Free Essay

Cycle of Oppression

In: Social Issues

Submitted By tc123
Words 675
Pages 3
3) In the selected verse of Adrienne Rich’s poem “The Burning of Paper Instead of Children,” Rich’s thought-provoking use of words and language relates to the cycle of oppression. Rich believes that through verbal exchanges, individuals are passing down oppressed ideas to one another, furthering the colonization of the mind. In the verse “…knowledge of the oppressor/ this is the oppressor’s language/ yet I need it to talk to you,” Rich depicts the paradoxical nature of society’s colonization of the mind and her conscious effort to be free of such mindset. Rich is fully aware of the knowledge that she is citing and the language that she is speaking is tainted with the oppressor’s – society’s – ideals. Yet she also believes that these two elements are needed in today’s everyday communication. It is dangerous when an act as natural as interacting with others can be oppressive, because language is an extremely powerful tool. All forms of languages, such as verbal exchange, body language and sign languages to name a few, are capable of changing perspectives of others. When used appropriately, people can use languages to end the outcomes of mind colonizing, such as racial stereotypes and racial superiority. However, most people abuse their ability to connect with others and use communication as means of perpetuating judgment of “others” and marginalizing certain groups, which ultimately results in a nonstop cycle of oppression. In the verses “…and they take the book away/ love and fear in a house/ knowledge of the oppressor,” Rich describes how society condemns individuality by “taking the book away” and labeling it oppressive. Rich also points out an important notion regarding the cycle of oppression: the oppressor is also oppressed. “Love and fear in the house” can be used to describe both the oppressed and the oppressor. While the oppressed loves his or her uniqueness but is afraid to show it because his or her mind is polluted by colonized ideals, the oppressor fears for the people standing up for themselves and craves for the comfort of uniformity. With the power of languages, the oppressor can easily become one of the oppressed and vice versa. The selected verses of Rich’s poem also call to mind the identity spectrum in society, or lack thereof. As seen in the languages of many societies today, the identity spectrum is nonexistent and is instead replaced by a rather linear view of identity. Because language is used every day for communication, these oppressed ideas of identity are reinforced into the speakers’ minds and furthering the colonization of the mind. For instance, only “his” and “her” are acceptable terms of gender identity and “gay” and “straight” are regarded as the only two types of sexuality. This dualistic form of identity contributes to the cycle of oppression, because many people are oppressed to believe that they must fit into one mold or the other. Yet, the identity spectrum refers to more of a color wheel system in that one can be a blend of multiple identities. Although society can simply add a new term of gender identification, the significance of such an event would be enormous, because this would mean that society has a new mindset about identification, which means decolonization of the mind would have to take place. Rich’s poem also speaks to the “either/ or dichotomy” as explained in Lana Wachowski’s acceptance speech at the Human Rights Campaign Gala. Wachowski describes society’s binary outlook with regards to identity. As a self-identified transgender, her story embodies the very definition of society’s adamant application of pressure on individuals to pick either one identity or another. People with colonized mindsets are incapable of comprehending others who are not in the “either/ or dichotomy” and resort to verbal abuse of those who are different, which reinforces Rich’s verse “this is the oppressors’ language/ yet I need it to talk to you.” Thus, language is a powerful tool and must be used accordingly to promote acceptance of the diversity in people rather than a vehicle for further colonization of the mind.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Cycle Of Oppression

...For my first research project source I chose Andrea Ayvazian’s essay “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change”. For my specific research topic, I thought this interesting essay will be a great starting source in talking about the inequality between being part of the white and black community. The author defines the word ally of being an individual who is a member of a group of our society who acts in a dominant way. For the community, it’s kind of a person you look up, maybe in a type of way of as a role model. We could read out of this essay, allies have a greater authority to others or can influence others better and because of that allies are fighting for their own beliefs. “Allied behavior is intentional,...

Words: 404 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Oppression In Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

...Since the implementation of the transatlantic slave trade, African Americans have faced consistent social, economic, and cultural oppression in the United States of America. Originally taken from their home continent of Africa, shoved into cramped boats with little food or water, and enslaved for several generations under wealthy white men, African Americans have endured cycles of poverty, poor education, and blatant discrimination and segregation since the abolition of slavery. However, despite this seemingly unendurable oppression, the African-American community is consistently empowered with movements such as the Black Lives Matter and the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The persecution towards African Americans, unintentionally, engenders a newfound sense of independence, formed to combat the oppression the community faces, within the African-American community....

Words: 1037 - Pages: 5

Free Essay


...Oppression regimes Oppression is defined as unjust or cruel exercise of authority and power. In a social justice context, oppression is what happens when people are pushed down by societies. Oppression usually refers to a great power such as government applying control over a large group, such as the population of a country. The Youth Action Center of Canada identifies six main forms of oppression based on race, gender, class, sex, ability and age. Oppression can be categorised into four different groups, social oppression, institutionalised oppression, systematic oppression and internalized oppression. Kite runner: In the novel, Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini, many occasions are reflective of situations that occur in reality. Oppression is a prevalent theme throughout the novel, just as oppression is prevalent in society. Many oppression regimes have become adopted by society causing some forms of oppression to go unnoticed because it is accepted as a part of social structure. If people try to break out of the social code, they are usually silenced unless more people follow the lead of the rebels and change the inequality that is occurring. Many different people can be oppressed for different reasons and in Kite Runner, racism and ableism are two forms of oppression that are addressed. The novel shows how both of these ostracized people are being oppressed because of their race, or disability. People need to open their eyes and see the oppression that is going......

Words: 494 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

A Thousand Splendid Suns Essay

...A thousand splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Music: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah fade out in the background. Song ends play river flows in you by Yiruma in the background Host: Welcome back listeners, to literacy 98.3. That was hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. It’s time for our weekly review, as you all know this week we are exploring the theme oppression. This week’s book is A thousand splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of the bestseller the Kite runner. I have with me, Ms. Kathryn Stockett, Reclaimed author of one for the most insightful books, The Help. Welcome Kathryn, we happy to have you with us. Kathryn Stockett: Thank you for having me Host: Kathryn could you tell those who are listening, what oppression means to you, and if you don’t mind give us a summary of the book A thousand Splendid Suns Kathryn Stockett: Oppression to me means dominating somebody (or a group of people), through cruelty, or harshness. One is oppressive if he/she is the source of worry stress or trouble to others. A thousand splendid suns is at one an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith and the salvation to be found in love....

Words: 1092 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Psychology of Women Study Guide 1

...belief system that devalues lesbians, gay males, and bisexuals – or any group that is not exclusively heterosexual. Feminist/ Feminism: women and men should be socially, economically, and legally equal. Women and men who hold these beliefs are feminists, however many people believe in feminist principles, even if they do not identify themselves as feminists. Cultural Feminism: emphasizes the positive qualities that are presumed to be strong in women than in men qualities such as nurturing and caretaking. (Cooperation) Liberal Feminism: emphasizes the goal of gender equality, giving women and men the same rights and opportunities. (Reduce our culture’s rigid gender roles) Radical Feminism: argues that the basic cause of women’s oppression lies deep in the entire sex and gender system, rather than in some superficial laws and policies. (Dramatically change its policies on sexuality and on violence against women) Women-of-Color Feminism: emphasize that feminism must pay attention to other human dimensions such as ethnicity and social class. Similarities perspective:...

Words: 3572 - Pages: 15

Free Essay

Oppression and Resilience

...Introduction Oppression and resilience of people have been in practice since the beginning of human existence. Oppression can be defined as a person or group of people weighted down by a dominant force. This force has the power to define and label groups. They control societal ideologies of every aspect of our lives including sexuality, family relationships, and self respect. Those who have this power hold it sacred and dear. Their fear of a power shift from the dominant to the subordinate or the majority to the minority continues to guide them in enforcing ideas and laws within society that a particular gender or race has little or no value. Resilience is the ability of those oppressed to continue surviving after being compressed by such a powerful force. It is the oppressive forces of the majority group that have smothered minority groups (women and people of color) for hundreds of years and it is the resilience of those oppressed who continue to inspire change throughout history. Historical Oppressive Forces The Noel Hypothesis is a social learning theory that explains the development of a minority group. It suggest that if two or more groups come together characterized by a differential in power, ethnocentrism, and competition the result will be ethnic/racial stratification (Guadalupe lecture notes, 2008). This theory can also be used to explain the development of gender stratification as well. The majority group in relationship to this paper would be...

Words: 2382 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

A Comparison of Constitutions

...are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The aim of the many writers who collaborated on these documents is to protect the rights of liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. That government must protect these natural rights, and that political power is derived from the people. Every citizen has the right to speak freely, write, and print. Both the declaration of man and woman, and the declaration of independence were written under the oppression of two Kings considered to be a tyrants. The declaration of independence fought for the freedom from English oppression and the rights of men and women. As for the declaration of the rights of Man and Woman, fought for the rights of the French people under the oppression of king Louis XVI. Both declarations were written to protect the rights of the people who wrote them, as well as ensure a future not governed by a dictator, but one that is governed by the natural imprescriptible rights of free Men and Women. Many of the rights created by these declarations were put in place to protect the equal rights of men and women. The aim of these documents is to protect the rights of liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. The declaration of independence states the history of the oppression, usurpation, and injuries by...

Words: 908 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Intersectionality In America

...As explained in class, intersectionality is a complex topic as it makes the idea of oppression become much more complex itself. The two quotes explain how society as a whole likes to view the idea of privilege and oppression and simple things. One is discriminated against because they are either African American or a woman, not because they are African American and a woman. This also goes the other way around. If one is white in a white-dominated society, they are naturally going to be privileged, but females experience this privilege at a far lesser extent than their male counterparts, just as African American women are more disadvantaged than African American men despite being the same race. The single-story quote best explains this. As...

Words: 267 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

How Far and How Successfully Might Marx’s Critique of Religion Be Extended to Include Hinduism and Buddhism?

...of the present world and life (Pals, 141). Marx insists that religion is a condition that requires illusions. He also ascertained that the elimination of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. Marx in reference to illusions stated that, “To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions” (Marx). Both Hindus and Buddhists have illusions that they believe will be responsible for their salvation and Enlightenment. According to Marx, religion stems from the unhappiness that one feels. The pain that is felt by the poor can be eased by their fantasies of a supernatural world, where sorrows end, and oppression vanishes (Pals, 135). Christians are not the only religious sect that has a belief in a supernatural...

Words: 1283 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Feminist Theories and Uttar Predash

...are treated differently. Men and women have different roles and responsibilities, relations, and identities. Men are perceived as the dominant and in-charge person of the two. Men are usually the head of household and make the important decisions for the family. Women are perceived as the submissive person and are under-appreciated. Many women realized this and began to stand and fight against the stereotypical view of women. From this, the feminist theory derived. The feminist theory is a generalized, wide-ranging system of ideas about social life and human experience developed from a woman-center perspective. The feminist theory has four main subgroups, consisting of gender difference, gender inequality, gender oppression, and structural oppression. These theories are evident in the world, especially in the small Himalayan village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh described by Manjari Mehta in “Our Lives Are No Different From That of Our Buffaloes.” Feminist Theories Gender difference is a theory of feminism that argues that women’s perspectives of most situations are different from that of men’s perspectives of the same situation. Gender difference strives to answer the question “And what about the women?” by simply trying to show that women’s location in and experience of situations are different from that of men. Gender difference can be broken down into even more specific subgroups. Cultural feminism explores and celebrates women and the value that......

Words: 1748 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

White Middle Class Experience Analysis

...connected to the mistreatment and in particular, the consumption of, nonhuman animals. She argues that the consumption of meat is part of a “cultural mythology of maleness” that associates meat eating with virility. Inspired by a vast collection of advertisements, articles, images, speeches, and more that “animalized women and sexualized and feminized animals,” Adams theorizes that the common oppressions of women and nonhuman animals are interrelated through a cycle of objectification, fragmentation, and consumption. She contends that it is through the process of objectification in which an oppressor renders a subject into an object, that the subject is permitted to be violated, fragmented, and ultimately consumed. Consumption, she claims, is the “fulfillment of oppressions and the annihilation of will”. In sum, Adams’ feminist-vegetarian critical theory renders women and nonhuman animals as “similarly positioned in a patriarchal world, as objects rather than subjects”. With these ideas in mind, this project will explore how the language on specifically PETA’s website upholds the cycle of objectification, fragmentation, and consumption of females and as a result, nonhuman animals as well. In contrast to the view that sexualizing women is always a patriarchal attempt to oppress them, some feminists have argued that we should revalidate normative feminine qualities (i.e. sexuality and girliness). In response to this more recent understanding of feminism, which is......

Words: 637 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Racism and Its Affects

...Racism and Its Effects Introduction Racism is an ongoing force that negatively impacts the lives of Americans every day. The racist mindset in America stems from the times of slavery, where blacks were thought to be inferior to whites. Throughout history, the ideology of race and racism has evolved and developed several different meanings. Today, we can still see the devastating effects of racism on people of color, as well as whites. “Racism, like other forms of oppression, is not only a personal ideology based on racial prejudice, but a system involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices as well as beliefs and actions of individual” (Tatum, pg. 9). As a result of this system, it leaves the oppressed at a great disadvantage in society. This includes “access to social, cultural, and economic resources and decision making” (Rothenberg, 2007). In order for change to come about and for the American society to reach racial inequality, we first have to acknowledge the problem openly, which our society has yet to do. In this paper I am going to analyze the meaning of racism and how it affects both people of color and whites. In doing so, I am going to explore how racism impacts one’s racial identity, using my life experiences as an example. I will also demonstrate how racism leads to prejudice and discrimination and provide examples of these. I will close the paper with solutions and ideas to improve our communities and our......

Words: 4792 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Rabbit Proof Fence

...In this essay, I will describe the life of the Aboriginals in Australia, a characterisation of the character Jack McPhee and some comments of his experiences in the novel “Wanamurraganya”, an analysis of “Mary’s Song Cycle”, and finally I will talk about the movie “Rabbit Proof Fence” First, I will like to start talking about who and what the Aboriginals are, they were the original residentes of Australia and they have been there since around 45.000 years ago, however the Aboriginals claim they trace their creation back to the “Dreamtime”, an era where the earth were created. Before the first settlers came to Australia in 1788, the Aboriginal people lived throughout Australia, although the most of the population lived along the coast. Today more than half of all Aboriginals live in cities, often in cruel conditions with bad educations, and some with the habit of drug, alcohol and smoking addictions. The novel starts with that Jack McPhee is born in 1905, and that he is an illegitimate son of an Aboriginal woman and white station owner. Mary’s Song Cycle is made Ruby Langford Ginibi, she is born Jan 26 1934 and she died Oct 1 2011, she a Bundjalung author, historian and lecturer on Aboriginal history, culture and politics. The poem is narrative, because it a tells a story, the story is about the “stolen generation” and how the Australian government treated the Aboriginals, the poem ask the reader where it’s people, children, traditions and warriors are, but right in......

Words: 654 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Battle of Algiers

...Battle of Algiers The Battle of Algiers is a film by Italian filmmaker, Gillo Pontecorvo. The film was nominated for three Oscars for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen, and Best Director. It won the grand prize at Venice and was given top honors in London during its debut. The Battle of Algiers reveals the questionable effects of Western imperialism and how the legacy of imperialism is tied to the suppression of indigenous resistance. The film is set in the city of Algiers which was the capital of Algiers, during French colonist rule of the 1950s and 1960s. The film depicts how the French colonists were successful in winning the Battle of Algiers in 1957, however, in the end, their tactics cost them the colony of Algeria; three years later, the people overthrew French colonial rule and won their independence. The film is an insightful interpretation of the effect of Western colonialism; as such, it's an important source of reference in the discussion of current events involving the West's intervention in the Middle East. The movie begins with a torture scene in which French paratroopers have just gained information about the freedom fighters. The French know where the leader, Ali Pointe, is hiding and he has thirty seconds to surrender. Much of the film is a flashback from the point of view of Ali Pointe, the leader of the resistance. The way the film came about is surprising in many ways. The movie was subsidized by the......

Words: 1226 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Examples of Class & Gender in Music and Film

...Drew Daniels SOC 3381 25 October 2015 Class and Gender in Music and Film On the outside, America appears to be the land of opportunity, the land of freedom, and the land of equality. On the inside, this is anything but the truth. There are age-old systems of oppression built to keep long outdated beliefs in place today, and for many groups of people, it is inescapable. These systems cause social harm to lower class communities, to women, to non-binary peoples, and the most to individuals who fall into more than one of those classifications. Many writers and artists have sought to bring these issues of inequality into the public eye, having the most success telling their stories or the stories of others through music and film. Class oppression is very tricky subject to bring to light and analyze. While the American economic system is built in a way that allows everyone equal opportunities, there are limits that make it sometimes near impossible for lower and working class individuals to build better lives for themselves, limits that are not obvious to someone living outside of the poverty line. Jason DeParle writes about Kathryn Edin, a social worker who studies mothers in poverty and the struggles they go through providing for their children on but a monthly welfare check. While these mothers have the opportunity to get a job to support their families, they are often better off receiving government benefits; they can stay home and care for the children and take......

Words: 1453 - Pages: 6