Iris Young discusses the faces of oppression which have an everyday affect on people whether we know it or not. The five faces of oppression are exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Oppression is not always about inhumane treatment. Deprivation is also included in oppression. Most times it is unintentional however, that does not change the outcome. In America, oftentimes decisions are made with only the present in mind. This leads me to believe that there are indeed five faces of oppression that exists in America today.
The United States is all about maintaining its reputation of being one of the best countries in the world. In order to upkeep said image, the United States conceals its major issues and faults by taking advantage of the situations that they have placed their people in. Exploitation is the act of using a person’s labor to make a profit without properly compensating them. Marginalization is just another term meaning exclusion which can be because gender, race, and social class. Powerlessness is another way of excluding a group of people with “lower status”. This has more of a mental affect on people and is done to limit their capability and influence.
The American prison system fits most of the faces of oppression. The prison system is a primary example of these processes because those incarcerated are given long sentences for petty crimes and work for major companies in order to mass-produce their products with wages that are extremely low. Prisons do not exist in the first place for crime. Its existence is based on profit and crime is used as rhetoric. The rhetoric around prison is used as a way to conceal expropriation.The prison system is used as a means of masking people and ideologies that the government sees as deficiencies or defective. Racial distinctions criminal and noncriminal assist in this expropriation. They name people as criminals to get them to fit in their agenda and keep them there. The process after prison is just as bad leaving former prisoners to feel powerless. Making it is difficult for them to revert back to their prior lives. Basic democratic rights are taken away from former prisoners.The government and prison system claim that the prison system is beneficial because it helps keep people protected and allows for rehabilitation.