Faces of Oppression in the US

I believe all five faces of oppression exist in the United States today, but I will focus on cultural imperialism and marginalization. 

Young defines a marginalized group as a group of people the system of labor cannot or will not use. By this definition, disabled people are a marginalized group. Disabled people are excluded from working in many industries. In cashier jobs and other positions where you have to stand in one spot for extended periods, sitting down is not allowed. Even though sitting does not affect productivity levels, workers must remain standing for their entire shift. This keeps disabled people from working certain jobs because those who cannot stand for extended periods are excluded from working those jobs. Another example of this is when job requirements in a job description say that the applicant must be able to lift 20 pounds. This requirement often has nothing to do with the actual responsibilities of the job. But this requirement is added to exclude disabled applicants from applying. Even though disabled people can work in various job roles, they are intentionally kept from doing so. 

Young defines cultural imperialism as a society rendering the particular perspective of a group invisible while stereotyping that group and marking it as the Other. It also involves universalizing a dominant group’s experience and culture and establishing it as the norm. In the United States, we see this with the Native American population. Since the arrival of Europeans to North America, Native American culture has been seen as an abnormal, savage way of life. Those that live on reservations or honor the traditional way of life are looked down upon and seen as strange for not living like “everyone else.” The way non-Natives live is seen as the norm, and life is more challenging for those that don’t live that way. Cultural imperialism makes it difficult for Native Americans to be accepted by others in the United States.

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