Oppression

There Is A Message; Do You Care?

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Oppression typically operates as a system. This means that there are multiple forces taking away someone’s power based on a part of their identity (their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, etc). All of these forces work together to marginalize, subordinate, dehumanize, or otherwise devalue groups of people.

MalcomX

Nas & Damian Marley – Patience Lyrics

Here we are
Here we are
Yeah
This one right here is for the people

[Hook] x2
Sabali, sabali, sabali yonkote
Sabali, sabali, sabali kiye
Ni kêra môgô

[Verse 1: Damian Marley]
Some of the smartest dummies
Can’t read the language of Egyptian mummies
An’ a flag on a moon
And can’t find food for the starving tummies
Pay no mind to the youths
Cause it’s not like the future depends on it
But save the animals in the zoo
Cause the chimpanzee dem a make big money
This is how the media pillages
On the TV the picture is
Savages in villages
And the scientist still can’t explain the pyramids, huh
Evangelists making a living on the videos of ribs of the little kids
Stereotyping the image of the images
And this is what the image is
You buy a khaki pants
And all of a sudden you say a Indiana Jones
An’ a thief out gold and thief out the scrolls and even the buried bones
Some of the worst paparazzis I’ve ever seen and I ever known
Put the worst on display so the world can see
And that’s all they will ever show
So the ones in the West
Will never move East
And feel like they could be at home
Dem get tricked by the beast
But a where dem ago flee when the monster is fully grown?
Solomonic linage whe dem still can’t defeat and them coulda never clone
My spiritual DNA that print in my soul and I will forever Own Lord

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Major forces that make up a system of oppression are:
*Diminished legal rights/status of the oppressed group
*Negative attitudes and heightened violence toward the group
*Decreased social investment (money, resources) in the group
*Interpersonal prejudice
*Employment, educational, institutional discrimination/exclusion
*Oppressed group’s identity reduced to stereotypes
*Loss of power and freedom within the group
*Oppressed groups adopting destructive beliefs about their own group (internalized oppression)
*Perpetuation of the oppressor’s power
*Privileges afforded to the oppressor

Throughout most of the world, the most privileged groups are: light skin, male, heterosexual, transgender, conventionally attractive, Christian/Gentile, healthy/able bodied, wealthy/financially comfortable. These various groups have historically been, and currently are, some of the major groups that contribute to oppression. But, that doesn’t mean they have to be!

WHAT IS INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION?
When people are targeted, discriminated against, or oppressed over a period of time, they often internalize (believe and make part of their self-image – their internal view of themselves) the myths and misinformation that society communicates to them about their group. Exploited peasants might internalize the ideas that they can’t do any other kind of work, that their lives were meant to be as they are, and that they’re worth less than people with wealth or education. Women might internalize the stereotype that they are not good at math and science, or people of color might internalize the myth that they are not good workers,

When people from targeted groups internalize myths and misinformation, it can cause them to feel (often unconsciously) that in some way they are inherently not as worthy, capable, intelligent, beautiful, good, etc. as people outside their group. They turn the experience of oppression or discrimination inward. They begin to feel that the stereotypes and misinformation that society communicates are true and they act as if they were true. This is called internalized oppression.

Internalized oppression affects many groups of people: women, people of color, poor and working class people, people with disabilities, young people, elders, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, gays, and many other groups.

Not all members of groups that are discriminated against or oppressed necessarily turn stereotypes inward. Many remain proud of their heritage, or are able to take prominent places in the larger society through their exercise of effort, intelligence, talent, interpersonal skill, and self-respect. Many members of oppressed groups try to escape their situations by emigration or other means, and many succeed. Some rise up and overthrow their oppressors, although this can cause nearly as many problems as it solves.

Don’t assume that just because someone is a member of a group that has experienced bias, he is suffering from the results of internal oppression. Individuals are different, and have different experiences and backgrounds. If you assume internal oppression in all cases without getting to know the individual at least a little, you may, in trying to be helpful and empathetic, find that instead you’re being condescending or insulting.

power-to-the-people

It is important to note that internalized oppression is not the fault of people whom it affects. No one should be blamed or blame themselves for having been affected by discrimination. Nevertheless, as community members, we have to face these barriers in order to achieve our goals.

While the stereotypes that people internalize are imposed by society, we all, whether we are members of the favored majority or the oppressed or unfairly treated minority, have a personal responsibility to confront those stereotypes. As members of the majority, we need to help and support those in the minority to see that their personal worth has nothing to do with society’s current or past prejudice. And as members of the minority, we have a responsibility to listen to those among us who challenge the majority view, and to analyze and challenge it ourselves. We may need support and guidance in doing so – that’s what Paulo Freire provided to those he worked with, and what he wrote about.

democracy

There are two ways that internalized oppression functions:

Internalized oppression operates on an individual basis. A person believes that the stereotypes and misinformation that she hears are true about herself. She holds herself back from living life to her full potential or she acts in ways that reinforce the stereotypes and are ultimately self-defeating.

Internalized oppression occurs among members of the same cultural group. People in the same group believe (often unconsciously) the misinformation and stereotypes that society communicates about other members of their group. People turn the oppression on one another, instead of addressing larger problems in society. The results are that people treat one another in ways that are less than fully respectful. Often people from the same cultural group hurt, undermine, criticize, mistrust, fight with, or isolate themselves from one another.

BlackCongregation
WHY DO COMMUNITY BUILDERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION?

Understanding internalized oppression is invaluable for community builders. People simply can’t fight effectively for themselves when they believe the problem is their own fault or that something is inherently wrong with them. To empower communities to become more effective at fighting the battles for better health care, good education, a safe environment, and adequate jobs, community members have to learn how to overcome the discouragement, confusion, and divisions that are a result of internalized oppression.

Will Obama Model Mandela and Free the Over-Criminalized and change Mandatory Sentencing Laws?

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In seeing the humanity of his oppressors, he displayed rare moral discernment.

The death of Nelson Mandela should prompt us all to reflect on the extraordinary and enduring power of his life. Mandela forgave his oppressors and forged a legacy for himself through overcoming hatred. His stigma’s [Felon] a terrorist. It is my hope that President Obama will make the remaining years in office a pledge to change the culture of America being a nation locked-Up and it’s people disenfranchised and living in a different Apartheid.

I pray and maintain a posture humility so my difference will make a difference in pursuit of changing the hiring practices of disenfranchised individuals and the bias practices being used to disqualify felon’s for housing and other social economics. It will not hurt President Obama to not compromise, but to implement change for a group of human being as Nelson Mandela has done with his life and trials as a leader of a nation that has been through what America is now embracing by way of disguise and descriptive practices.

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In seeing the humanity of his oppressors, he displayed rare moral discernment.

The tour guide had explained the humiliations and deprivations of Mandela’s long imprisonment, but what seemed beyond explaining is the strength of character that enabled a man to endure such things for so long and then to emerge as a national leader possessed of optimism, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to reconciliation rather than revenge. How is this possible?

When Nazi survivor Elie Wiesel spoke to the first year students in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, he emphasized that hatred is as poisonous when one faces one’s tormentors as at any other time. Like Mandela, Wiesel suffered unfathomable personal losses that could easily have crushed his spirit or bred a blazing vindictiveness. Yet each of these men became a force for the power of love, tolerance, respect for difference — for the joy of human potential even in the face of dreadful human realities.

Here is some of what I learned about how Mandela did it: On Robben Island, just outside Table Bay at Cape Town, South Africa, there’s a lime quarry. In the brilliant sun, its white walls glare with painful brightness. Mandela, and the other prisoners forced to work long hours there, were not allowed dark glasses. The fine lime dust from their back-breaking work pervaded their clothes, invaded their lungs, and irritated their squinting eyes. Some of them, like Mandela, were educated men who knew that even as their bodies labored and suffered, their minds were free and strong. But many other prisoners were uneducated — even illiterate. So the quarry became a place of teaching and learning.

Writing in the dust with sticks, the educated prisoners brought a reverence for the power of knowledge to those who had never had the opportunity to develop their minds. Even prisoners who were criminals, rather than political prisoners, came to understand that grinding poverty, discrimination, ignorance, and lack of opportunity — the wellsprings of crime — were best addressed by empowering their own minds. Some of them became students, too.

This happened before the watchful eyes of prison guards, many of whom were untutored louts. Yet, louts though they were, they saw something valuable that attracted them more than it threatened them. So they also became students, and Mandela and the others taught them out of respect for their humanity and their interest in learning. Those guards experienced affirmations both of mind and of heart — in sharing their knowledge, the educated prisoners displayed a generosity of spirit that prompted both admiration and growing respect from the guards.

For Mandela this was an early stage of the movement toward reconciliation. We marvel at the tenacity and endurance of Ernest Shackleton, whose failed Antarctic exploration in 1914 threatened the lives of his 21 stranded crewmen. Shackleton persevered for 14 months, in the end saving all against very long odds. How much more ought we marvel at Mandela, who persevered for more than 18 years, saving his entire nation!