Oppression in America

Recently in class we read Five Faces of Oppression by Iris Young. We learned that oppression is not just something exercised by a ruling group or class, but it’s something that creates injustice in other aspects as well. In a society, oppression can be caused by unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols engendered by a few people’s choices or policies. In the chapter Iris Young named the five faces of oppression as being violence, exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism, and in the country I live in, some of these faces still oppresses us today. For example, one of the most visible forms of oppression is violence, and as a black man in America I feel that violence helps keep us as people separated and oppressed. We as African Americans rather go out of our way to prove a point by harming one another, rather than working together to fight back a system that is already stacked against us. These acts of violence will not only hinder us from moving forward, but hold us back and keep us oppressed. Another one of the five faces of oppression that is still evident in the US today is exploitation. Exploitation is defined as the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work. We see exploitation all over the US with these big companies and businesses. One company we see in the fire for exploitation is Amazon. Amazon is being accused of not giving their customers fair wages, along with giving workers “time off” so they can exploit workers that didn’t take the time off, minimize wage cost and protect tax breaks. There should be freedom of people to pursue their life plans the way that they choose. Oppressive forces seek to diminish those plans and thus those people, by limiting their choices.

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