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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Target the Oppressor, Not the Oppressed

At times those who are oppressed target each other.

Oppressors are happy to see this happen, and in fact may pit one oppressed individual against another to get rid of two people in one way or another.

Those who are oppressed cannot be tricked by this tactic.

For example, an oppressor may hold one individual from an oppressed group at high esteem and make him/her feel like a champion while oppressing the rest of the individuals in a group. This is a tactic to keep a group low and to retain power. Don't be fooled by this tactic.

The oppressed are often clamoring for air, justice, and freedom. Sometimes they are so down trodden that they are thinking only of survival, and they turn on one another instead of turning to each other to use their collective power to overcome the oppressors. Oppressors typically have lots of power--power with money, power with time, power with place, power with people--oppressors are snake pits while the oppressed are often powerless on their own, they need each other to overcome the oppressors.

Though we are tempted to use the tactics of oppressors against others, we cannot do that. To use their tactics is to build their unjust power and oppression. Instead we must use our humility, honesty, and humanity in solidarity to overcome the oppressors.

For example, challenged by no power, an individual may turn to a colleague and say, "You cannot do that." The colleague can in return say, "And neither can you since our power is diminished by the oppressor's greed, unfair laws, injustice, mistreatment. . . .together we have to work against this."

In theaters big and small we can all play the role of oppressor and oppressed--we have to be mindful of this. We have to think about situations where our power and privilege is greater than others, and we have to find ways to work against this and demonstrate respect and dignity. Similarly we will find ourselves oppressed from time to time, and we have to seek allies in these situations and work for greater justice and freedom.

To put anyone down in ways that further oppress them is wrong, but instead to find ways to collaboratively fight injustice with good speak, honesty, and fair action is the way to end oppression and build a better community.