Define the term oppression and provide an example from a group that has experienced oppression within the U.S. society
Oppression is the unfair treatment of a person or a group of people that limits or creates barriers that are unjust. Oppression can be overt or covert. Before studying this subject, I had a mistaken feeling about oppression in the U.S. Society.
Oppression is caused by an imbalance of power in a society. Jean Baker Miller goes into detail about how this oppression can occur in her essay “Domination and Subordination”. Ms. Baker explores the types of inequality that create oppression and the roles of the dominants and subordinates in the oppression. Of particular note, Baker speaks to how unfair and arbitrary oppression can be: “Your birth defines you” (Baker pp. 112)
African Americans are a group that has felt oppression. In support of the quote by Baker, the only thing that differentiates African Americans from the rest of society is the race they were born into. However, there is a systemic pattern of oppression that African Americans have endured over the years.
In her essay, “How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says about Race in America” Karen Brodkin gives some specific examples of how this oppression has occurred and was facilitated by decisions by the US Government. Brodkin speaks first of the GI Bill. This was available to all veterans after World War II who were honorably discharged. There was a disproportionate amount of dishonorable discharges for African American soldiers – leaving then ineligible the benefits under the GI Bill. Those who were honorably discharged were not given the same access to the career and educational counseling that white soldiers were given. This lack of access to education and opportunity continued the oppression of African Americans and left them eligible only for menial and low skill labor.
Another example of this systemic oppression that is mentioned by Brodkin is the...