After reading “The Five Faces of Oppression” by Iris Young, I believe all of the faces of oppression are present to some extent in the United States today. The Five Faces of Oppression are violence, exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism. The faces I think are most prevalent are violence, marginalization, and exploitation.
Exploitation is defined in the Oxford dictionary as ” the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.” The main way exploitation works in the United States is in the service of capitalism. In the pursuit of making the most money with the least amount of cost, people are exploited. These people tend to be disadvantaged social groups and this disadvantage is structuralized into society. “Social rules about what work is, who does what for whom, how work is compensated, and the social process by which the results of work are appropriated operate to enact relations of power and inequality.” Historically the US exploited the labor of enslaved black people for both domestic labor and agricultural industries. Now, labor from the prison system and the human trafficking of illegal immigrants are some of the most notable forms of exploration.
Violence, group-biased hate, and more directly state-sponsored violence are prevalent in the US. My definition of violence includes not only physical assault but the threat of violence members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property. Most violence is committed by other civilians, However, certain groups like the black community do experience high levels of police brutality. Marginalization is one of the most common forms of oppression in the United States. marginalization is the act of relegating or confining a group of people to a lower social standing. Because American society is designed to support white cis-heterosexual Christian men. Other people who do not fit into this construct, are marginalized and disenfranchised. This includes racial minorities, lgbtq+, people who aren’t Christian, people with disabilities, and immigrants among others.