Oppression, as the name suggests, is a detrimental situation of intentional and forceful subordination of a person because of their personality, race and ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other background character and traits. It is portrayed by the domination and show of supremacy. It also features a system individual and institutional harshness, unfairness, and injustice (Hanna, Talley, & Guindon, 2000). Moreover, there are power imbalances between the superior oppressor and the receiver who is the disadvantaged. The social problem can also be discussed in terms of the access to services and privileges, rewards and advantages that come with membership to a particular class or the people in political and economic power (Hays, & Erford, 2009).
Modalities of oppression
Modalities are the basis through which oppression occurs. It is notable that it can be an act, a state of mind, or a feeling of the target that is used to determine the modality. The independent modes of subjecting oppression can be used singly or combined by the villain (Hays, & Erford, 2009.
Oppression by force
The first nature of occurrence of abuse is by coercive intimidation and threats. The act of subjecting an individual or community of people a set of conditions, objects, experience, roles, or label that is inhumane, unnecessarily painful, and sidetrack from the ordinary standards of physical and psychological well-being. These activities and adverse treatments are done for acceptance and inclusion in a dominant society’s established political, social or economic lifestyle and institutions.
However, oppression can also occur by deprivation. In this case, the targeted is denied the chance of ownership of an object, deprived of the experience and responsibility to partake in an activity and dispossessed of set of livelihood environment that is desirable and beneficial to the physiological wellness of the individual or community. Furthermore, these sets of progressive events, real or perceived, can affect one’s self-esteem, respect, and dignity. The modality is also depicted in circumstances of neglect where one is deprived of love, care, support, or essential products and services to satisfy a need.
Types of oppression
Oppression is broad and can be shown in many facets; obvious or overt, or can be carried out indiscretion without the realization of perpetration by the oppressed. It does not have to be brutal. Nonetheless, there are three extensive categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary oppression (Hanna, Talley, & Guindon, 2000).
The primary abuse type is carried out deliberately, forcefully and by deprivation. It applies both the modalities of powerfully denying one the title of ownership, rights and freedom associated with the enjoyment of the product, object, access, and way of life in any of the socio-economic and political arena (Hays, & Erford, 2009). On the other hand, secondary oppression is where one does not actively engage in either coercive or denial of product and service access and possession, but directly and indirectly gains from the implications of these oppressive acts.
Therefore, if these oppression beneficiaries are in influential or leadership positions, the oppressors are assured of the administrative support, approval and protection (Hanna, Talley, & Guindon, 2000).
Lastly, there is tertiary oppression that involves betrayal activities by an individual or group of people in seeking acceptance and inclusion in the dominant group or oppressors. Also known as internalized oppression, this type involves the decamping by one or section of the inferior group in the process tracking and setting them up to the advantage of the dominant side of the conflict (Hays, & Erford, 2009).
Therefore, oppression is the act of subjecting a person or group of people to harmful and undesirable conditions, forcefully or otherwise, in the process denying them the rights and privileges (Hanna, Talley, & Guindon, 2000). It is connected to power through the mutuality of approval for the benefit of gaining fear or forced allegiance from the subjects and the oppressed. In return, the villains can be accorded the protection and environment to perform their inhumane activities (Hays, & Erford, 2009).
Hanna, F. J., Talley, W. B., & Guindon, M. H. (2000). The power of perception: Toward a model of cultural oppression and liberation. Journal of Counseling and Development, 78(4), 430-441.
Hays, D. G., & Erford, B. T. (2009). Developing Multicultural Counseling Competency: A Systems Approach. Prentice Hall.