Pop Quiz: Are You Oppressed?

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op·pres·sion
/əˈpreSHən/
noun
noun: oppression; plural noun: oppressions
prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.
“a region shattered by oppression and killing”

synonyms: persecution, abuse, maltreatment, ill-treatment, tyranny, despotism, repression, suppression, subjection, subjugation; More antonyms: freedom, democracy

the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control.
synonyms: persecution, abuse, maltreatment, ill-treatment, tyranny, despotism, repression, suppression, subjection, subjugation; More antonyms: freedom, democracy

 

 

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ARE YOU OPPRESSED (Or Are you Oppressive)?

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Take the following quiz to find out:

  • True or False: I believe that people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQIA people have been oppressed.
  • True or False: I believe that people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQIA people are still oppressed.
  • True or False: I believe I have personally witnessed a person from one of these groups being oppressed.
  • True or False: I believe that I have personally participated in the oppression of a person from one of these groups.
  • True or False: I have taken steps today to expose, fight, alleviate, and/or prevent oppression.

If you answered True to all of the above, congratulations! But that’s only the first part. See below:

  • True or False: I believe that people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQIA people will always be oppressed, no matter what we try to do to change things.
  • True or False: I believe everyone has suffered some form of oppression in their lives, and can easily understand what it feels like to be systemically oppressed.
  • True or False: I believe the everyday problems faced by oppressed groups are given more attention than the everyday problems of the unoppressed.
  • True or False: I believe most of the everyday problems faced by oppressed groups could be solved if the oppressed people just tried a little harder to rise above.
  • True or False: I believe the “big picture” problems faced by oppressed groups could be alleviated if they would only change their way of thinking and/or behavior to that of the unoppressed.
  • True or False: I believe that oppressed people often overreact, and they’re not as bad off as they want society to believe.
  • True or False: I think it’s unfair how, when unoppressed people try to help the oppressed, they’re sometimes treated with mistrust, fear, anger or ingratitude.
  • True or False: I believe that if the oppressed would just stop fighting the system and go with the flow, they would eventually become unoppressed.

If you answered True to ANY of the above, I’m sorry. You failed (and are at least tacitly oppressive by default). Please go back and start over.

Hint: This time, try replacing the word “oppressed” with “drowning.” Then replace the word “unoppressed” with “fish.”

Did you get it right this time? Congratulations! You’re what the kids call “woke.” At least…for the moment.

See, that’s the trick with oppression. The real test is ongoing. It’s like a constant, controversial (and yet oddly easy to ignore) pop quiz, with one repetitive question. Unlike above, it’s not a True or False test, but a fill in the blank:

 

Today, I will _______________ oppression.

As you can see above, the antonym (opposite) of oppression is freedom. Also (ironically) democracy. Right now, it seems like a lot of people have forgotten that. Or maybe those words just don’t mean what they used to. Maybe the new antonym (and antidote) to oppression is more like a four-letter word:

LOVE.

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