Oppression

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Oppression: A systematic form of discrimination that is generated when institutions or structures in a society maintain hierarchies of power and privilege that weighs down or subjugates a specific group. ~

Oppression can be subtle and relatively invisible to the mainstream society, or it can be “institutionalized in customs and norms, or even codified in laws” (Berlet & Khan, 2001: 19-20). Racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism are the major forms of oppression in the U.S., but there are others based on ability, language, ethnicity, immigrant status, size, religion, and more. Oppression is systematic and occurs as the result of a dynamic process involving ideas, acts, and a hierarchical position of dominance. This dominance involves both power and privilege. The resulting formula for oppression is as follows: supremacist ideology + discrimination + power/privilege = oppression. Oppression as a system is built on a foundation of internal, interpersonal, and institutional forms of supremacy and subjugation.