I stumbled across this idea while reading an article by Owen Jones in the Guardian this weekend. It is a pithy phrase that draws attention to what feels like an under-represented issue, namely, the inequality in reporting (or recognising, or responding to) death. I would extend this to any incident of evil, harm or injustice.
The fact remains that the massacre of Nigerian villagers does not illicit the same response as, say, a Russian politician. I wonder if this is a result of the availability of “news” (ISIS work to publicise their executions where Boko Haram have not – until recently) or if it really is because of racial biases in the media.
One thing is certain: as an western expat living overseas I see the disregard, the hardness, with which my peers treat individuals from other ethnicities or social-economic groups. Despite their education and privilege I don’t believe my peers put as much stock in the death of a local as one of their own (could I honestly say I do?) Surely it is the same mentality that drives the Hierarchy of Death.