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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

The rest is here:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Go here to see the original:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Read the rest here:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

View post:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

View post:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Continue reading here:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force.

Oppression also refers to a less overtly malicious pattern of subjugation, although in many ways this social oppression represents a particularly insidious and ruthlessly effective form of manipulation and control. In this instance, the subordination and injustices do not afflict everyoneinstead it targets specific groups of people for restrictions, ridicule, and marginalization. No universally accepted term has yet emerged to describe this variety of oppression, although some scholars will parse the multiplicity of factors into a handful of categories, e.g., social (or sociocultural) oppression; institutional (or legal) oppression; and economic oppression.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Read more:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression is the asymmetrical relationship between two otherwise equal parties oppressor and oppressed that originates in an uneven distribution and/or use of power, and renders benefit to the oppressor at the expense of the interests or will of the oppressed. Scholars have proposed different classes or types of oppression attending to the nature of the power or the parties involved in the relationship.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppresion is the asymmetrical relationship between two otherwise equal parties oppressor and oppressed that originates in an uneven distribution and/or use of power, and renders benefit to the oppressor at the expense of the interests or will of the oppressed. Scholars have proposed different classes or types of oppression attending to the nature of the power or the parties involved in the relationship.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious communities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

Read the original:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppresion is the asymmetrical relationship between two otherwise equal parties oppressor and oppressed that originates in an uneven distribution and/or use of power, and renders benefit to the oppressor at the expense of the interests or will of the oppressed. Differentiation between classes of oppression might be possible attending to the nature of the power or the parties involved in the relationship.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious minorities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppresion is the asymmetrical relationship between two otherwise equal parties oppressor and oppressed that originates in an uneven distribution and/or use of power, and renders benefit to the oppressor at the expense of the interests or will of the oppressed. Differentiation between classes of oppression might be possible attending to the nature of the power or the parties involved in the relationship.

The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, (“to press against”,[1] “to squeeze”, “to suffocate”).[2] Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that “pressing down”, and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be “squeezed” and “suffocated”, e.g., thrown in a dank, dark, state prison or summarily executed. Such governments oppress the people using restriction, control, terror, hopelessness, and despair.[a] The tyrant’s tools of oppression include, for example, extremely harsh punishments for “unpatriotic” statements; developing a loyal, guileful secret police force; prohibiting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press; controlling the monetary system and economy; and imprisoning or killing activists or other leaders who might pose a threat to their power.[3][4][5][6][7]

Oppression also refers to a more insidious type of manipulation and control, in this instance involving the subjugation and marginalization of specific groups of people within a country or society, such as: girls and women, boys and men, people of color, religious minorities, citizens in poverty, LGBT people, and many more. This socioeconomic, cultural, political, legal, and institutional oppression (hereinafter, “social oppression”) probably occurs in every country, culture, and society, including the most advanced democracies, such as the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, or Sweden.[b][c]

A single, widely accepted definition of social oppression does not yet exist, although there are commonalities. Taylor (2016)[8] defined (social) oppression in this way:

Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.

Harvey (1999)[10] suggested the term “civilized oppression”, which he introduced as follows:

It is harder still to become aware of what I call ‘civilized Oppression,’ that involves neither physical violence nor the use of law. Yet these subtle forms are by far the most prevalent in Western industrialized societies. This work will focus on issues that are common to such subtle oppression in several different contexts (such as racism, classism, and sexism) … Analyzing what is involved in civilized oppression includes analyzing the kinds of mechanisms used, the power relations at work, the systems controlling perceptions and information, the kinds of harms inflicted on the victims, and the reasons why this oppression is so hard to see even by contributing agents.

Research and theory development on social oppression has advanced apace since the 1980s with the publication of seminal books and articles,[d] and the cross-pollination of ideas and discussion among diverse disciplines, such as: feminism, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Nonetheless, more fully understanding the problem remains an extremely complicated challenge for scholars. Improved understanding will likely involve, for example, comprehending more completely the historical antecedents of current social oppression; the commonalities (and lack thereof) among the various social groups damaged by social oppression (and the individual human beings who make up those groups); and the complex interplay between and amongst sociocultural, political, economic, psychological, and legal forces that cause and support oppression.

Social oppression is when a single group in society takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination.[11] This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.[12] In a social group setting, oppression may be based on many ideas, such as poverty, gender, class, race, or other categories. Oppression by institution, or systematic oppression, is when the laws of a place create unequal treatment of a specific social identity group or groups.[13] Another example of social oppression is when a specific social group is denied access to education that may hinder their lives in later life.[14] Economic oppression is the divide between two classes of society. These were once determined by factors such slavery, property rights, disenfranchisement, and forced displacement of livelihood. Each divide yielded various treatments and attitudes towards each group.

Social oppression derives from power dynamics and imbalances related to the social location of a group or individual. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation”.[15][pageneeded] An individual’s social location often determines how they will be perceived and treated by others in society. Three elements shape whether a group or individual can exercise power: the power to design or manipulate the rules and regulations, the capacity to win competitions through the exercise of political or economic force, and the ability to write and document social and political history.[16]. There are four predominant social hierarchies, race, class, gender and sexuality, that contribute to social oppression.

Weber,[15] among some other political theorists, argues that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. Privilege refers to a sociopolitical immunity one group has over others derived from particular societal benefits.[17] Many of the groups who have privilege over gender, race, or sexuality, forexample, can be unaware of the power their privilege holds. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those who are oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, where subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to get access to equality, and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[18]

The first social hierarchy is race or racial oppression, which is defined as: ” … burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.”[19] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[20]

The first, primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementin the US context refers to Western Europe and settlers taking over an Indigenous population’s land. Many Indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations or killed during wars fought over the land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routines in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor for no pay, and without the freedom to leave their workplace. The third form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War, as African-Americans who were formerly enslaved continued to be considered unequal to white citizens, and had no voting rights. Moreover, immigrants and foreign workers in the US are also treated like second-class citizens, with fewer rights than people born in the US. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history, non-citizen labor, refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were sought as physical laborers, but were nonetheless denied legal access to citizenship status. The last form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state, but take place in widespread everyday social interactions. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups, salespeople treating customers differently based on race, and racialized groups having access only to impoverished schools. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial oppression is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, “racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic”.[20]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, sometimes referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[21] Class is an unspoken social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class categories include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. A majority of people in the United States self-identify in surveys as middle class, despite vast differences in income and status. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, ethnicity, global location, disability, and more. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people, as well as shame towards one’s traditional class, race, gender, or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[22] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, at times it can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that causes suffering for many.

The third social hierarchy is gender oppression, which is instituted through gender norms society has adopted. In some cultures today, gender norms suggest that masculinity and femininity are opposite genders, however it is an unequal binary pair, with masculinity being dominant and femininity being subordinate. Gender as such is not natural but socially constructed, and gendered power differences provide social mechanisms that benefit masculinity. “Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive.”[citation needed] According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been “subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon women’s inferiority and subjugation”.[citation needed] Femininity has always been looked down upon, perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected women’s societal status and opportunity. In current society, sources like the media further impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views. Females in pop-culture are objectified and sexualized, which can be understood as degrading to women by depicting them as sex objects with little regard for their character, political views, cultural contributions, creativity or intellect. Feminism, or struggles for women’s cultural, political and economic equality, has challenged gender oppression. Gender oppression also takes place against trans, gender-non-conforming, gender queer, or non-binary individuals who do not identify with binary categories of masculine/feminine or male/female.

The fourth social hierarchy is sexuality oppression or heterosexism. Dominant societal views with respect to sexuality, and sex partner selection, have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing people who do not conform to heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is an underlying assumption that everyone in society is heterosexual, and those who are not are treated as different or even abnormal by society, excluded, oppressed, and sometimes subject to violence. Heterosexism also derives from societal views of the nuclear family which is presumed to be heterosexual, and dominated or controlled by the male partner. Social actions by oppressed groups such as LGBTQI movements have organized to create social change.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[23] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres works to sustain current inequalities that are faced by marginalized, excluded or oppressed groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, creating social oppression through macro structures such as education, or the criminal justice system, which play out in the interpersonal sphere of everyday life through micro-oppressions.

Standpoint theory can help us to understand the interpersonal domain. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a white male living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than a black female living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. Standpoint theory is often used to expose the powerful social locations of those speaking, to justify claims of knowledge through closer experience of an issue, and to deconstruct the construction of knowledge of oppression by oppressors.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[24]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government organizations and their employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where Africans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[25] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[25]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as some police departments continue to use oppressive systems against minorities. They train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage, and to exert excessive force to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are “employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law”.[26] In both situations, police officers “rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities”.[26] For example, “blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials”.[25] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing it involved a white officer and a black subject.[25]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but can also affect those in the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhower’s presidency where he passed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal agencies.[27] As a result of this order, “More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.”[27]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through some religious systems and their believers’ justifications of discrimination based upon their own freedom of religious belief. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses “the right to refuse service to LGBT customers”.[28] The proposal of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[28] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act which states, “Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.”[29] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In today’s context, economic oppression may take several forms, including, but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, and practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[30]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they “lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways”.[31] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as “restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption”. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. With indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), “the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression”. The oppressed are faced with having to decide to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment by their group.[31]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an “inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations”.[32] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[33] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the “ideal-worker norm,” which “defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight,” a situation designed for the male sex.[32]

Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the “ideal-worker norm”. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[34] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[35] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that “over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females”.[36]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when individuals work abroad to support their families. Outsourced employees, working abroad generally little to no bargaining power not only with their employers, but with immigration authorities as well. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, an outsourced employee contributes to the economy of a foreign country instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

Her work may be oppressive first in respects of being heteronomous: she may enter work under conditions of constraint; her work may bear no part of reflectively held life goals; and she may not even have the: freedom of bodily movement at work. Her work may also fail to permit a meaningful measure of economic independence or to help her support herself or her family, which she identifies as the very purpose of her working.[37]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[31]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, feminism’s origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[38] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017, Women’s March’s replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[39] Feminists’ main talking points consist of women’s reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the glass ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence.

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[40] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as “lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness”.[41] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as liberation theology and anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of, and resistance to, forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Cudd, Ann E. (2006). Analyzing oppression. Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-518744-X.

Deutsch, M. (2006). A framework for thinking about oppression and its change. Social Justice Research, 19(1), 741. doi:10.1007/s11211-006-9998-3

Gil, David G. (2013). Confronting injustice and oppression: Concepts and strategies for social workers (2nd ed.). New York City, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN9780231163996 OCLC 846740522

Harvey, J. (1999). Civilized oppression. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN0847692744

Marin, Mara (2017). Connected by commitment: Oppression and our responsibility to undermine it. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN9780190498627 OCLC 989519441

Nol, Lise (1989). L’Intolrance. Une problmatique gnrale (Intolerance: a general survey). Montral (Qubec), Canada: Boral. ISBN9782890522718. OCLC 20723090.

Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 120. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00268.x

Young, Iris (1990). Justice and the politics of difference (2011 reissue; foreward by Danielle Allen). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN9780691152622 OCLC 778811811

Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (1996). The anatomy of prejudices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN978-0-674-03190-6. OCLC 442469051.

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression – Wikipedia

Oppression is the prolonged, unjust treatment or control of people by others. In the past, the definition of oppression was limited to tyranny by a ruling group, but overtime it has transformed because governments are not the only people who oppress. Today, oppression could also mean denying people language, education, and other opportunities that might make them become fully human in both mind and body.”[1] This is seen throughout history through the actions of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, King George III in the United Kingdom and the Thirteen Colonies (the predecessor of the United States of America), and today by observing the actions of people such as Kim Jong-un in North Korea and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Although these leaders are separated by nearly fifty years and a few centuries, both are “governmental regimes that deprive people of at least some of their human rights.[2]

Today, oppression can be seen in the social, institutionalized, and economic spheres across the world. Social oppression can be observed in the form of gendered, class, racial, and sexual oppression. The relationship of social oppression is one of dominance and subordination, in which one party has the ability to maintain its advantage relative over another party.[3] Institutionalized oppression is when “established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on ones membership in targeted social identity groups.”[4]

Social oppression is the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals.[5] Social oppression is based on power dynamics and an individual’s social location in society. Social location, as defined by Lynn Weber, is “an individual’s or a group’s social ‘place’ in the race, class, gender and sexuality hierarchies, as well as in other critical social hierarchies such as age, ethnicity, and nation.”[6][pageneeded] An individual’s social location determines how one will be perceived by others in the whole of society. It maintains three faces of power: the power to design or manipulate the rules, to win the game through force or competition, and the ability to write history.[7]

To delve into the first social hierarchy, racial oppression is burdening a specific race with unjust or cruel restraints or impositions. Racial oppression may be social, systematic, institutionalized, or internalized. Social forms of racial oppression include exploitation and mistreatment that is socially supported.[8] United States history consists of five primary forms of racial oppression including genocide and geographical displacement, slavery, second-class citizenship, non-citizen labor, and diffuse racial discrimination.[9] The first primary form of racial oppressiongenocide and geographical displacementrefers to 19th century Western European settlers coming to North America and wanting the indigenous populations land. Many indigenous people, commonly known today as Native Americans, were relocated to Indian Reservations and killed during wars fought over land. The second form of racial oppression, slavery, refers to Africans being the property of white Americans. Racial oppression throughout North America, particularly in the south, was not something that was part of the social environment in which they lived; it was a significant part of daily life and routines. The third primary form of racial oppression, second-class citizenship, refers to some categories of citizens having fewer rights than others. Second-class citizenship became a pivotal form of racial oppression in the United States following the Civil War. The fourth form of racial oppression in American history refers to the linkage of race and legal citizenship status. During the middle of the 19th century, some categories of immigrants, such as Mexicans and Chinese, were denied legal access to citizenship status. The last primary form of racial oppression in American history is diffuse discrimination. This form of racial oppression refers to discriminatory actions that are not directly backed by the legal powers of the state. This can include employers not hiring or promoting someone on the basis of race, landlords only renting to people of certain racial groups and salespeople treating customers differently based on race. Even after the civil rights legislation abolishing segregation, racial discrimination is still a reality in the United States. According to Robert Blauner, author of Racial Oppression in America, Blauner states, Fundamental to my perspective is the notion that racial groups and racial oppression are central features of the American social dynamic.[9]

The second social hierarchy, class oppression, also referred to as classism, can be defined as prejudice and discrimination based on social class.[10] Class is a social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and power. A class is a large group of people who share similar economic or social positions based on their income, wealth, property ownership, job status, education, skills, and power in the economic and political sphere. The most commonly used class identities include: upper class, middle class, working class, and poor class. Most people in the United States 80% to 90% in some surveys identify as middle class. Class is also experienced differently depending on race, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Class oppression of the poor and working class can lead to deprivation of basic needs and a feeling of inferiority to higher-class people and shame towards ones traditional class or ethnic heritage. In the United States, class has become racialized leaving the greater percentage of people of color living in poverty.[11] Since class oppression is universal among the majority class in American society, it at times can seem invisible, however, it is a relevant issue that many suffer from.

Social oppression permeates much deeper than an imbalance in power. It is attributed to the injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes, and institutional rules.[12] As an outcome of these societal views, social oppression exists and thrives through social groups.These ideologies surrounding the dominant group have a direct negative effect on oppressed races, classes, genders, and sexualities that dont identify with the dominate group.

Many political theorists, including Weber, argue that oppression persists because most individuals fail to recognize it; that is, discrimination is often not visible to those who are not in the midst of it. These inequalities further perpetuate themselves because those oppressed rarely have access to resources that would allow them to escape their maltreatment. This can lead to internalized oppression, in which subordinate groups essentially give up the fight to access equality and accept their fate as a non-dominant group.[13]

Delving further into social oppression on both a macro and micro level, Black feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[14] The matrix of domination discusses the interrelated nature of four domains of power, including the structural, disciplinary, hegemonic, and interpersonal domains. Each of these spheres work to sustain current inequalities that are faced by minority groups. The structural, disciplinary and hegemonic domains all operate on a macro level, and deal with issues of social oppression such as education, the judicial/criminal justice system, and elements of power and control, respectively. The interpersonal domain is guided by perceptions due to the spheres in the matrix of domination, and therefore plays out in everyday life.

The interpersonal domain is situated within the perspective of standpoint theory. Standpoint theory deals with an individual’s social location in that each person will have a very different perspective based on where they are positioned in society. For instance, a White male, living in America will have a very different take on an issue such as abortion than that of a Black female, living in Africa. Each will have different knowledge claims and experiences that will have shaped how they perceive abortion. From an oppression viewpoint, standpoint theory proves to be quite pertinent. Oftentimes certain aspects of society, and the knowledge that they hold, are kept suppressed because they are viewed as inferior points of view. Gendered oppression is born through gender norms that have been adopted by society. Throughout history, the majority of cultures believe that the gender norms constitute masculinity as being the dominant gender while femininity being the oppressed. The gendered power differences allow specific groups to thrive in society at the expense of others. Many have argued that cultural practices concerning gender norms of child care, housework, appearance, and career impose an unfair burden on women and as such are oppressive. According to feminist Barbara Cattunar, women have always been subjected to many forms of oppression, backed up by religious texts which insist upon womens inferiority and subjugation. Femininity has always been looked down upon perpetuated by socially constructed stereotypes, which has affected womens societal status and opportunity. In current society sources like the media further, impose gendered oppression as they shape societal views and ideals on each gender. Female roles in pop- culture are being objectified and sexualized, which as a result, degrades the female gender. The development of feminism is the outcome of gendered oppression and has brought a lot of awareness to the issue. Along with females other groups that do not identify with the dominant masculine, male gender are also subjected to oppression. These groups include the transgender community and gender-nonconformists.

The dominant societal views surrounding masculinity have formed a sexuality hierarchy oppressing individuals who do not comply with the social phenomenon of heteronormity. Heteronormity suggests that anyone who does not identify with the heterosexual status is painted as different or abnormal by society. The patriarchal hierarchies are fundamental to the analysis of sexuality. The dominant group oppresses those who identify with the non-hetero sexuality status that is prevalent in the current patriarchal system. The oppression faced by the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community comes out of the societal views points attributed to the nuclear family in a capitalist society. Social actions by the oppressed groups like the 1970s Gay Liberation movement have come about in order to evoke change for the oppressed groups. While progress has been made there is still a lot of discrimination and inequality faced by the oppressed groups.

“Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systemically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions.”[15]

Institutionalized oppression allows for government systems and its employees to systematically favor specific groups of people based upon group identity. Dating back to colonization, the United States implemented the institution of slavery where African Americans were brought to the United States to be a source of free labor to expand the cotton and tobacco industry.[16] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property.[16]

Although the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments freed African Americans, gave them citizenship, and provided them the right to vote, institutions such as police departments continue to instill oppressive systems against minorities. Police departments train their officers to profile individuals based upon their racial heritage and exert excess force in order to restrain them. Racial profiling and police brutality are employed to control a population thought to be undesirable, undeserving, and under punished by established law.[17] In both situations, police officers rely on legal authority to exonerate their extralegal use of force; both respond to perceived threats and fears aroused by out-groups, especially but not exclusively racial minorities.[17] For example, blacks are: approximately four times more likely to be targeted for police use of force than their white counterparts; arrested and convicted for drug-related criminal activities at higher rates than their overall representation in the U.S. population; and are more likely to fear unlawful and harsh treatment by law enforcement officials.[16] The International Association of Chiefs of Police collected data from police departments between the years 1995 and 2000 and found that 83% of incidents involving use-of-force against subjects of different races than the officer executing force involved a white officer and a black subject.[16]

Institutionalized oppression is not only experienced by people of racial minorities, but also affects those of the LGBT community. Oppression of the LGBT community in the United States dates back to President Eisenhowers presidency where he passed the Executive Order No. 10450 in April 1953 which permitted non-binary sexual behaviors to be investigated by federal security programs.[18] As a response to this order, More than 800 federal employees resigned or were terminated in the two years following because their files linked them in some way with homosexuality.[18]

Oppression of the LGBT community continues today through religious systems and their justifications of discrimination based upon their own religious freedom. States such as Arizona and Kansas passed laws in 2014 giving religious-based businesses the right to refuse service to LGBT customers.[19] The proposal of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA) offers full protection of LGBT workers from job discrimination; however, the act does not offer protection against religious-based corporations and businesses, ultimately allowing the LGBT community to be discriminated against in environments such as churches and religious-based hospitals.[19] The LGBT community is further oppressed by the United States government with the passage of the First-Amendment Defense Act which states, Protecting religious freedom from Government intrusion is a Government interest of the highest order.[20] This act essentially allows for institutions of any kindschools, businesses, hospitalsto deny service to people based upon their sexuality because it goes against a religious belief.

The term economic oppression changes in meaning and significance over time, depending on its contextual application. In todays context, economic oppression may take several forms, including but not limited to: the practice of bonded labour in some parts of India, serfdom, forced labour, low wages, denial of equal opportunity, practicing employment discrimination, and economic discrimination based on sex, nationality, race, and religion.[21]

Ann Cudd describes the main forces of economic oppression as oppressive economic systems and direct and indirect forces. Even though capitalism and socialism are not inherently oppressive, they lend themselves to oppression in characteristic ways.”[22] She defines direct forces of economic oppression as restrictions on opportunities that are applied from the outside on the oppressed, including enslavement, segregation, employment discrimination, group-based harassment, opportunity inequality, neocolonialism, and governmental corruption. This allows for a dominant social group to maintain and maximize its wealth through the intentional exploitation of economically inferior subordinates. In indirect forces (also known as oppression by choice), the oppressed are co-opted into making individual choices that add to their own oppression. The oppressed are faced with the decision of choosing to go against their social good, and even against their own good. If they choose otherwise, they have to choose against their interests, which may lead to resentment.[22]

An example of direct forces of economic oppression is employment discrimination in the form of the gender pay gap. Restrictions on women’s access to and participation in the workforce like the wage gap is an inequality most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations.[23] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[24] Some argue women are prevented from achieving complete gender equality in the workplace because of the ideal-worker norm, which defines the committed worker as someone who works full-time and full force for forty years straight, a situation designed for the male sex.[23] Women, in contrast, are still expected to fulfill the caretaker role and take time off for domestic needs such as pregnancy and ill family members, preventing them from conforming to the ideal-worker norm. With the current norm in place, women are forced to juggle full-time jobs and family care at home.[25] Others believe that this difference in wage earnings is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[26] Eber and Weichselbaumer argue that over time, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially. Most of this decrease is due to better labor market endowments of females.”[27]

Indirect economic oppression is exemplified when workers perform labor abroad to support their families. For outsourced employees, working abroad gives them little to no bargaining power with not only their employers but with immigration authorities. They could be forced to accept low wages and work in poor living conditions. And by working abroad, outsourced employees contribute to the industry of foreign countries instead of their own. Veltman and Piper describe the effects of outsourcing on female laborers abroad:

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options.”[22]

Resistance to oppression has been linked to a moral obligation, an act deemed necessary for the preservation of self and society.[29] Still, resistance to oppression has been largely overlooked in terms of the amount of research and number of studies completed on the topic, and therefore, is often largely misinterpreted as lawlessness, belligerence, envy, or laziness.”[30] Over the last two centuries, resistance movements have risen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze, and counter various types of oppression, as well as to increase public awareness and support of groups who have been marginalized and disadvantaged by systematic oppression. Late 20th century resistance movements such as Liberation Theology and Anarchism set the stage for mass critiques of and resistance to forms of social and institutionalized oppression that have been subtly enforced and reinforced over time. Resistance movements of the 21st century have furthered the missions of activists across the world, and movements such as Liberalism, Black Lives Matter (related: Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter) and Feminism (related: Meninism) are some of the most prominent examples of resistance to oppression today.

Liberalism represents a relatively inclusive political philosophy and worldview, and a growing opposition to more conservative perspectives. Classical liberal ideologies consist of political decentralization, separation of church and state, freedom of immigration, cultural and religious tolerance, and the privatization of education systems.[31] Liberalisms main tenets are liberty, equality, and tolerance, which, in many ways, laid the foundation for movements against oppression. Now, Liberalism is much more than a political ideology; it is a personal outlook on life, encouraging the widespread progression toward social, political, and cultural equality before the law.

Black Lives Matter is a politically charged activist movement that has taken hold in many countries across the world. The Black Lives Matter movement is a later iteration of the black liberation movement, which can be largely traced back to the extensive beating of Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver, by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991. This incident, videotaped by a conveniently located observer (George Holliday), resulted in the raised awareness of unjust police brutality against African American individuals, and began the era of modern surveillance by civilians, as well as the intersection of videotaping and resistance to police abuse.[32] The Black Lives Matter movement was formally reignited by the murder of Trayvon Martin in March 2012. After Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, who was initially found to be innocent of manslaughter, activists took to the street in defense of Martins name, as well as in defense of African-Americans who have been systematically oppressed and abused by law enforcement. Today, the Black Lives Matter movement demands an end to the disproportionate killing of black people by law-enforcement…and seeks to root out white supremacy wherever it lives.[33] Efforts have been made in the form of protest, the seeking of updated local and state legislation, and even social media hashtags. As Black Lives Matter spread across the world, people reacted in one of two ways: they either met the movement with resistance, as exemplified by the origination of the Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter movements, or they acknowledged and recognized the movements goals and initiatives, as well as how the mistreatment of African-Americans permeated society in a number of ways. Due to the nature of oppression, resistance movements often incorporate intersectionality, and the Black Lives Matter movement in particular is no exception. Its widespread recognition and advancement has proved beneficial to the advancement of other social justice movements, namely Feminism, through the empowerment and activism of Black feminists.[34]

Although a relatively modern form of resistance, Feminisms origins can be traced back to the events leading up to the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923. While the ERA was created to address the need for equal protection under the law between men and women in the workplace, it spurred increased feminism that has come to represent the search for equal opportunity and respect for women in patriarchal societies, across all social, cultural, and political spheres.[35] Demonstrations and marches have been a popular medium of support, with the January 21, 2017 Womens Marchs replication in major cities across the world drawing tens of thousands of supporters.[36] Feminists main talking points consist of womens reproductive rights, the closing of the pay gap between men and women, the Glass Ceiling and workplace discrimination, and the intersectionality of Feminism with other major issues such as African-American rights, immigration freedoms, and gun violence. Another popular movement has arisen which initially undermined the efforts of feminist thinkers, known as Meninism. However, the Meninisms initial mockery of Feminism has become a channel through which to voice concerns about the equally unrealistic standards that men are held to in modern society.[37]

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Oppression – Wikipedia

Government Oppression | Prometheism.net – Part 32

Right and Left, Protection, Oppression, and Liberty are all directly interrelated, and are in turn a function of what can be termed Government Intervention, or more simply, How Much Government.

The traditional Right-Wing government allows people the rich and powerful to impose upon others by providing insufficient protection through insufficient Intervention.

Left-Wing government allows government to impose upon people beyond simple protection, thus creating a condition of oppression through excessive Intervention.

The degree of Government Intervention also affects liberty. If protection and government intervention is insufficient, people are able to impose upon one another, so the overall liberty is not maximized. On the other hand, excessive government intervention results in oppression, thus once again, the overall liberty is not maximized.

The amount of government intervention required to maximize liberty and to provide full protection for all citizens from imposition without creating oppression can be defined with the utmost accuracy.

Throughout most of our political history government has pursued a policy of laisser-faire or minimal intervention in the affairs of society, thus permitting those with superior forces of personality, intelligence and wealth to increase their well-being by diminishing that of others.

Insufficient government intervention permits citizens to harm and exploit one another. That is the essence of Right Wing Conservatism. Under this regime freedom is increased for the stronger elements of society but decreased for the weaker members; hence the overall liberty is not maximized.

The Socialist reaction gave government, or the State, considerably greater powers of intervention designed to help the poor by preventing exploitation and readjusting the balance of wealth.

But excessive government initiates exploitation and oppression by the State. That is the essence of Left Wing Socialism. Under this regime liberty is increased by government protection, but it is then decreased as government goes beyond the point of protection and creates interference, leading to oppression. Again, liberty is not maximized.

Liberty is maximized when government offers full protection, but without moving into oppression.

It thus becomes clear that the significant factor in government policy, and the liberty it produces, is the Degree of Government Intervention.

The Government Intervention Scale

The Degree of Government Intervention can be shown as a simple straight-line scale, calibrated from Zero to One Hundred Percent.

Let us first establish the two extremes at each end of the scale.

At one end of the Scale we have Zero Percent Government Intervention, which means that government quite simply does nothing at all. Government is to all intents and purposes non-existent. The result is anarchy in its pure sense of being without leader, (an arkhos in Greek). In this condition everyone is free to do whatever they like; but this also includes the freedom to limit or eliminate the freedom of others. Liberty, in the sense of a disciplined freedom resulting in a safe and ordered society, could not be said to exist under this regime.

At the other end of the Scale we have One Hundred Percent Government Intervention. Here we find total government control over every aspect of life. This is the kind of environment visualized by authors such as Huxley and Orwell, who attempted to highlight the dangers of allowing government to become oppressive. Here we find ourselves in the sinister world of Total Control, of citizens directed in their every move and every thought by an ever-watchful Big Brother. Clearly, liberty does not thrive here either.

Fortunately most of us experience neither anarchy in the sense of zero government, nor the total oppression of one hundred percent government. But these two positions provide clear end-points as reference positions.

While there is little current example of zero government, many of the ex-socialist-bloc countries swung over to the opposite extreme in the confusion following perestroika, with a low degree of practical government resulting in black markets, widespread corruption, and the control of production and commerce in the cities moving from the State into the hands of Mafia-style gangs. It might still appear to the citizens of Russias major cities that Government Intervention is almost at Zero, a condition which to many may seem infinitely worse than the old Communist days, the memory softened now by time.

More familiar to Western countries is the Low Degree of, say, a nominal 25% Government Intervention. This is represented by the term Laisser-faire, meaning literally let people get on with it.

Low Intervention, or Laisser-faire

The first exponent of Laisser-faire was Francis Quesnay, physician to Louis XV, who came to the conclusion that government was a necessary evil which should interfere as little as possible with individual freedom.

The pioneering thought of Quesnay was developed into one of the most powerful doctrines in the history of ideas by Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, whose work The Wealth of Nations (published in 1776) became the gospel of the system of national liberty for the next century in western political and economic thought.

Familiar with the works of Quesnay, Smith built a more solid basis for his attack on government, updated now to reflect the shift of emphasis from land to industry which was concurrently unfolding.

Smith held that the source of a nations wealth is labor. The increase in a nations wealth therefore depends on making labor more efficient, which in turn is achieved by enhancing the investment of capital, developing specialization and mass production, and promoting the free flow of goods and materials in international trade.

To give full play to this complicated but natural and vital operation, the whole process must remain free from artificial restrictions of government.

This thesis was undoubtedly proposed as a constructive scientific-economic blueprint for the general growth, welfare and benefit of society as a whole, and in theory at least it is difficult to argue against it.

But in production and commerce, as in all aspects of inter-human relationships, there is always opportunity for infringement of liberty, for some to gain through others loss.

And as the industrial revolution unfolded it would become clear that infringement of liberty in industry could be taken to, and indeed well beyond, levels which were unacceptable to anyone with knowledge and a modicum of social conscience.

Though Adam Smith saw benefit for all, in practice it would be the 19th century owners of capital, production equipment and factory premises who would benefit, to the detriment and impoverishment of those in the weaker position: their employees, the ex-hand-weavers now displaced by machines and clamoring for work at any price to ward off starvation. Women and children were paid a meager wage for long hours of concentrated work tending the machines which were dangerous, unguarded, and caused frequent accidents for which there was neither care nor compensation.

And the law was predictably slow to act in their defense. The bankers, investors and industrialists, being either in power or influential in the formulation of government policy, naturally supported a system which gave them a free rein to take advantage of their superior position. Laisser-faire for them was every bit as rewarding as Adam Smith had promised.

But at the same time it was becoming clear to reformers both in and out of government that while accepting the basic doctrine of liberty, an increase in government intervention was necessary to protect workers and improve their lot.

The movement for reform by legislation in England began with the Factory Acts which between 1833 and 1845 succeeded in limiting the work of children under eleven years of age to nine hours a day and of women to twelve hours. These Acts prohibited the employment of children in mines, and for the first time provided general rules for the health and safety of all workers.

So it was that Government Intervention began steadily to increase, with the justifiable aim of eliminating some of the more blatant opportunities for citizen to infringe the liberties of fellow citizen.

But the pace of reform was too slow for the newly awakening, increasingly organized and motivated working classes. And the pendulum of Government Intervention was to swing over to the other extreme: to socialism and communism, which represented a much higher degree of Intervention than most reformers would ever have visualized.

High Intervention, or Socialism/Communism

Under Socialism and Communism we enter the higher realms of Government Intervention, say a nominal 75%, where an increase in the power of government and the State is actively pursued.

Place everything in the hands of the State, the Socialists urged, and the State will take good care of us all.

Set against the Victorian backdrop of widespread poverty, ignorance, ill-health and malnutrition, coupled with a concurrently growing sense of conscience and the need for reform, socialism appeared to offer the answer. Only a few there were who could foresee the implications of high and ever-increasing State control.

One such visionary was British author Herbert Spencer, who wrote, back in 1884:

There is an increasing tendency for administrative compulsion and restraints. The increasing power of the State is accompanied by a decreasing power of the rest of society to resist its further growth and control.

The multiplication of careers opened by a developing bureaucracy tempts members of the classes who regulate it to favor its extension, as adding to the chances of safe and respectable employment for their relatives.

The people at large, led to look on benefits received through public agencies as gratis benefits, have their hopes continually excited by the prospects of more.

Thus, influences of various kinds conspire to increase State action, and decrease individual action. The numerous socialistic changes already made by Act of parliament, joined with the numerous others about to be made, will soon be all merged in State-socialism, swallowed in the vast wave which they have little by little raised.

Spencers words have proved prophetically correct in the light, not only of State oppression in the former Soviet Union and its satellite socialist countries, but also in the light of attitudes, demands for social programs, high taxes and budget deficits in the West.

Nations and their governments have thus far succeeded in creating and experiencing two kinds of political environment: enslavement of man by man, and government oppression. Enslavement of man by man, resulting in slavery, feudalism and industrial poverty, gave way at the turn of the 20th century to socialism and communism, which tended to create government oppression a reduction in personal liberties combined with the secrecy, arrogance and lack of financial discipline so familiar today.

The two conditions or policies of laisser-faire and socialism, Right and Left, and their relationship with Government Intervention, may be simply summarized.

Enslavement, exploitation and imposition exercised by citizens over fellow citizens result from a Low Degree of Government Intervention, or Laisser-faire, which permits Imposition by citizens upon one another.

Oppression, government intrusion, State takeover of business, or Socialism-Communism, result from a High Degree of Government Intervention, which creates Imposition by Government.

Where do we find Maximum Liberty?

Liberty is certainly not maximized at Zero Percent Government Intervention. At Zero Percent Intervention there is no government or legal protection of liberty whatsoever. This is anarchy. Many examples of this can be seen at the present time in the countries of central Africa and even, to a lesser extent, in some of the ex-Soviet states.

As we move away from this condition of lawlessness, proceeding up the Intervention Scale, a gradual increase in Government Intervention provides basic law, order and personal safety, followed as we progress farther up the scale by more sophisticated forms of protection such as consumer, employee and environmental protection.

How far should we continue to increase Government Intervention?

The Right-wing definition of Liberty as minimum Government Intervention has always been a powerful argument, enhanced today in the light of both the experience and the demise of Soviet socialism. Just as innocence until proved guilty, or Presumption of Innocence, is a cornerstone of the English judicial tradition, so too does the Anglo-American concept of law recognize what may be called the Presumption of Liberty, the concept that we should all be free unless there is a very good reason for the law to limit that freedom.

And what constitutes a very good reason for the law to limit freedom? Another very old-established precept of English Common Law provides an answer: it is entirely reasonable for the law to limit or to forbid an action if that action is harmful to others.

Bearing this principle in mind, we continue to increase Government Intervention gradually until we reach the point at which there is sufficient Government Intervention to ensure full protection of each and every individuals liberty from infringement by others in any way. We reach the point where Government Intervention is sufficient to ensure that there is no opportunity for any individual to impose upon, exploit, harm or in any way infringe the liberty of any others.

We have in fact reached the halfway mark on the Scale, represented by 50% Government Intervention.

Under a regime of 50% Government Intervention there would be no opportunity whatsoever for one individual or class or group to harm or enslave or to infringe the liberty of any others.

At this point we have achieved one side of liberty. As we make the final move from 49% to the 50% mark, we have succeeded in eliminating all infringement of liberty by defending the citizen against any and all forms of injury or imposition by other citizens.

But now we must guard against going any further, which would lead us into oppression.

We have already defined the 50% mark as being the precise degree of Government Intervention necessary to prevent any and all infringements of liberty between citizens. So if we increase Intervention any further government can only begin producing laws which are not strictly in the protection of liberty, and are therefore intrusive and ultimately oppressive.

As Government Intervention increases beyond 50% a progressive reduction of Liberty immediately begins. Governments are frequently tempted to make laws regulating personal private conduct for our own good. There may be evidence to show that seatbelts save lives; but when government legislates their use for our own personal protection it is taking the first step down the road to oppression.

At 50% Intervention, government must protect employees and consumers from commercial irresponsibility. But when government takes upon itself all commerce and industry it is denying individuals the exercise of their natural enterprise and initiative. Apart from the reduction of commercial liberty, this also has disastrous effects on national prosperity, a fact which became the major cause of the collapse of Soviet socialism in 1990.

The degree of Government Intervention which will produce Maximum Liberty can be clearly and precisely established:

Under a policy of 50% Intervention, government prevents individuals from imposing their will and judgments upon one another, but initiates no further imposition.

50% Government Intervention neither permits nor creates Infringement of Liberty. Government intervenes promptly when, but only when the law is required to protect a clearly identifiable infringement of liberty.

If there is any opportunity for any citizen to infringe the liberty of any other citizen, if any citizen suffers infringement of liberty to any degree or in any way at the hands of any other citizen, then Government is exercising not 50%, but 49% or some lower degree of Intervention.

Government is permitting a degree of injury and exploitation, of self-enhancement at the expense of others.

On the other hand, if Government issues any law, order or directive which is not clearly and solely in defense of an identifiable liberty from imposition by others, then Government is exercising not 50%, but 51% or some higher degree of Intervention.

Government is initiating some degree of State oppression.

The ability to define the seemingly diverse elements and options of Right and Left, Laisser-faire and Socialism-Communism, of Protection and Oppression on the single common scale of Government Intervention allows us also to define the related degrees of Liberty.

Liberty is maximized when the degree of Government Intervention is 50%: no less, and no more.

At 50% Intervention there is no Infringement of Liberty either by citizen, or by the State; there is neither Exploitation nor Oppression; the general Liberty is maximized.

The Degree of Government Intervention necessary to maximize liberty can thus be identified with a precision which any citizen can readily comprehend, and when necessary, defend.

A government basing its day-to-day legislation on such a clearly definable policy would lose the ability, presently enjoyed by governments of any shade of opinion to act arbitrarily. Government would be operating under such a precisely defined policy that it would become an interpreter of policy, rather than an originator of arbitrary law. This would radically alter the legislative process and the relationship between government and citizen. Government functionaries and departments become answerable to a Principle, their actions easily verifiable by any alert citizen. Citizens are governed, neither by dictator nor majority, but by a Principle which guarantees maximum protection, minimal or zero oppression, and maximum overall liberty.

The Principle of Liberty offers a new direction in politics, based on universality not class interest. DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

If any man, any woman, acquires or is granted power over any other or others, this will not may, but most surely and certainly will lead to abuse, misuse and corruption.

The only Power that is competent and can be trusted to regulate the affairs of community and society is the Power of Principle, the Principle that in the pursuit of self-improvement and the exercise of liberty, no-one should injure or exploit others.

This Principle of Liberty is neutral and impersonal. It is a shield, protecting from injury, preventing injury.

Legislators hold no arbitrary or discretionary power. They are simply Interpreters, applying the Principle in terms of everyday events and actions. The process of Interpretation is clearly delineated and circumscribed. If there is Injury, there must be Protection. If there is no Injury, then there is neither cause nor justification for the interference of law.

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Protection, Oppression, and Liberty: How Much Government?

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Government Oppression | Prometheism.net – Part 32

Thinking Constitutionally About Charlottesville – HuffPost

Violence: Throwing a bomb through the window of an abortion clinic certainly expresses an opinion, but is not protected by the First Amendment. No brainer.

Imminent violence:A lynch mob marching toward a jail, torches and noose in hand, chanting, to seize a suspect, is certainly expressing an opinion, but the march can be curbed before it reaches the suspect without violating the First Amendment.

Fear of violence:Anti-war protesters marching peacefully, if provocatively, through a city street have a First Amendment right to do so, and cannot be curbed because of a fear that others offended by their speech might attack them or because of a fear that counter-demonstrators will lead to violence between the two groups. That fear cannot constitutionally justify a government ban of the demonstration.

Instead, it is the responsibility of the police to protect the demonstrators against violence, not use the fear of violence to ban the demonstration.

And if there is a likelihood of violence between demonstrators and counterdemonstrators, the police must take reasonable steps toward keeping them apart. As the noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, himself a veteran of many such cases, recently wrote:

To prevent violence, local and state police, and if necessary, the National Guard, need to be trained to separate hostile groups. If need be, you separate them with police officers standing between them or creating First Amendment zones (with wooden or metal barriers if necessary) for each group.

But in Charlottesville, he concluded, video footage and reported personal observations reveal that the lesson of separation was not adhered to adequately.

In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of this country announced a then-new purpose of government: to protect the rights of citizens. To secure these rights, the Declaration said, is the reason why governments are instituted… In Charlottesville, the government failed to secure those rights.

In Charlottesville, however, there was one more highly volatile circumstance: one side in the dispute was ostentatiously armed, carrying dangerous and intimidating weapons. Should that make a difference in how and whether free speech rights are protected?

In a curious step-back from its traditional defense of free speech rights, the ACLU national office has now announced that it may no longer defend the free speech rights of people who carry guns to a demonstration. This is a curious announcement, in part because there is no pending request for such representation, and in part because the death and injuries in Charlottesville were causednot by a gun being fired but by an automobile driven murderouslyinto the crowd of anti-racist demonstrators. And this murderous act was likely enabled in part by the failure of the police to create barriers. Will the ACLU now not defend the free speech rights of people who drive their cars to demonstrations? Or take steps to require the police to be more protective in volatile situations?

But more importantly, the ACLUs announcement is a serious step-back from theBrandenburgstandard, which for nearly a half-century has delivered precisely the sort of free-speech protection the ACLU has sought for its entire history. Are we now to go back to fear of violence as a legitimate justification for allowing the government to prohibit speech it doesnt like?

Because guns are not the only source of violence, and once fear of guns can justify speech restrictions, what other fears will? Fear of cars? Fear of clubs? Fear of knives? Fear of fists? Has the ACLU Board changed its longstanding policy, or was this an impromptu reaction by the staff unable to resist the hostility its free speech cases often provoke? (And maybe concerned about losing donors.)

Moreover, carrying guns as a show of force, is not unprecedented. The Black Panthers did it in the 60s, without the ACLU as I recall ever issuing a pre-emptive statement saying it would never represent them on First Amendment grounds if they carried guns. Carrying guns is threatening, but carrying guns does not necessarily imply using them. Again, the weapon of death in Charlottesville turned out to be a car, not a gun. And people who did not drive that car, regardless of what they carried, cannot be judged to have been responsible for that death.

What can be, and should be, constitutionally curbed is imminent violence, not the fear of violence that leaves the government free to speculate. Which brings us to the second Supreme Court case worth thinking about in this context, a case calledHeller, decided in 2008.

Until theHellerdecision, the Second Amendment had always been held not to confer anindividualright but rather to protect the right ofstatesto raise and maintain state militias as a protection against federal government oppression. Individuals had constitutional rights to own and possess arms only in that context. That is in my view unquestionably right historically. But in 2008, inHeller, Justice Antonin Scalia, the oracle of original intent, abandoned and twisted it to lead the Court to a 5-4 decision, which held for the first time that the Second Amendment conferred a right to bear arms upon individuals,even if not affiliated with any state-regulated militia.

And although the case only ruled that there was a constitutional right of individuals to keep handguns and other firearms for private usein their own homes,theHellerdecision has encouraged the spread of open carry outside the home.

I believeHellerhas no more validity than theDred Scottdecision, which denied all rights to blacks, did in 1857, or theBradwelldecision, which denied the rights of women to practice law, did in 1873. But we are stuck with it for now as those alive in 1857 and 1873 were for a time stuck with theDred ScottandBradwelldecisions. But that doesnt mean we have to agree withHeller, nor does it necessarily mean that a law reasonably regulating open carry would not be upheld by the Supreme Court, even underHeller.

So to summarize:

1. I do not recall the ACLU, back in the 60s, taking the position that the mere brandishing of guns by Black Panthers, without more, disqualified them from being represented by the ACLU in otherwise legitimate free speech cases. So why now, other than different political sympathies? Whats the content-neutral legal principle here?

2. Violence can obviously be curbed. No-brainer. So can imminent violence under the Supreme CourtsBrandenburgdecision. But just brandishing weapons, without more, is not violence any more than hanging someone in effigy is a real hanging. I believe open carry can and should be legally restrained, and not only in the context of First Amendment activity. But once courts allow thefearof violence, without more, to curb expression, it is a very slippery slope.

In 1969, Quaker students in Iowa were prevented from wearing black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam because school principals believed they would provoke or lead to violence. That was upheld until the Supreme Court struck it down, ruling that fear of violence, without more, was not enough. I know armbands are not guns, but fear of violence is not violence, either.

3. As Norman Siegel wrote, it is always the responsibility of the government, utilizing local police or the national guard, to protect peaceful protesters when they are threatened by thugs, whether the thugs have guns or not. That was what the government should have done when the Freedom Riders protesting segregated busing were assaulted by white mobs in the South in 1961, and when civil rights activists marching across the Selma bridge in 1965

were assaulted instead of protected by law enforcement officials, and when anti-war demonstrators were assaulted by hard-hats in NYC in 1970, while the police stood aside.

To secure these rights, the Declaration of Independence announced, is why governments are instituted. If that is to be taken seriously, then the police must be obligated to protect demonstrators, not repress them, especially in volatile situations.

4. And finally: What happened in Charlottesville was not the fault of protesters who did not engage in violence. It was the fault of those who became violent, and the fault of the government that did not adequately prepare for and protect against that possibility.

Let us not allow constitutional standards we fought to establish for so long, and which protect all of our rights to free speech, become an unintended casualty of what happened in Charlottesville. Because the erosion of free speech rights would be a victory for those who oppose liberty and equality.

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Thinking Constitutionally About Charlottesville – HuffPost

Robert E. Lee Was The Richard Spencer Of His Time – HuffPost

I am no different than most Americans. I was taught what most Americans are taught about the Civil War and about its heroes. I was taught to believe that there were heroes on both sides of the Civil War. Chief among those heroes were men like General Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson, who we were taught were great, valiant, and noble men who served honorably in a difficult time. They were honorable gentlemen who just happened to disagree on the issues. Yes, the main issue at question was the nations peculiar institution of slavery, but for men like Lee it was largely an issue of federalism and states rights. They were so venerated in my high school textbooks that I might have almost inferred that if I were in their shoes, I would have similarly fought, and similarly acted as a matter of conscience.

And you know what? Maybe, just maybe, if my grandparents and parents had not been sharecroppers on cotton plantations in Jim Crows South Carolina and Georgia, I would have been tempted to believe this whitewashed and perverted version of history. Or maybe if I didnt witness firsthand the aftermath of Nixons and then Reagans attempt to galvanize and then weaponize the same racial fears of white people into a Southern Strategy and a so-called War on Drugs, I would have been sympathetic to these arguments. Maybe, just maybe if my high school AP History teacher didnt show us how D.W. Griffiths racist propaganda film, Birth of a Nation, gave rise to the KKK throughout the country and was endorsed by President Woodrow Wilson during the exact time frame in which most Confederate monuments were erected, perhaps I would have believed what they wanted me to believe about the Civil War. But I knew better.

Of course, my history books wanted me to believe that Robert E. Lee was a complicated saint of a man who was forced to lead the Confederate army for the sake of his beloved Virginia. Yet what was Virginias stated reason for secession?

In its ordinance of secession, the state of Virginia argued that they seceded because the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States. Thats right. You read that correctly. Virginia and the ten other states who literally kidnapped, sold, bred, and enslaved humans charged that they were being oppressed by the federal government to end their barbarous enterprise. And white folks across America have tried to argue that the dismantling of the idolatry of white supremacy is their oppression ever since. As has been stated eloquently by others, when you have only known a brutal and barbaric power, even equality feels like oppression.

So no. Robert E. Lee was no gentleman. Robert E. Lee was no hero. As far as Im concerned, Robert E Lee was the Richard Spencer of his time. Like Richard Spencer, he was educated at the finest schools, clean cut and polished. Like Richard Spencer, he perceived of himself to be a noble, honorable man. Like Richard Spencer, he bought into a narrative that he was somehow a champion against white oppression and victimization.

How did this gentleman, Robert E. Lee, behave, when the humans he owned tried to pursue their God-given right to freedom? This gentleman had them beat like cattle or whipped them himself, as The Atlantic recently reported. And when faced with the possibility of serving alongside his West Point classmates who sided with the Union or fighting to defend white supremacy, this gentleman led an insurrection against his homeland leading to the death of over 600,000 people, the bloodiest single war ever on our soil. And what did gentlemen like Robert E. Lee lead men into bloody battle to defend? White supremacy, plain and simple.

Yet today we have a president who on a Monday condemns white supremacy while reading scripted remarks, then condemns both sides when a neo-Nazi claims the life of Heather Heyer. By Friday though, he laments the removal of beautiful statues and monuments dedicated to those who died to defend white supremacy. Then of course today he announces that he will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan,hoping that we will all just forget about it and move on.

Yet moving on, is precisely how we got here. Moving on is how 81 percent of evangelical Christians voted for a man who has brought out the very worst of this countrys demons of racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and protectionism. Moving on is precisely how it is 2017 and we are still living with the very real threat of white supremacist fueled domestic terrorism in America. Moving on is precisely how we have managed to sanitize, normalize, and ritualize the legacy of white supremacy in our city squares and on a college campus in Charlottesville. Each time we tell ourselves to move on we turn a blind eye to the reality not only of our countrys racist past but to its racist and monstrous present. We lie to ourselves to suggest otherwise.

Its time for us to finally face the truth in our country. Only through confronting difficult truths can we hear the cries of our neighbors for justice, truly repent, and chart a way forward to redress the iniquities of our past and present. Richard Spencer and his clean cut, khaki band of white supremacists impersonating real gentlemen may be the tiki torch bearers of racial hatred today. However, the truth is that they carry a torch that was passed on to them by the clean cut gentlemen of a stubbornly persistent era of our nations gruesome past. They gathered at that monument of Robert E. Lee to remind us all that Robert E. Lee was the Richard Spencer of his time.

Link:

Robert E. Lee Was The Richard Spencer Of His Time – HuffPost

Why ESPN and Robert Lee are right – Lincoln Journal Star

In the testosterone-laced world of sports, sometimes your name means everything. Think not? I’ve seen men beaten by mobs just for having the gall to scream out “let’s go Cowboys” at an Eagles game. Think of all the racial epithets we’ve heard, of how one football player, Colin Kaepernick, silently taking a knee during the national anthem in personal protest of injustice in America has divided the nation.

We want to pretend that sports are a safe sanctuary from the world’s ugly problems, but that has always been a farce. Truth is, not even the glorious game of football can keep America’s toxic culture of bigotry, hate and violence at bay. It’s just too heavy a burden.

So imagine if you’re scheduled to be the announcer for ESPN’s livestream of the University of Virginia’s season-opener football game against William and Mary in a few weeks and your name is Robert Lee. But you have watched, along with the world, as thousands of torch-wielding, white supremacists screaming hate-filled chants marched around the UVA campus and rallied all their hate at the foot of a statue bearing your name: Robert Lee. A monument the city had voted to remove under state objections. Well, it’s not unreasonable, even though you are Asian-American, that you and your employer may have some concerns.

“This wasn’t about offending anyone. It was about the reasonable possibility that because of his name he would be subjected to memes and jokes and who knows what else. Think about it. Robert Lee comes to town to do a game in Charlottesville,” ESPN said in a statement that was tweeted late Tuesday night. “No politically correct efforts. No race issues. Just trying to be supportive of a young guy who felt it best to avoid the potential zoo.” It was a mutual decision, the network says, to switch Lee to the Youngstown State versus Pittsburgh game that same day.

Nope, not unreasonable at all. Not in today’s America. Not when we just witnessed heavily armed, swastika-wearing protesters who believe in white supremacy clashing in the streets with counterprotesters, who believed just as passionately that all people are created equal. Not when one woman is dead and dozens more injured because they had the audacity to stand up to the failed notion of white supremacy. Not when a statue, or a team name, or a presidential tweet can incite racial tensions and violence.

No matter that Robert Lee is Asian-American and his name has nothing to do with the Confederacy or slavery. It seems unreasonable, ignorant and downright ridiculous to associate his name in any way with the Confederate general. Still, nothing we’ve witnessed in Charlottesville, or since, has been reasonable or intelligent.

Nothing we’ve seen in Charlottesville or other cities and towns where these types of protests and counterprotests have sprung up could be called reasonable. It’s disgusting. Killing one another, fighting, chanting Nazi slogans and counterslogans. Still, it continues. We continue.

As racial tensions over police brutality, immigration and other issues have flared over the past several years in our nation, these statues have become lightning rods symbolizing oppression, hate and the whitewashing of history for many of us, myself included. Others insist these monuments, of which there are dozens across the nation, are a symbol of Southern pride, an important part of American history.

The top headlines from JournalStar.com. Delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Right. If that were the case, wouldn’t we also have numerous statues of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey or Harriet Tubman and countless others who fought for freedom and equality standing proudly outside government buildings, dotting college campuses? Just getting a national monument to Martin Luther King Jr. took decades.

Long before the Charlottesville riots, municipalities had begun to remove these Confederate monuments on public property, citing safety issues. And those efforts have increased since Charlottesville. From Baltimore to Brooklyn to Texas, these statues are toppling amid protest.

While this national conversation continues, ESPN decided to avoid evoking the chaos during a live broadcast. Robert Lee decided he just wanted to do his job, which is to broadcast a livestream of a college football game. As one ESPN executive told me Wednesday:

“Let’s not go to the zoo if we don’t have to go to the zoo.”

Good call. Life is crazy enough already.

Continue reading here:

Why ESPN and Robert Lee are right – Lincoln Journal Star

COLUMN: We need to learn from the past – Cody Enterprise

I recently heard a young man, who by coincidence has an incredible amount of influence and power in our government, say we dont need to read books or look at history.

The topic he was discussing when he uttered this statement was Mideast peace. His influence and power is not the result of education or experience; it was granted by virtue of who he married.

Sadly, this statement wasnt a surprise. But, it did get me thinking about history, books and critical thinking, among other things.

I recently attended a high school reunion. During that visit down memory lane I contacted a professor I had during junior college. His specialty was history. He is still living, in relatively good health, and had a wonderful memory and agile intellect at 87 years young.

He told me he remembered me, and proceeded to tell a few tales that I had forgotten but he had remembered. We had a wonderful time catching up and I got the long overdue opportunity to let him know that he had a positive impact on a young student. He opened the door for me to history, how it impacts the present and the future. He influenced where I went to college. He was excellent at imparting the necessity and skills of how and why critical thinking is so important. It really is becoming a lost art.

We continue to face the same issues many civilizations before have navigated, some with success, some with success yet to come. We are privileged to have a plethora of historical experts and data available to show us what happens with dictatorial regimes, nuclear fallout, the oppression of a minority culture, slavery, greed, monarchical governments, oppression, famine, deadly disease outbreaks, prejudice, apathy, fear, military might. We see the many social, economic, religious, military, cultural influences that merge to create a watershed event that upends existing structure. We can study them to understand why and how events and situations coalesce to bring a world to near catastrophe or elevate a world to reach for the moon and the stars.

Caesar, Napolean, the Pharaohs, the houses of the Plantagenents to the Tudors to the Windsors, rise of Nazism and Leninism, end of slavery, Teddy and Franklin D, Lincoln, and other vast historical people and events shaped where we are today. Were living with the social influences of Socrates, Plato, More, Bacon, Hobbes.

We can enjoy the beauty created by Monet , Da Vinci, Bosch, Raphael. Were recipients of the mathematical and exploratory discoveries of Columbus, Cabot, Galilei. Shakespeare can still stir the imagination.

We can try and understand history, but it doesnt mean well learn from it. We know that religious battles, segregation, one group oppressing or discriminating against another rarely ends well in the long run. Yet, these traits and behaviors are alive and well, and unfortunately thriving. We cant help ourselves. Human frailty seems to keep the inherent battles going, even when we know better. We cant seem to get out of our own way.

Some may think history isnt relevant, but isnt amazing how often we repeat it.

Originally posted here:

COLUMN: We need to learn from the past – Cody Enterprise


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