Persecution

From Academic Kids

Persecution is persistent mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution and ethnic persecution. The terms have some overlap, as religion is an aspect of culture that can be a barrier.

The most common scenario is a majority group persecuting a minority group, since the reverse is usually impractical, although apartheid in South Africa is considered an exception. Majority groups, however, can inspire resentment where they are locally a minority and find themselves persecuted; persons of an ethnic majority who venture within a large minority neighborhood may experience or simple perceive a hostility towards them. See reverse discrimination.

Causes

There are various possible origins of persecutory behavior. For instance, a movement which is publicly or implicitly identified with a minority group — such as a religion, a genetic heritage, a region, or other traditional distinction — might be successful enough to disrupt the status quo or become associated with violent acts. A reflective persecutory movement might then arise within the majority, not necessarily distinguishing between those who are and are not part of the movement. This persecution might in turn radicalize the minority group, resulting in a feedback cycle.

So-called opportunistic persecution occurs when someone exploits and stirs up an existing current of resentment to enhance his own political power. This opportunism can be applied "in reverse", as where a minority orator provokes persecution in order to unify a minority movement.

Nazism

Perhaps one of the most commonly cited modern-day examples is the persecution of Jews under Nazi Germany. This originated partly from a complex inflammation of racial, ethnic and religious antagonism by white German Christians against the "non-German" "immigrant" Jews. Among the stereotypes and perceptions fostered by the Nazis was that minority Jews had greater influence in society (were "richer") than majority Germans, and that Jews (along with communists) were largely responsible for the bitter loss of Germany during World War I. The popular reasons for World War II, despite the change in government that came with the rise of the Nazis, was to "unify" the German people–a cause that many Germans believed was sabotaged from within by German Jews, Communists, and Socialists, who would not likely be supportive of a highly racialized and nationalist view of German identity.

Persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany led to the Holocaust, and the most destructive genocides in human history.de:Verfolgung

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