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Greg Heinzman: five faces of oppression

A presentation for use in Greg Heinzman's UF classes at Boise State University

Karley Walker

on 24 October 2015

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Transcript of Greg Heinzman: five faces of oppression


1. the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work

2. the action of making use of and benefiting from resources

Oppression occurs through a steady process of the transfer of the results of the labor of one social group to benefit another.

1. to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power

A whole category of people is expelled from useful participation in social life and thus potentially subjected to severe material deprivation and even extermination.
Cultural Imperialism
[vahy-uh-luh ns]

1. swift and intense force
2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment
3. an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws
4. a violent act or proceeding
5. rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language
6. damage through distortion or unwarranted alteration

Members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person.

1. unable to produce an effect

2. lacking power to act; helpless

Domination in modern society is enacted through the widely dispersed powers of many agents mediating the decisions of others. The powerless are situated so that they must take orders and rarely have the right to give them [and they] lack authority or power.
five faces of oppression
Meem, a nine year old girl living in Bangladesh, has been forced into work to help raise money for her family. Staff begins work at 9am and ends at 9pm, with only a lunch break in between. Girls, such as Meem, are tasked with snipping off threads from the men’s shirts being made while sitting cross legged in the middle of the floor. Hunched over hour after hour, squinting at the threads, cleaning one collar after another, one cuff after another, one arm piece after another until piles are depleted. Despite the long hours and aches caused from sitting hunched over for hours at a time, Meem is always smiling and her only complaint is that she is yelled at if she chats too much or hums too loudly. Workers like Meem are paid about $25 a month. They are allowed half a day off every Friday and do not get holidays or paid sick leave. In a country with widespread poverty however, such jobs are valued and Meem had ambitions to move up the factory chain to become a better-paid sewing operator.

"When I become a sewing operator, I will make very good shirts," she says, "No one will yell at me."

Do You?
"A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together."

Margaret Atwood
['kəlCH(ə)rəl imˈpirēəˌlizəm]

1. It can be defined as the practice of promoting and imposing a culture, usually of politically powerful nations over less potent societies, which are then labeled as the Other

The universalization of a dominant group's experience and culture, and its establishment as the norm.
Cultural Imperialism
While an intrinsic ardor prompts to write,

The muses promise to assist my pen;

’Twas not long since I left my native

The land of errors, and Egyptian gloom:
Father of mercy, ’twas thy gracious hand

Brought me in safety from those dark abodes.

An excerpt from Phillis Wheatley's, To the University of Cambridge, in New-England
What's missing?
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