Dehumanization has devastating consequences for African Americans because it increases acceptance of violence against black people. A study has shown that African Americans that are convicted of capital crimes are almost four times more likely than white people convicted of similar crimes to be described with ape-referencing language, including ‘beast,’ ‘brute,’ ‘savage’ or ‘wild’ and that where they are portrayed in this way as ape-like, they are far more likely to be executed by the state than their white counterparts, the researchers say.

While much progress has been made since the overt racism of the 19th century, rehumanizing men of color is a necessary step to stopping implicit biases that still inform policing and the justice system. People need to be aware of the different ways racism affects intentions and motivations in our society so that changes can be made to make it truly egalitarian.