around room at the streamers and doubts about the wisdom of sending Stacey out to learn to be like them took shape took shape. She shrugged. She would have to trust Stacey to understand her laws and hope — hope that the Raven spirit that snapped behind Stacey's eyes would not be culled out of her by their inhumanity.
  • In Salammbô, the priests of Baal-Moloch make throwing Carthaginian children to be burned alive as Human Sacrifice easier by getting the crowd to yell with them: "They are not men but oxen!"
  • Shade's Children: The Overlords view all humans as animals to simply use as they see fit, with this being the rightful order of things.
  • In The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill refers to his victims as "it".
  • In The Sorceress's Orc, orcs are treated this way. People think of them as a sort of slightly more intelligent animal, even though they hire them as mercenaries. The moment when the protagonist decides to invite her orc bodyguard into her home because it is raining outside is a turning point in the story; she half expects him to vandalize her furniture, instead he asks intelligent questions about the security of the apartment.
  • Done intentionally in The Turner Diaries. The novel is centered around a group of Neo-Nazi terrorists trying to start a race war.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24: Redemption, a bunch of Child Soldiers are being trained to kill by presenting them with a trussed-up enemy and denying his humanity, calling him a "cockroach" and having them chant "Kill the cockroach!"
  • American Horror Story:
    • In American Horror Story: Asylum, Doctor Hans Grüper/Arthur Arden, a former Nazi scientist, thinks this way about Jews, prostitutes, and mental patients, and has no problem subjecting them to horrifying medical experiments.
    • This is how the witch hunters see the witches in American Horror Story: Coven, to the point that they actively murder girls that they suspect of witchcraft.
    • In American Horror Story: Freak Show, two grifters show up at a freakshow in the hopes of murdering the performers so that they can sell them to a museum of natural curiosities, excusing their behavior by explaining that — due to their deformities — their lives weren't worthwhile anyhow. People in the nearby town also tend to talk about the performers as inhuman, to the point that one of the characters cries tears of gratitude because the doctor who identifies her terminal medical condition talks to her respectfully. The "freaks" also find it unsettlingly easy to murder cops, based on similar logic.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (1978), the Cylons were originally supposed to be aliens. They were changed because executives thought that "killing sentient robots" was more child-friendly than "killing aliens" — basically, trading one issue of dehumanizing with another.
  • Discussed occasionally in Bones, either with someone is upset with Brennan for treating remains as anthropological curiosities instead of as former people, or conversely Brennan giving advice to think of the former people as remains in order to suppress the emotions of (for example) autopsying a friend.
  • Brave New World: New Londoner tourists visiting the "Savage Lands" have a tour guide refer to said "savages" in terms very much like animals on a safari.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the serial "The Savages", this is how the Elders of the city view the savages native to their world. They regard the savages as sub-human and have no qualms about using them in machines that drain them of their life energy and nearly kill them to keep their own society going.
    • Let's not forget the Daleks — their catchphrase, "EXTERMINATE!", perfectly demonstrates their attitude towards all non-Daleks. In the words of Dalek Sec, in "Doomsday":
      "This is not war — this is pest control!"
  • The Reavers in Firefly are a race of insane people who have been poisoned during an experiment on live human subjects. In effect, they are the sci-fi equivalent of undead beings and the reason that they are dehumanized is because they are in fact physically dehumanized.
  • Forever: When Henry checks an ill African captive and declares, "This man will be fine," the ship's captain tells him, "He's not a man, he's property." The institution of slavery relied on such dehumanization.
  • Discussed frequently in Game of Thrones in relation to slaves and slavery, particularly among Daenerys' inner court, who will respond by any allowances she makes for former slaveholders by pointing out that the slaveholders will exploit and pervert Dany's kindness, since they still don't see former slaves as people.
    • Slavery is technically illegal in the Seven Kingdoms, but none of the locals particularly minded when Ramsay Bolton turned hated traitor Theon Greyjoy into his "creature". Part of the dehumanization process involved giving Theon a humiliating slave name ("Reek"), mutilating his body so that he and the people around would see him as a freak, locking him in dog cages and not allowing him to bathe or eat human food. The process worked so effectively that almost everybody he interacted with actively started talking and treating him as non-human and Theon responded to his sister's rescue attempt by biting her arm (in the same way a cornered dog would) and running back in the dog cage. This is partly because he's been tricked previously by Ramsay into thinking he was being rescued, after which the worst was done.
    • Grey Worm and the members of the Unsullied were given the names of vermin — and new ones every morning, allowing for no sense of identity — by their former slavers to remind them that they were not human. When Daenerys freed them, they retained their slave names to demonstrate how proud they were to be associated with Daenerys and the slave rebellion. Grey Worm says that his is a lucky name because he had it the day of his liberation.
    • The Brothers of the Night's Watch and the Wildlings/Freefolk tend to describe one another this way, through the process of demonization.
    • Becoming a faceless man involves eschewing personal identity and desires and a lot of other things a person would ordinarily associate with being human. They still describe themselves as members of the human race, though.
  • The Wesen from Grimm are Beast Men who may or may not be monstrous depending on their species and individual personalities and have traditionally been hunted by a race of humans known as "Grimms". Each groups dehumanizes the other, although both have many identifiable human traits. Many of the storylines revolve around Wesen and the main character (who is a Grimm) figuring out how much to trust each other and what their social and moral obligations to one another are.
  • Hemlock Grove:
    • The mad doctor convinces a physically deformed, but very intelligent and sweet-natured, teenage girl to transfer her memories into the body of a physically attractive clone/test tube person, and then to commit physician-assisted suicide of her "old body", even though she still retained all her memories and had not changed in any way when her memories were copied. It's very clear from the storyline that both girls were very human, and that the act of copying the memories onto the test-tube girl also meant wiping her brain and essentially killing her, but the doctor uses the third girl (who has the body grown in the test tube and the memories and emotions of the physically deformed girl) as evidence that no actual people would be harmed during the procedure, since the two dead girls lacked personhood. It was even weirder than it sounds, because the deformed girl was not only one of the most prominent characters, but also one of the most consistently moral and likable people on the show, and there was no way the audience would interpret the scene as anything other than suicide or murder. Slightly justified, because she was extremely depressed, and it would may have been looking for a way to kill herself without hurting her loved ones and had a history of being treated like an inhuman monster by the people in the surrounding township.
    • Roma are occasionally described as dogs or similarly dehumanized.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): In his conversation with Jessica at the end of "The Sandwich Saved Me", Kilgrave refers to Malcolm only as "the junkie". Bear in mind, Malcolm is only a junkie because Kilgrave used his powers to force him to touch drugs.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Dan Masamune/Kamen Rider Cronus refers to characters by the name of the Gashat they use, rather than their human/Bugster or Rider names; for example, he calls his own son "Dangerous Zombie" rather than "Kuroto" or even "Genm". The one exception is Ex-Aid, who he refers to by his Rider name upon acquiring Hyper Muteki, but switches to calling him by the name of the Gashat when Emu can no longer use it and is thus no longer a threat to him once more. Furthermore, Masamune refers to killing people as "discontinuing" them, as shown with his Bond One-Liner to Lovelica, and his threat to Snipe and Nico.
  • Orange Is the New Black: Caputo, trying to toughen up Fischer, tells her to not think of the prisoners as human beings in one episode.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Hearts and Minds", the "bugs" turn out to be humans from a rival corporation; the soldiers have been drugged to see the enemy as disgusting aliens so that they'll feel fewer qualms about killing them. The soldiers from the rival corporation are similarly drugged.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): Seanchan don't view damane (enslaved channelers) as really being human at all. Renna, who's the sul'dam tasked with breaking Egwene when she's enslaved, explicitly tells her this and acts pitying that she'd ever believed herself to be human as this will make training even harder. The area where the damane are held is even called "the kennels", indicating the Seanchan see them as just attack dogs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Imperials and Chaos have the same view of each other: blind fools clinging to false gods and weaklings only good for extermination. Some Space Marine chapters have this view of normal humans, whether allied or fallen to Chaos.
    • Tangentially used by the Imperial Guardman's Uplifting Primer. Of course, their foes aren't human, but it still makes them out to be inferior to the basic human and doesn't hesitate to make up "facts" like Tau being descended from bovines and stampeding at loud noises and orks being easy to defeat in close combat. An updated edition features Tau sympathizers which it claims are easily recognizable as degenerate sub-humans (other than a tendency to wear braids and sometimes paint themselves blue, they're no less healthy that the regular humans), reminiscent of Nazi sub-racial distinctions.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt's Copen and Dr. Kamizono will never view adepts as anything but monsters that deserved to be erased from the face of the Earth. This is very much spelled-out during GV's rematch with Copen, where the former argues for the latter that adepts are "humans" (which he responds by, scornfully, scoffing at GV).
    Gunvolt: Adepts -are- humans!
    Copen: Don't try to swindle me, monster! You're all just animals. If left on your own, you'll end us all.
  • In BioShock, citizens of the laissez-faire capitalist gulch of Rapture are taught that the poor and lower classes are "parasites".
  • In Disco Elysium, you meet the Deserter, an old Communist who is very bitter about the violent suppression of the violent revolution. After talking about the bombardment, he says: "The bourgeoisie is not human."
  • In Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, the Ascians' motive is revealed to boil down to believing that nobody else other than them is a "real" person, due to the World Sundering long ago resulting in all new souls being mere fragments of what an ancient's soul would be, and wanting to kill them all to undo said sundering and go back to how things used to be. Emet-Selch puts it very bluntly:
    Emet-Selch: But yes, moral relativism and all that. Case in point—I do not consider you to be truly alive. Ergo, I will not be guilty of murder if I kill you.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, Walker gets less dehumanizing as the story progresses. He starts with neutral, technical, professional expressions, distancing himself from what he's doing and making it seem like something simple and clean: "Target confirmed." "Tango down." By the end of the story, he's relying on moral condemnation and sheer spite to keep him going: "GOT THE FUCKER!" "AND STAY DOWN!". He's not removing targets anymore, he's killing people.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: The true Big Bad considers the people of Bionis merely part of the cycle of life and death, a vehicle for his continued existence as a god.

    Web Comics 
  • Yaun the Dead from Kill Six Billion Demons was a Child Soldier described in The Rant of King of Swords who was captured by a mercenary band and had his own humanity denied and beaten out of him until all that remained was an Empty Shell, a 'dead man' fit only for killing and making other dead men. The boy that was Yaun would grow up to become the demiurge Jagganoth, an Omnicidal Maniac with a highly twisted view of life and death.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • In the Japanese dub, "You killed Kenny! You bastards!" is rendered as "You killed Kenny! You aren't human!"
    • In the episode "Die Hippie Die", Cartman provides the memorable quote "Hey! They are not people, they're hippies!" and later uses a Drill Tank on them. The entire episode treats hippies like an exponentially growing termite invasion.
    • Then there's "Night of the Living Homeless", in which the head of homeless studies treats the homeless as an infestation of undead.note 
  • Played with in The Owl House. Belos doesn't see the Grimwalkers as individuals, but as permutations of the same person, his deceased brother Caleb. When talking about the Grimwalkers as a collective, he refers to them with a singular "he" ("It hurts every time he chooses to betray me"), and he sees killing them for disobedience as a personal inconvenience for him, since he now has to go through the hassle of replacing them.
  • Savage Opress in Star Wars: The Clone Wars is almost exclusively referred to as a beast, monster, or other terms that don't indicate he is an actual person. His brother, Darth Maul, often is as well; Obi-Wan Kenobi himself says, "He's a broken, unbalanced monster."
  • Steven Universe:
    • On Homeworld, Pearls are at the very bottom of the caste system. Peridot explains that Pearls are for "standing around, looking nice and holding your stuff for you", and implies that Pearls aren't even considered actual gems.note  When she asks "our" Pearl who she belongs to, Pearl angrily replies she doesn't belong to anyone, which prompts Peridot to ask "Then what are you for?" Later, she insults Pearl by calling her "somebody's shiny toy" and saying that she's "just a Pearl". This ticks Pearl off so much that she socks Peridot in the face.
    • A less blatant example occurs with Garnet. As a fusion of two different types of gems (Ruby and Sapphire), her entire existence is taboo by Homeworld's standards. Peridot constantly reminds everyone of this by expressing a huge distaste for Garnet and referring to her only as "the (perma)fusion", or more derogatory terms such as "filthy war machine" and "two clods, walking around like she's one clod". Counting from the moment she was captured, it took her a total of nine episodes to refer to Garnet by name, and the first time she did was only in her private log and accompanied by another insult.
      Peridot: Additionally, it is without question that the permafusion Garnet... is the worst.