Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Oppression, Gross & Subtle

Originally posted on March 4, 2015

I have just given a series of talks on oppression, my last one being posted on my website. Certainly the theme is a relevant challenge in our world today. Though I acknowledge grosser forms, my focus was on more subtle types. We’ve had a revolution of rising expectations, more and more sub-groups identifying and rebelling against various sub-types of marginalization. In contrast, more groups are self-empowering, noting types of privilege, working to raise consciousness.

In the olden days when I was a young man it was all right, even expected, to make fun of "out-groups." As a lad who was raised Jewish, I objected to prejudice. This was a popular word in the 50s and 60s, and in California it was cool to not be prejudiced. Yet there were many sub-groups who were marginalized. (That was a word not known then.) It’s not that we were prejudiced against them, but worse: They didn’t exist; I had never heard of this group—or at least not to speak of.

In the last 70 years much has changed and much is changing, including the variety of sub-groups who I never even knew existed as a teenager. My preparing for a lecture on oppression heightened my appreciation even more for the need for self-empowerment for more and more groups.

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