Oppresion is One of the most Important Social Problem

Patricia Collin’s see’s Race, Class and Gender as a concept that needs to be changed and not “based on either/or dichotomies or on hierarchies of oppression.” Simply put it is easy for a person in a certain oppressed race, class or gender to see that oppression, but it takes more to see and hold yourself accountable for how you might oppress people yourself. We need to take a look not only into the macro but the micro of race, gender and class to see how broken the current structure is. This means that we need to look and analyze experiences that we have gone through in life that are formed from a race, class, and gender view. Collins also speaks on the Institutional Dimension of Oppression stating those three main dimensions are The institution, the symbolic, and the individual. The institution of oppression are the schools, businesses, hospitals and the workplace. 

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Within the institution of oppression there is a melting pot of positives and negatives. Many ideologies claiming equality of oppression when in actuality Collins says “race, class, and gender place Asian-American women, Native-American Men, White Men, African-American women and other groups in distinct institutional niches with varying degrees of penalty and privilege. Within the Symbolic realm of oppression to control this dimension oppression the majority have come up with a “list” of controlling images of diverse race, class and gender. As most people’s list will have Masculine as the strong person and/or leader of the pack, or the smart and rational one. While being feminine means you are more passive, or weak following the leader of the pack. These things within the dimensions of oppression play an important role in maintaining this current systems of domination and reduction.

Being at some point in my life a low-income African American and also a high class African American, I have had good and bad experiences with Race, class and gender. When shopping in a predominately -white shopping center, I remember a time that my wife and I went to buy clothes at a Mall in Kansas City . When we were at a store looking at the clothes, we noticed that staff from the store was following us like if we were going to steal or take something. When we asked for help, they took long in helping us and their attitude was not the best. We then saw that when people from their own race (White Americans) were asking for help, they were helped quickly, and the staff was friendly towards them. The staff made us feel very uncomfortable and unwanted, so we decided to leave the store. These are some of the exact things that Collins talks about within her text as “a piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.” In addition, I have noticed that people tend to stay within their race and culture and feel more comfortable there. For example, I notice many White American date within their own race and when going to a part of tow such as Johnson County in Kansas in the upper-class neighborhoods, they are predominately white. This makes me think about my own African American culture and how I have heard some of my African friends say that African Americans think they are better than they are. 

I don’t have much to say to them, but I know many Africans who have said that we are better than other cultures. White people aren’t the only oppressors, we all are in our own way. I have to say we are different in the way of how we make relationhips with other cultures such as some White people who say they have Black friends when in reality they don’t. Collins points in the direction of needing to “frame our lives” and only then will we be in a position to see the need for new ways of thought and action. Collins also says that “it is dangerous to engage in a comparison of who is more oppressed than whom.” This is a really important view on race, gender and classes categories of analysis because once you get into a fire fight about who is more oppressed than whom you start to build this contradicting structure of race, class and, gender in the world of oppression. I know the difference and that some groups of people experience worst things than others such as slavery, sex slave etc. but it may be different in other cultures. In my African American culture, I would say that race and class play the biggest role in oppression. 

In 1976, Adolph Lyons a 24-year-old Black man, was pulled over by four Los Angeles police officers for driving with a broken taillight. The cops exited their cars with their guns drawn, while telling Lyons to get on the grown open his legs and put his hands behind his back. After Lyons was frisked, he put his hand back down causing one of the police officers to get frightened and grab Lyon’s hands and push them back against his head. Lyons had his keys in his hands and told officers on multiple occasions that he was in pain. The police officer tackled Lyons and placed him in a chokehold until Lyons passes out. After he woke up, he sat they lying in the dirt face down on the ground, noticing that he had urinated on himself and was also spitting up blood. And dirt. The cops thought nothing more of it and didn’t find anything and decided to just give him his citation and send Mr. Lyons on his way. He decided to try and sure the LAPD and rightfully so for putting him in a chokehold. During this same time 16 people died within the hands of the LAPD and 12 of those men being Black men from chokehold that were banned at the time. The US Supreme Court denied his claim and stated that “Lyons could not prove that he would be subject to a chokehold and therefore had no personal stake in the outcome.”

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Oppresion is one of the most important social problem. (2022, Sep 05). Retrieved October 3, 2022 , from

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