When will we, as a people, recognize, accept, and celebrate our diversity rather than despise it? When will we stop hurting, hating, and minimalizing people who are different than us? When will we understand we are all the same in our basic physiological makeup as humans? We look different on the outside, but internally we are the same, we feel the same emotions and we all desire to be accepted just as we are.
Society has divided, segregated, and categorized humanity in almost every possible way including gender, ethnicity, color, faith, age, sexual orientation, education, and income to name a few. This labeling of individuals and groups of individuals has created a false perception regarding the value of people based on the labels they are given. Those same labels have also created a hierarchy of power and privilege that has been used to oppress others for centuries.
Oppression is the unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power. While there is not a single, widely accepted definition of social oppression, there are commonalities. Elanor Taylor defined (social) oppression in “Groups and Oppression” as follows:
Oppression is a form of injustice that occurs when one social group is subordinated while another is privileged, and oppression is maintained by a variety of different mechanisms including social norms, stereotypes and institutional rules. A key feature of oppression is that it is perpetrated by and affects social groups. … [Oppression] occurs when a particular social group is unjustly subordinated, and where that subordination is not necessarily deliberate but instead results from a complex network of social restrictions, ranging from laws and institutions to implicit biases and stereotypes. In such cases, there may be no deliberate attempt to subordinate the relevant group, but the group is nonetheless unjustly subordinated by this network of social constraints.
I included this definition because it speaks loudly to the inequities that are a result of the labels people and groups are given. As stated before, our society has divided, segregated, and categorized humanity in almost every way possible. This has been done purposefully to cause irrational fear and loathing, along with marginalizing of people so that the structure of power and privilege remains the same.
My heart is heavy, and my soul is grieved, but I still have hope for a better tomorrow. I believe we all need each other, and we all have so much we could learn from one another. If only we would come together and celebrate our differences so that we could all become better people. If only we would come together and allow ourselves to be enriched by the plethora of experience, culture, art, and faith of others! What a wonderful world that would be.