Essays on Oppression

Introduction for Essay

As Angela Davis says in her book, “Social movement leaders don’t achieve pivotal change on their own… it’s about the people supporting and following the movement that creates the change”. Malcolm X, Black Panther Party, the Chicano movement, inner-city youth and gangs in LA, and the Black Lives Matter movement all struggled against the white dominant class, systemic racism, and economic, political, individual, and societal oppression. All of these movements had similar tactics; they used every resource possible to spread awareness for their fight.

I’ve learned that people of color have struggled to get away from the influences of the white dominant class and the structural discrimination that they face every day. The movements had self-determination and made demands on the state to change the lives of all, self-organized to teach their community history, and wanted autonomy, community empowerment, and equality. Power can be seen through the people, devotion, and resilience to create social change in their lives and the ones of those to come. All of these movements had similar tactics; they used every resource possible to spread awareness for their fight. The movements wouldn’t have seen the success they did without the people, which means that membership was an important factor in the continuation of these movements.

Research Paper on Oppression Essay

The Black Power Movement was a movement that didn’t just stand for rebellion, it stood for power to the people, and the goal was to bring consciousness, pride, familial, and liberation to the people. They were developed with the goal of creating community control, and in turn, they spread their message to create solidarity for the issues. The movement focused on the daily struggles that they experienced as people of color, and they wanted to show their community that there was strength in numbers.

Leaders like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, and Dr. King were the hope for their people; they spoke for those who didn’t know they had a voice. The problem was that it was misconstrued by society, and people believed that it was a step towards black supremacy or anti-nationalism that put them in a dangerous position because it made them out to be a national threat; words like terrorist were being thrown around to describe the party. The tragic thing about this mentality is that the reason the Panthers were fighting so hard was not fully grasped.

The most interesting thing about the Black Panther Party Movement is that something that can be so detrimental and life-altering for a community can come full circle and have more importance years later. People of color were and still are seeking equality, employment, an end to the oppression cycle, decent housing, education, an end to police brutality and murder of black people, stopping the prison-industrial complex, justice, and peace.

Argumentative Essay Examples on Oppression Essay

Malcolm X had his own struggle with trying to understand who he was and where he fit in. From what I’ve learned, I think he started understanding what it meant to be a marginalized person of color while he was in jail. He had acted out in such a self-destructive manner in his teens, and that anger needed an outlet. He found that through activism and preaching. The Nation of Islam was his solace and demise; he idolized Elijah Muhammad and considered him a prophet. He spread the message that the white dominant class worked so they could keep African American people from achieving political, social, and economic power and independence. The Nation of Islam believed that they needed to become their own nation-state so they could get rid of White influence and domination.

In later years, Malcolm sees that he’s been misled and blindly following Elijah because he had seen him as a person with all-encompassing power and light. Instead, he saw him for who he was – a liar and a fraud. When Malcolm makes the journey to Mecca (Hajj), his perception is finally changed, and he realizes that what he was taught by Elijah couldn’t be further from the truth. He was surrounded by people of all races, praying to the same god; it was there that he understood that he needed to be sentient and understanding to become a strong leader for his community.

Turning away people of other races wasn’t making the fight stronger; it was reducing the support and making it weaker. When he returned to the United States, he said, “I have met blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers.” As discussed in class, we don’t get to see the new leader that Malcolm was becoming because he was assassinated, but I presume that he was becoming more of a peaceful advocate for equality. We won’t know the kind of leader he was meant to be, but we can study his journey and understand the way it shaped the civil rights movement.

Thesis Statement for Oppression Essay

The inner-city youth and gangs were created to protect the black community against white gangs who were regularly violent towards them. The gangs weren’t always violent and feared; they actually began after the Black Panther Party dissipated. They realized that the community needed a group to step up and provide them with support. The Black Panthers influenced these gangs in the beginning through their food program. The gangs would feed the kids in the community and would educate the community on black history, along with providing them with protection.

The shift in power happens when the white gangs leave because of white flight, and red lining pushes them out. The black gangs lost their purpose through the multiple deaths of their leaders, lack of direction and leadership, and unemployment. The only way to describe the rise in gang activity was the empty leadership positions that were left open and were readily taken by men who believed in violence as the answer. This cycle of violence can still be seen today through the Bloods and Crips.

Ideas: The Chicano Movement – A Fight for Education, Labor, and Rights

When looking at the Black Panther party in comparison to the Chicanos, I saw a more diffused movement. Their issues consisted of wanting proper education, labor, land farming, political power, anti-war, the Chicana feminist movement, and geographic differences. They wanted fair wages, education for their children, and to end the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy, which is the same that can be said for the Black Panthers.

As mentioned in class, the Chicano movement had what Paulo Freire called Conscientizaçao, which refers to “learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality.” (Freire, Pg.35) This gave the movement awareness of the way they were being oppressed by the dominant class and made them want to break out of the status quo.

One of the ways they planned to combat illiteracy was through the “El Plan.” The main goal was to provide relatability at the University level by having Hispanic or Chicano professors and faculty available to students. They wanted a safe place where they could speak freely- including languages, learn about past struggles that the community and culture had endured, and become educated to help the rest of their people.

Being Black Today – Fears and Struggles

The goal was to improve as an induvial and gain skills to one day give back to their people, basically creating a feedback loop. I like connecting concepts through the changes or impacts seen over time, and for the “El Plan” program, I think we can now see the positive and successful aspects a program like this carries. Now there are specific majors for Chicana/o studies, specific graduations, support centers on campus, and specific fraternities and sororities. It is now part of a more inclusive program that helps these students feel connected to their culture while enduring the challenges of being a modern-day university student.

There wasn’t a specific moment in time where we see the beginning of the movement; there are separate issues that come together on the basis of wanting basic human rights. The issues were split between education, class, and regional struggles. During this time, it was difficult for people to be understood when they were constantly trying to validate themselves. Society saw them only as their stereotypes – gangsters, deviants, cholos/promiscuous Latinas, subversive. The idea of having to validate themselves is what Zinn mentions; the degradation and dehumanization of specific groups in society lead to their oppression.

The Chicano movement was painful to see because it showed the exploitation of Hispanic people. From the Bracero program to the riots occurring in the fields or peaceful protests turning violent because of a misunderstanding – the community was in a vulnerable and broken place where they needed people to speak up and show them the proper way to live while obtaining basic needs and rights.


I found it interesting that each group had a way of sharing their message with their community. With the Black Panther Party movement, I saw art being used as propaganda, and it was spread through the news, which was used as a way of recruiting. Malcolm X used his eloquence to touch the lives of thousands; his words gave people hope in times of solace and strength when they felt weak.

The Chicanos used murals, plays, poems, and songs to bring awareness and teach their people about important issues that were occurring. The Gangs were created as the people in the community that could keep others safe; the animosity that was later created was a product of no leadership, but the initial idea was to be vigilant and protect their community at all times. Ta-Nehisi Coates describes the struggle of being Black today, and he really expresses the fears he has being an African American father.

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