Oppression 101

This is the start to an article titled, Critical Theory Quotes:

Critical theory is an ideology that divides the world into oppressed groups and oppressor groups and seeks to liberate the oppressed. It is currently the reigning theoretical paradigm in academic disciplines like gender studies, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, anthropology, and queer theory, and forms the ideological foundation for large segments of the secular social justice movement. In my speaking and writing, I’ve characterized critical theory according to several basic premises held by proponents of critical theory. Listed below are quotes which illustrates each of these basic premises.

Premise #1: Individual identity is inseparable from group identity as ‘oppressed’ or ‘oppressor’

Premise #2: Oppressor groups subjugate oppressed groups through the exercise of hegemonic power

Premise #3: Our fundamental moral duty is freeing groups from oppression

Premise #4: ‘Lived experience’ is more important than objective evidence in understanding oppression

Premise #5: Oppressor groups hide their oppression under the guise of objectivity

Premise #6: Individuals at the intersection of different oppressed groups experience oppression in a unique way

Just click on each link and you will get to the list of associated quotes. Here is the first quote from the first premise:

Premise #1: Individual identity is inseparable from group identity as ‘oppressed’ or ‘oppressor’

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor… I was taught [wrongly] to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will” – Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” in Andersen and Collins, Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, p. 72

By the time you are through, you will see yourself as an oppressor of everyone else because you thoughtlessly just went ahead and lived your life without noticing all the harm you had caused to others. But they noticed, even though almost all their disadvantage might well have arisen because of who they were and not what you did.

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