Disrupting Dehumanization and Affirming the Humanity of BYMOC and Their Villages


Dehumanization is the persistent invalidation of a person’s humanity through perceptions or actual treatment. At the center of dehumanization is the pervasive idea that people of color do not need, and are not worthy of, basic human dignities. By identifying, interrogating, and disrupting dehumanization, we take the responsibility off of young people to heal themselves and help them on their journey to healing, growing, and thriving.

“BYMOC navigate a world where they are presumed to be dangerous and guilty. Their innocence, potential, and humanity are routinely questioned simply because of who they are. These daily indiginities create traumatizing experiences where BYMOC live, learn, work, and play.” 

“Dehumanization threatens the healthy development of BYMOC and their villages and manifests in the narratives, policies, and practices that impact them.”

“It is important to view the actions (or inactions) of BYMOC and their villages as the direct results of their ability to cope with the racialized trauma and toxic stress thrust upon them. In so doing, we resist the urge to blame BYMOC and their villages for the destructive reactions while helping them to build capacity to heal, grow, and thrive.”


  • Understand that dehumanization occurs in a four-part cycle that begins with negative narratives about who people of color are, what they can achieve, and the resources and privileges they should have access to.
  • Recognize and identify that dehumanization manifests in five dimensions: historical, cultural/spiritual, social, emotional, and physical.
  • Tell the complete story of how racialized trauma and toxic stress affects the physical, mental, and emotional health of BYMOC—placing them at greater risk as they age.
  • Strive for equity in education, health, judicial, child welfare, and housing systems. BYMOC and their villages experience dehumanization within these systems when there is little regard for their full humanity.
  • Encourage the building of healthy villages where culture and healing are the driving forces for supporting the growth and well-being of youth.