Call them “they” and you can ignore them, belittle them, disparage them.
Call them “they” and you can group them together, forget they are individual people.
Call them “they” and you can distance yourself, pretend they are not your kin, not fellow human beings just like you, not people with their own individual personalities and life stories, their own pain and suffering, their own beauty and quirkiness, their own loveable qualities and their own silliness, their own thoughts and dreams and memories and hopes… each of these people is someone’s son or daughter, someone’s friend, someone’s neighbour, each of these people is a human being just like you.
But we love labelling people. We – yes, I say “we”, “we humans”, we are so much more comfortable filing people into different categories, so that we can comfortably despise them, even hate them sometimes. It is so much easier to ignore someone’s views when we’ve put them in a file marked “other”. It is much easier to ignore someone’s pain when we’ve filed them under “wrong side of the political divide” or “the branch of religion I see as totally wrong and misguided” or “those people who come from there”.
The word “they” is a very dangerous word.