Photo from: Social Justice House | Barnard College
Oppression is Normal….
We are all socialized into systems that oppress.Our parents and teachers, grandparents and loved ones intentionally or unintentionally pass on their beliefs, norms, rules and expectations.
We learn to accept oppression as normal.
We do this through day- to -day interaction in schools, in temples, in churches, during doctors appointments, working with mortgage officers, via cab drivers, and police officers.
We may not see how deeply embedded these rules, regulations, and values help continue business as usual in this country, but they do.
We are born into a social system which teaches us to accept things as they are.
We are rewarded for accepting things as they are.
We are congratulated for accepting things as they are.
We become “model members of society” when we accept things as they are.
We gain comfort, money, connections and power when we accept things as they are. People who go against the grain, pay the price
I know as you read this a tiny voice deep in your heart is saying ” I do not oppress people”
That might be true, you may not actively oppress others- but here is the reality- oppression is still happening because this cycle and the systems they support continue to run uninterrupted.
Oppression is the norm, not the exception.
Justice is the exception, not the norm.
Institutions influence individuals and individuals influence institutions.
This process is pervasive, consistent, circular, self-perpetuating, and invisible.
The simplest thing to do is nothing.
But we have failed to realize that we have become participants in our own oppression by doing nothing.
The Institutions/ systems of this country are not broken, they are doing exactly what they were meant to be doing.
They don’t need to be fixed. They need to be dismantled.
Will you take responsibility for the oppression that continues? Will you stand up and confront the systems, rules, and norms?
How, where, and when you confront injustice is irrelevant, as long as you do it.
You and I are responsible for interrupting oppression. We are responsible for dismantling it. We are responsible for creating new systems and ways to share social power.
Society will not transform itself. We have to break the chains.
We all have to pay the price so that can happen.
Let’s get to work y’all because freedom ain’t free.