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Examples of Oppression

Oppression is a cruel or unjust exercise of power. Minorities were historically subject to oppression by those in power and, unfortunately, oppression still exists today and there are many examples of it.

Oppression In Everyday Life

Some examples of oppression include the following:

  • A society says that women are the property of their fathers or husbands. Women are not permitted to wear clothing of their own choosing or to go anywhere without permission from a man. Fathers decide who their daughters will marry and wives must obey their husbands. This is an example of a society where women are oppressed.
  • A society exists where people of a certain race are denied opportunities and equality under the law. People within the disfavored race are not permitted to learn to read or to attend school. They have to live in certain designated areas and must do the jobs that they are told to do by the leaders of the society. The race of people who are denied opportunities are oppressed.
  • A society exists where people who believe in a certain set of religious teachings are considered to be inferior to others who accept a state religion. Those who practice their own religious beliefs can be punished or even jailed for their opinions and practices. In this society, the people who practice the forbidden religion are oppressed.
  • A society is under the thumb of a cruel dictator. Anyone who disagrees with the policies of the dictator can be killed for sharing his opinion and voicing the disagreement. The people of the society who live under the dictator are oppressed.
  • A society is controlled by a small percentage of very wealthy people. The wealthy people deny opportunities to those who are poor. The poor work for almost no wages and struggle to achieve a basic human standard of living such as having food and shelter. The poor are carefully controlled by the oppressors and prevented from organizing or resisting the will of the wealthy. This is an example of a society where the poor are oppressed.
  • A society carefully controls the freedom of speech of all people. The Internet is not accessible to the public, certain books are banned and the media works for the state and is permitted to write only the positive news that the state allows to be printed. This is an example of a society where the people who are under the control of the authority are oppressed.
  • A society allows migrants to enter its borders but will not grant them any rights. The migrants are not allowed to participate in the political process and are not protected by the laws that apply to citizens. The migrants can be forced to work for low wages and are denied basic services such as access to food and health care. This is an example of a situation where the migrants are oppressed by the society.

These are all examples of oppression against different groups. In every case, those who are in power or who are in control treat those who have no power unfairly and deprive them of certain basic rights or liberties.


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