A Land of Both Promises and Oppression

Being a land of the free and home of the brave, the United States of America (USA) is a country that offers many great opportunities for people of all different cultures. Having one of the highest GDPs, the USA has one of the most productive economies which helps lead to many technological advancements such as the iPhone that many people use today. Although there are many great achievements that this nation has accomplished, there is also a very dark side of the United States that requires more exploring. This dark side of America includes the oppression that occurs in both the workplace and the streets of America. In reading the Five Faces of Oppression written by Iris Young, some prominent aspects of this oppression that still exist in America today include both exploitation in the workplace and violence against certain ethnic groups.

In the age of online shopping and technological advances, Amazon’s delivery service has become an essential need to obtain goods without having to go to the store. Being one of the largest online retailers in the world, Amazon is valued to be in the trillions of dollars and has millions of employees. Even though the company is extremely wealthy, many employees have expressed their concern about the low wages Amazon provides and the grueling work that some of these employees must endure in order to make a living. In looking at examples of oppression, Young’s definition of exploitation, which can be defined as the “transfer of the results of labor of one social group to benefit another,” can be seen today through big companies exploiting the working class by providing them with low wages and harsh working conditions in order for the founders/owners of the company to benefit by having some extra cash in their pockets. For this issue to be fixed, regulations must be put into place in order for big companies to stop abusing their workers and offer employees better wages and working conditions in the process. Overall, this is just one example of how the faces of oppression are present in American society today. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been looking for people to blame for the cause of the virus. As a result of the first case of COVID-19 being in China and former President Trump calling the disease the “Chinese virus,” many people have been conducting anti-Asian hate crimes, especially on the elderly, in order to put fear in the hearts of Asian Americans across the nation. Seeing this violence, which Young describes as systemic action “directed at members of a group simply because they are members of that group,” being done is just one example of how oppression is still relevant in America. Violence under any circumstances should not be welcomed, especially because someone was born into a certain ethnic group or looks a certain way. Because of this violence, people must take a stand and form movements such as groups such as Black Lives Matter in order to put an end to racial injustices done on Asian and African Americans and many more minorities in America. Overall, both violence and exploitations are just two of the five faces of oppression that can be seen clearly in American society today.

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