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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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States.[26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example, during, and particularly after, the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only Muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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; foreword 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States.[26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example, during, and particularly after, the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only Muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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; foreword 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.

See original 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States.[26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example, during, and particularly after, the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only Muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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; foreword 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States.[26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example, during the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only Muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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; foreword 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States. [26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example during the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Since September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5th, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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.

See original here:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Government Oppression | The Warren County Patriot

THE ART OF GOOD GOVERNMENT. HOW MUCH GOVERNMENT Protection, Oppression, and Liberty. Oppression: is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. 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.

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Government Oppression | The Warren County Patriot

Atrocities Against Native Americans – United to End Genocide

Numerous atrocities against Native Americans span the hundreds of years from the first arrival of European explorers to the modern era under a wide range of circumstances. Today there are over 500 Native American tribes in the United States, each with a distinct culture, way of life and history. Even today, Native Americans face large challenges to cope with the disadvantages history has left them and ongoing cases of discrimination.

An estimated 12,000 years ago, a mass migration of nomadic peoples, traveled across a land bridge that connected Asia to what is now Alaska. These people would come to be called Native Americans, numbering over 50 million, and settling from the top of North America to the bottom of South America.

By the time Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean in 1492, historians estimate that there were 10 million indigenous peoples living in U.S. territory. But by 1900, the number had reduced to less than 300,000.

European expansion into North America whether to find gold, escape religious persecution or start a new life led to the destruction of Native American livelihoods. Disease was a major killer, followed by malnutrition. Colonists in search of gold staged violent ambushes on tribal villages, fueling animosity with Natives. Several wars broke out between tribes and American settlers which led to large death tolls, land dispossession, oppression and blatant racism.

Unlike the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, which led to blanket legal reform, Native Americans gained civil and legal rights piece by piece. In 1924, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, giving Native Americans a dual citizenship they were citizens of their sovereign native land as well as the United States. Native Americans gained uniform voting rights in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But it wasnt until 1968, when the Indian Civil Rights Act was passed, that Natives gained the right to free speech, the right to a jury and protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

While the Native Americans history began thousands of years ago, their European encounter started with one man. Determined to find a direct route from Europe to Asia, Christopher Columbus stumbled on the Americas in 1492.

Columbus called the first people he met Indians because he assumed he had been sailing in the Indian Ocean. But in actuality, this land had already been discovered millions of Natives had occupied the Western Hemisphere for hundreds of years.

Ultimately, while Columbus is remembered as a daring adventurer, he was also a perpetrator of atrocities and his legacy is viewed as the starting point that sparked hundreds of years of exploration and exploitation of the Americas.

The most significant reason for Natives decline was disease an invisible killer that wiped out an estimated 90% of the population. Unlike the Europeans and Asians, whose lifestyle had a long history of sharing close quarters with domesticated animals, Native Americans were not immune to pathogens spread by domesticated cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses. As a result, millions were killed by measles, influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, scarlet fever and syphilis.

Spreading disease was not always intentional on the part of the colonists. But there were a few instances that confirm Europeans attempt to exterminate natives. In 1763, a particularly serious uprising threatened British garrisons in Pennsylvania. Worried about limited resources, and driven by atrocities committed by some Native Americans , Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt:

You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.

Consequently, settlers spread smallpox to the Native Americans by distributing blankets previously owned by contagious patients.

Cultural clashes between European settlers and Natives lasted for over four hundred years small battles, large scale wars and forced labor systems on large estates, also known as encomiendas took a large toll on the Native population.

Throughout the Northeast, proclamations to create redskins, or scalps of Native Americans, were common during war and peace times. According to the 1775 Phips Proclamation in Massachusetts, King George II of Britain called for subjects to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.

Colonists were paid for each Penobscot Native they killed fifty pounds for adult male scalps, twenty-five for adult female scalps, and twenty for scalps of boys and girls under age twelve. These proclamations explicitly display the settlers intent to kill, a major indicator of genocidal acts.

After the American Revolution, many Native American lives were already lost to disease and displacement. In 1830, the federal Indian Removal Act called for the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. Between 1830 and 1838, federal officials working on behalf of white cotton growers forced nearly 100,000 Indians out of their homeland. The dangerous journey from the southern states to Indian Territory in current Oklahoma is referred to as the Trail of Tears in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease.

As the United States expanded westward, violent conflicts over territory multiplied. In 1784, one British traveler noted:

White Americans have the most rancorous antipathy to the whole race of Indians; and nothing is more common than to hear them talk of extirpating them totally from the face of the earth, men, women, and children.

In particular, the 1848 California gold rush caused 300,000 people to migrate to San Francisco from the East Coast and South America. Historians believe that California was once the most densely and diversely populated area for Native Americans in U.S. territory; however, the gold rush had massive implications for Native American livelihoods. Toxic chemicals and gravel ruined traditional Native hunting and agricultural practices, resulting in starvation for many Natives.

Further, in 1850, the California state government passed the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians that addressed the punishment and protection of Native Americans, and helped to facilitate the removal of their culture and land. It also legalized slavery and was referenced for the buying and selling of Native children.

A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct.California Governor Peter H. Burnett, 1851

In 1890, Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota, government officials believed chief Sitting Bull was a Ghost Dancer, someone who rejects the ways of the white man and believes that the gods will create a new world without non-believers. In the process of arresting Sitting Bull, federal officials actually ended up killing him, causing a massive rebellion that led to the deaths of over 150 Natives in Pine Ridge.

Since the early 1900s, advancements in Native American rights have been slow and piece-meal. At the turn of century, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. federal government has the right to overturn all Cherokee laws in the precedent-setting decision Cherokee Nation v. Hitchcock.

But, in 1928, the Brookings Institute released the Meriam Report, which was one of the first in-depth analyses of reservation living conditions. The report went on to influence policy initiatives which improved healthcare, education, and land rights for Native Americans. This was a step forward for the protection of a minority who was still without voting rights.

In 1949, however, the U.S. government took a step back towards 19thcentury bigotry, as the Hoover Commission urged the assimilation of the Natives,

The basis for historic Indian culture has been swept away. Traditional tribal organization was smashed a generation ago . Assimilation must be the dominant goal of public policy.

One year later, using the same post-war idea that prevented Little Tokyos in the U.S., the Commissioner of Indian Affairs began to implement withdrawal planning, or the termination and relocation of thousands of Natives to cities.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act which protects Native American children and the custody of their parents. Controversy has surrounded cases where state officials forcibly removed children from Native American families.

In Maine, the Maine Truth and Reconciliation Committee, for example, seeks to uncover and acknowledge the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the Maine child welfare system. These forcible removals are still happening today.

South Dakota continues to remove children at a rate higher than the vast majority of other states in the country.

For hundreds of years a mixture of colonial conflict, disease, specific atrocities and policies of discrimination has devastated the Native American population. In the course of this time, it is estimated that over nine million Natives died from violent conflict or disease. For too long this history has been under-recognized and too little discussed.

Go here to read the rest:

Atrocities Against Native Americans – United to End Genocide

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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States. [26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example during the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Sense September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5th, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States. [26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example during the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Sense September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5th, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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, for example, 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 taken from their homeland and sold as property to white Americans. Racial oppression, particularly in the Southern United States, was a significant part of daily life and routine in which African-Americans worked on plantations and did other labor without pay and 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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual because of their religious beliefs.[24] According to Iris Young oppression can be divided into different categories such as powerlessness, exploitation, and violence.[25] The first category of powerlessness in regards to religious persecution is when a group of people that follow one religion have less power than the dominant religious followers. An example of powerlessness would be during the 17th century when the pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England came to what is now called the United States. The pilgrims created their own religion of Protestantism, and after doing so they eventually passed laws to keep other religions from prospering. The Protestants used their power of legislature to oppress the other religions in the United States. [26] The second category of oppression: exploitation, has been seen in many different forms around the world when it comes to religion. The definition of exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.[27] For example during the American Civil War, white Americans used Chinese immigrants in order to build the transcontinental railroads. During this time it was common for the Chinese immigrants to follow the religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, because of this the Chinese were looked at as different and not equal to the white Americans. Due to this view it led them to unequal pay, and many hardships during their time working on the railroad.[28] The third category that can be seen in religious persecution is violence. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”. An example of violence in regards to religious persecution is hate crimes that occur in the United States against Muslims. Sense September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith have greatly increased. One incident occurred on August 5th, 2017 when three men bombed a Mosque because they felt that Muslims “‘push their beliefs on everyone else'”.[29] This violence happens to not only muslims but other religions as well.

Addressing social oppression on both a macro and micro level, feminist Patricia Hill Collins discusses her “matrix of domination”.[30] 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.”[31]

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.[32] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[32]

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”.[33] 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”.[33] 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”.[32] 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.[32]

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.[34] 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.”[34]

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”.[35] 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.[35] 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.”[36] 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.[37]

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”.[38] 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.[38]

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”.[39] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[40] 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.[39]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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”.[43]

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.[44]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[38]

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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”.[48] 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.

Link:

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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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.

Original post:

Oppression – Wikipedia

Atrocities Against Native Americans – United to End Genocide

Numerous atrocities against Native Americans span the hundreds of years from the first arrival of European explorers to the modern era under a wide range of circumstances. Today there are over 500 Native American tribes in the United States, each with a distinct culture, way of life and history. Even today, Native Americans face large challenges to cope with the disadvantages history has left them and ongoing cases of discrimination.

An estimated 12,000 years ago, a mass migration of nomadic peoples, traveled across a land bridge that connected Asia to what is now Alaska. These people would come to be called Native Americans, numbering over 50 million, and settling from the top of North America to the bottom of South America.

By the time Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean in 1492, historians estimate that there were 10 million indigenous peoples living in U.S. territory. But by 1900, the number had reduced to less than 300,000.

European expansion into North America whether to find gold, escape religious persecution or start a new life led to the destruction of Native American livelihoods. Disease was a major killer, followed by malnutrition. Colonists in search of gold staged violent ambushes on tribal villages, fueling animosity with Natives. Several wars broke out between tribes and American settlers which led to large death tolls, land dispossession, oppression and blatant racism.

Unlike the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, which led to blanket legal reform, Native Americans gained civil and legal rights piece by piece. In 1924, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, giving Native Americans a dual citizenship they were citizens of their sovereign native land as well as the United States. Native Americans gained uniform voting rights in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But it wasnt until 1968, when the Indian Civil Rights Act was passed, that Natives gained the right to free speech, the right to a jury and protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

While the Native Americans history began thousands of years ago, their European encounter started with one man. Determined to find a direct route from Europe to Asia, Christopher Columbus stumbled on the Americas in 1492.

Columbus called the first people he met Indians because he assumed he had been sailing in the Indian Ocean. But in actuality, this land had already been discovered millions of Natives had occupied the Western Hemisphere for hundreds of years.

Ultimately, while Columbus is remembered as a daring adventurer, he was also a perpetrator of atrocities and his legacy is viewed as the starting point that sparked hundreds of years of exploration and exploitation of the Americas.

The most significant reason for Natives decline was disease an invisible killer that wiped out an estimated 90% of the population. Unlike the Europeans and Asians, whose lifestyle had a long history of sharing close quarters with domesticated animals, Native Americans were not immune to pathogens spread by domesticated cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses. As a result, millions were killed by measles, influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, scarlet fever and syphilis.

Spreading disease was not always intentional on the part of the colonists. But there were a few instances that confirm Europeans attempt to exterminate natives. In 1763, a particularly serious uprising threatened British garrisons in Pennsylvania. Worried about limited resources, and driven by atrocities committed by some Native Americans , Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt:

You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.

Consequently, settlers spread smallpox to the Native Americans by distributing blankets previously owned by contagious patients.

Cultural clashes between European settlers and Natives lasted for over four hundred years small battles, large scale wars and forced labor systems on large estates, also known as encomiendas took a large toll on the Native population.

Throughout the Northeast, proclamations to create redskins, or scalps of Native Americans, were common during war and peace times. According to the 1775 Phips Proclamation in Massachusetts, King George II of Britain called for subjects to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.

Colonists were paid for each Penobscot Native they killed fifty pounds for adult male scalps, twenty-five for adult female scalps, and twenty for scalps of boys and girls under age twelve. These proclamations explicitly display the settlers intent to kill, a major indicator of genocidal acts.

After the American Revolution, many Native American lives were already lost to disease and displacement. In 1830, the federal Indian Removal Act called for the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. Between 1830 and 1838, federal officials working on behalf of white cotton growers forced nearly 100,000 Indians out of their homeland. The dangerous journey from the southern states to Indian Territory in current Oklahoma is referred to as the Trail of Tears in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease.

As the United States expanded westward, violent conflicts over territory multiplied. In 1784, one British traveler noted:

White Americans have the most rancorous antipathy to the whole race of Indians; and nothing is more common than to hear them talk of extirpating them totally from the face of the earth, men, women, and children.

In particular, the 1848 California gold rush caused 300,000 people to migrate to San Francisco from the East Coast and South America. Historians believe that California was once the most densely and diversely populated area for Native Americans in U.S. territory; however, the gold rush had massive implications for Native American livelihoods. Toxic chemicals and gravel ruined traditional Native hunting and agricultural practices, resulting in starvation for many Natives.

Further, in 1850, the California state government passed the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians that addressed the punishment and protection of Native Americans, and helped to facilitate the removal of their culture and land. It also legalized slavery and was referenced for the buying and selling of Native children.

A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct.California Governor Peter H. Burnett, 1851

In 1890, Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota, government officials believed chief Sitting Bull was a Ghost Dancer, someone who rejects the ways of the white man and believes that the gods will create a new world without non-believers. In the process of arresting Sitting Bull, federal officials actually ended up killing him, causing a massive rebellion that led to the deaths of over 150 Natives in Pine Ridge.

Since the early 1900s, advancements in Native American rights have been slow and piece-meal. At the turn of century, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. federal government has the right to overturn all Cherokee laws in the precedent-setting decision Cherokee Nation v. Hitchcock.

But, in 1928, the Brookings Institute released the Meriam Report, which was one of the first in-depth analyses of reservation living conditions. The report went on to influence policy initiatives which improved healthcare, education, and land rights for Native Americans. This was a step forward for the protection of a minority who was still without voting rights.

In 1949, however, the U.S. government took a step back towards 19thcentury bigotry, as the Hoover Commission urged the assimilation of the Natives,

The basis for historic Indian culture has been swept away. Traditional tribal organization was smashed a generation ago . Assimilation must be the dominant goal of public policy.

One year later, using the same post-war idea that prevented Little Tokyos in the U.S., the Commissioner of Indian Affairs began to implement withdrawal planning, or the termination and relocation of thousands of Natives to cities.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act which protects Native American children and the custody of their parents. Controversy has surrounded cases where state officials forcibly removed children from Native American families.

In Maine, the Maine Truth and Reconciliation Committee, for example, seeks to uncover and acknowledge the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the Maine child welfare system. These forcible removals are still happening today.

South Dakota continues to remove children at a rate higher than the vast majority of other states in the country.

For hundreds of years a mixture of colonial conflict, disease, specific atrocities and policies of discrimination has devastated the Native American population. In the course of this time, it is estimated that over nine million Natives died from violent conflict or disease. For too long this history has been under-recognized and too little discussed.

See the original post:

Atrocities Against Native Americans – United to End Genocide

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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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.

Excerpt from:

Oppression – Wikipedia

The Twin Evils Of Government Oppression And Inequality

I want to spend some time talking about . . . a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class Americas basic bargain that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: making sure our economy works for every working American. Thats why I ran for president. It was the center of last years campaign. It drives everything I do in this office.

President Barack Obama, 12/04/13

Inour last essayin this series on contemporary applications of The Federalist Papers, we argued that the case for limited government is made more difficult in our age because many American leaders, in following William Jamess lead, have been successful in engaging in the moral equivalent of war against the Founders regime. President Obama has been consistently militant in pursuing a progressive domestic agenda during his presidency.

Yet too many within the beltway conservatariat have insisted that the best way to counter militant progressivism is by offering a governing agenda that combines the worst impulses of the Bush Administration: a less militant progressivism at home (prescription drug benefits and No Child Left Behind, not Obamacare and Common Core) with a more militant progressivism abroad (democratizing Iraq and Afghanistan, not rooting for democracy in Syria or Ukraine).

To these folks, such a governing agenda represents a workable conservative alternative because it holds out hope to the American people that progress is just one comparatively sober candidate, one less intrusive policy, one more serious intervention, or one utopian adjustment with teeth away. This so-fancied publicly-acceptable variant of American conservatism is considered astute because it promises a more realistic means to the publics assumed-to-be progressive ends.

And on a personal level, this brand of conservatism is attractive to Progressive alter-egos in that it allows them to remain on the Right side of history and the right side of the political spectrum at the same time. This dual membership has its privileges, since the growth of the post-WWII military-social-industrial-finance-academic complex promises that the surest way to pay off a thirty-year mortgage in a DC-area zip code is to work in a sector of the economy more crony than strictly public or private.

The problem more recently, for those who know better, is that its been difficult if not impossible to achieve a conservative-libertarian consensus in this political environment. But thats changing as the growth of an oppressive state, and the growth of collateral political inequality between insiders and outsiders and rulers and ruled, has made it easier to define whats wrong with American politics. Consider three excellent speeches from this past weeks CPAC convention that give us reason to hope that limited government advocates can reclaim the moral high ground of American politics.

Perhaps the fundamental disputes between todays progressives and their conservative/libertarian critics, then, is the locus of danger to the freedom and prosperity of the American people. In President Obamas analysis, the governments job is to intervene to correct the oppression and inequality imposed by market-based power players, who use their outsized share of economic means to artificially increase the ratio between their own wealth and that of lower and middle class Americans.

Conservatives and libertarians, as demonstrated above, offer two lines of rebuttal. First, they see the results of free exchange as presumptively just and therefore do not assume that differences in wealth (even great differences) are necessarily the consequence of private oppression. Second, they recognize that the power of even the most wealthy individual or corporation is as nothing compared to the power of the government equipped to redistribute that wealth.

When Alexander Hamilton addressed the federal governments power of taxation in Federalist 35, he did so with just such a concern in mind. Opponents of the Constitution were arguing that the national governments taxing power should be restricted to only a few specified objects, like tariffs on trade. Hamilton countered by arguing that such restrictions would, ironically, increase the governments power to bring about the twin evils of oppression and unmerited inequality.

A narrowly-defined taxing power would require the government to tax a few objects heavily, turning commerce out of its natural channel and creating artificial winners and losers: winnersall those whose goods were untaxable; losersall those whose werent.

But the trouble wouldnt end there. Within the class of losers, there would be a factious competition to raise the tax rate, say, on tea and lower it on tobacco. All might have to bear a burden, but not equally so, making politics a scramble to unload some of my burden onto you. In such a case, it would be obvious to all that the government had the power to make or break the fortunes of many, and the most conscientious businessman would have no choice but to make sure his lobbyist was as well-connected and persuasive as the next.

As is so often the case in The Federalist, Hamiltons solution to this problema general federal power to taxis not really a solution. That is to say, it provides no guarantee, in this case, that the government wont use the taxing power to oppress or create artificial inequalities. All it does (and all that can be done) is make it possible for the government to avoid these twin evils and tax in the least burdensome wayif it has the will.

Generating such a will, of course, is our challenge today. To the always-present problem of human selfishness, Progressivism adds an attractive moral justification for redistributive taxation, whether through unequal income tax rates or special tax benefits for those engaged in socially-correct enterprises (like building electric cars).

What we need is a set of leaders who dont want to beat Progressives at their own gameto promise better rewards to more powerful (numerous) friends and more satisfying punishments to more isolated enemies. Let them be satisfied with lifting burdens, not reassigning them.

Theyll also need to argue in the spirit of Hamilton, demonstrating that our moral duty and our personal interest are one. We would be glad if large numbers of Americans were to decide suddenly that they want no part in factious redistributive politics for the simple reason its wrong, but it would be wise for us to take, as Madison often put it, auxiliary precautions.

In President Obamas second term, Americans have begun to see, in very obvious, obnoxious, and personal ways, the true bigness of big government. The three horsemen of last years political apocalypse the IRS, the NSA, and the HHShave discredited government as the slayer of (bossy?) bullies and suggested it might be the biggest bully on the block.

These discrete experiences offer an opening for the type of argument leaders like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry made at CPAC. Their successand oursin rolling back government oppression will depend on our ability to show that these are no exceptions to the rule, but rather the natural consequence of pursuing artificial equality, putting the livelihood and independence of all Americans at risk.

David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Matthew Parks an Assistant Professor of Politics at The Kings College, New York City. They are co-authors of Keeping Our Republic: Principles for a Political Reformation (2011). You can follow their work onTwitterorFacebook.

See the rest here:

The Twin Evils Of Government Oppression And Inequality

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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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.

Originally posted 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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.

See 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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.

See the original post 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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, youth and children, 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, Sweden, and Canada.[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.

Young people are a commonly, yet rarely acknowledged, oppressed demographic. Minors are denied many democratic and human rights, including the rights to vote, marry, and give sexual consent. Society as a whole also tends to discriminate against young people and view them as inferior.[23]

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”.[24] 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.”[25]

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.[26] Implementing these systems by the United States government was justified through religious grounding where “servants [were] bought and established as inheritable property”.[26]

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”.[27] 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”.[27] 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”.[26] 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.[26]

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.[28] 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.”[28]

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”.[29] 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.[29] 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.”[30] 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.[31]

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”.[32] 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.[32]

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”.[33] In the United States, the median weekly earnings for women were 82 percent of the median weekly earnings for men in 2016.[34] 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.[33]

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.[35] 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.[36] 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”.[37]

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.[38]

By deciding to work abroad, laborers are “reinforcing the forces of economic oppression that presented them with such poor options”.[32]

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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] 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”.[42] 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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