The Dispersal of Oppressive Narratives

Construction and propagation of ideas that devalue the oppressed; ideologies are created (racism, sexism, specieism)


In order for oppression to flourish, we must:

forget / pretend –  the oppressed must forget what has happened to them historically and what is happening to them in their day to day lives in order to get through their lives and their day; the dominant group must never identify as white or as benefiting from white privilege; the dominant group must ‘forget’ about their membership in the white group; the dominant group must pretend that everything is OK now, that the problem was in the past

lie – the oppressed must stop speaking the truth about their experience, both to themselves (to survive internally) and to others (to survive in the world); the dominant group must lie to themselves and each other about their role in oppression, positioning themselves as blameless, passive (I didn’t cause it), individual and not part of a bigger system, while ignoring the internal racist conditioning and tapes (I am not racist, I’m a good white person)

stop feeling – the oppressed must cut themselves off from their feelings, become numb in order to survive, or feel that it is personal (I am bad or at fault); the dominant group must also cut themselves off from their feelings, insist on being ‘rational and ‘logical’ and never stop to feel the cost as oppressors; the dominant group must avoid feeling, because to begin feeling means to begin feeling guilt or shame



The very intentional ideological development of the …isms Examples: dominant narratives, “Othering” First, any oppressive system has at its core the IDEA that one group is somehow better than another, and in some measure has the right to control the other group. This idea gets elaborated in many ways—more intelligent, harder working, stronger, more capable, more noble, more deserving, more advanced, chosen, superior, and so on. The dominant group holds this idea about itself. And, of course, the opposite qualities are attributed to the other group—stupid, lazy, weak, incompetent, worthless, less deserving, backward, inferior and so on.



Is demonstrated in how institutions and systems reinforce and manifest ideology
Examples: media, medical, legal, education, religion, psychiatry, banking/financial
The idea that one group is better than another and has the right to control the other gets embedded in the institutions of the society, the laws, the legal system and police practice, the education system, hiring practices, public policy, housing development, media images, political power, etc.


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