Costs of Oppression to People from Dominant Groups

These concepts are from this PDF from Mt. Holyoke College.

Psychological Costs: Loss of Authentic Sense of Self

  • Socialized into limited roles and patterns of behavior
  • Denial of emotions and empathy
  • Distorted view of self and false sense of superiority
  • Discrepancy between others’ perceptions and own, internal reality
  • Fears (of doing and saying the wrong thing, of retaliation from oppressed groups, of judgment if reveal true self, of different people and experiences)

Moral/Spiritual Costs: Loss of Moral/Spiritual Integrity

  • Guilt and shame
  • Moral ambivalence (doing the right thing vs. social pressures to conform to dominant role)
  • Spiritual emptiness and pain

Social Costs: Loss and Diminishment of Relationships

  • Isolation from people who are different from oneself
  • Barriers to deeper, more authentic relationships
  • Ostracism from others in own group if do not conform

Intellectual Costs: Loss of Developing Full Range of Knowledge

  • Ignorance of other people and cultures
  • Distorted and limited view of reality

Material Costs: Loss of Safety and Resources

  • Living in a world of increasing violence and unrest (restricted ability to move about freely; increased fear for self and others; limited desirable places to live, work, go to school, recreate)
  • Loss of knowledge to foster societal growth and well-being
  • Waste of resources (to deal with effects of inequality)
  • Loss of valuable employees, clients and customers
  • Diminished collective action for common concerns

Benefits of Eliminating Oppression for People from Dominant Groups

  • Fuller, more authentic sense of self
  • More authentic relationships and human connection
  • Moral integrity and consistency
  • Freedom from fears
  • Improved living and working conditions
  • Access to other cultures and wisdom
  • More resources to address common concerns
  • Greater opportunity for genuine democracy and justice

 

What would you add to or change on this list? Comment below!

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