Oppression and Privilege – Two Sides of the Same Coin

“Oppression and privilege are two sides of the same coin — even if the experience of oppression seems more visceral. A modern call for Jubilee could make clear that reparative Jubilee not only offers freedom for those most impacted by inequality, but also offers true freedom for those entrapped by their privilege. Much of our understanding of who we are in society comes down to how we experience our material conditions. Thus, resetting the system with a reparative Jubilee could allow us to build both a racially just and economically just society for us all” (Brown, 2015).

Social justice requires not the melting away of differences, but institutions that promote reproduction of and respect for group differences without oppression. Though some groups have come to be formed out of oppression, and relations of privilege and oppression structure the interactions between many groups, group differentiation is not in itself oppressive. Whether a group is oppressed depends on whether it is subject to one or more of these five conditions:

1. Exploitation
2. Marginalization
3. Powerlessness
4. Cultural Imperialism &
5. Violence

These five criteria, according to Asumah and Nagel (2014), provide a means for refuting some people’s belief that their group is oppressed when it is not, as well as a means for persuading others that a group is oppressed when they seemingly doubt it.

__Asumah, S. N. and Nagel, M. (2014). Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusive Excellence : Transdisciplinary and Global Perspectives. State University of New York Press.

__Brown, P. (2015). Reimagining Jubilee: A Political Horizon for Our Times. Tikkun 30(1), Duke University Press. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Project MUSE database.






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