My Response: Five Faces of Oppression

I believe that the five faces of oppression that Iris Young spoke about are very prominent in America today. As Young stated in her essay ” Five Faces of Oppression” are exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Young describes oppression as the individuals not being able to develop and exercise their own capacities and inability to express one’s thoughts, feelings and needs and this is experienced by marginalized groups such as the Black community, Chicano and Asian community or even the LGBTQ+ community. When Young uses the term ‘Oppression’ she implores the idea that the act itself is structural rather than thinking about it in the individual sense. This essentially means that the act of oppression stems from our own social practices that we are not necessarily the most conscious about. This can be seen in today’s symbols or cultural norms and habits that continue because of a system built on institutional laws that makes it impossible to reverse it by simply creating a new law or in some cases, voting a leader out. I agree that with Young and her criteria for what an oppressed group looks like as well as how oppression can be structured in very different ways. I also agree with the idea although a person is oppressed, they too can be privileged. For example, I am a Black woman in the United States which would places me in a marginalized group who has also be exploited for years and violently taken advantage of but, in the same sense I do carry some privileges as well such as being well educated, a college student, financially stable etc. So, while there are five faces to oppression one must remember that just because and individual is from the same group does not mean they will experience it in the same ways as well as it being a complex concept in the sense that it does not happen in only one way and takes on many forms in our social lives.

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