“Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” -MLK
The origin of oppression has always eluded me… why does the oppressor oppress? Why does the oppressed accept the circumstances enforced by the oppressor?
As opposed to a condition of nature – for animals do not share in unoriented oppression beyond survival – I feel as if oppression (the deliberate and willful use of power to deject the progress of an individual or group of persons) is a common condition of human folly. A compensatory action of fearful emotions. The oppressors fear the image of their own perceived inadequacy – and to reinstate to themselves a perception of strength, they choose already disadvantaged victims to afflict upon, reinforcing an illusionary form of power. This process is not only fallacious for the oppressor, it is just as so for the oppressed.
When oppression is prevalent, it is so because the oppressed subscribe to a fallacy. That fallacy is one that promotes a dominance held by one over another. This allows the oppressed to accept what they believe to be a matter of fate rather than one of self determination. Forfeiture of will, the core of the human spirit immobilizes the oppressed and empowers the oppressor… oppression germinates in fear and thrives in despair.
In the past it took the form of physical slavery. Now, it has a more subtle body. Distrust in political processes, or a form of systemic slavery. The oppressed today in America are the dejected men and women who disregard political activism as a means of bettering the state and quality of their lives. The oppressor will not willingly give up even a grand figment of power for a minuet reality of powerlessness. It goes against the very nature that breeds it. But the oppressed have a choice… a choice to grab hold of self-determination and free themselves from the illusion of powerlessness.
But this is a CHOICE, unprovoked by the oppressor, that must be decided for one’s self…
– Quadaire Patterson, VADOC #1392272, From Virginia Beach, VA