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WHAT’S HAPPENING | ENGLAND MARIE

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Community

England Marie

The Impact Of Oppression And Power On Communities Of Color

How do you define oppression in today’s society? We are living through a global pandemic and our community still faces unjust and cruel restrictions imposed by individuals, groups and institutions. This definition demonstrates the intensity of oppression, which also shows how difficult such a challenge is to address or eradicate.

What is the reason for oppression? Typically, an in-power government or political organization places these restrictions formally or covertly on groups so that the distribution of resources is unfairly allocated and power stays in the hands of those who already have it. Over the last 500 years, the colonial matrix of power — patron colonial de poder — has been one of the primary sources of oppression.

Oppression is not a static concept nor does it have a fixed relationship to racism and discrimination. The tools of oppression are often disguised or hidden as privileges. In the 1950s and ‘60s, white flight occurred from U.S. communities while African-Americans moved in.. Subsequently, banks refused to lend money to people trying to start businesses or buy homes in African-American neighborhoods, and major grocery stores and other companies refused to open branches in African American communities. Redistricting has resulted in communities and resources being divided; this has created more division and strife for communities of color.

WHAT IS POWER?

First, it is having control over resources in such a way that they can be used to reward and punish various people. Second, it is the ability to control barriers to participation through defining who can receive support.

Power is multifaceted and takes various forms: power over, power to, and power from. Power “over” is the ability to compel or dominate others, control resources, and enforce commands. Power “to” is the ability of people to pursue personal and/or collective goals and to develop their own capacities. Power “from” is the ability to resist coercion and unwanted commands/demands.

Much of the conversation about power has been through the lens of empowerment.

Lastly, power and oppression can be mirror reflections of one another — in a sense, two sides of the same coin. Where you see power that causes harm, you will likely see oppression. We must deconstruct oppression and systems of power by speaking up, sharing resources, amplifying voices, and showing support.

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