Hi folks: There has been some confusion about the part from the Exam # 2 where I ask you to "Discuss the form of discrimination at multiple levels: personal/individual, institutional and cultural. Give several concrete examples of your form of oppression that help the reader to better understand it." So, I thought I would share this handout to help spell out more clearly what is meant by individual, institutional and cultural oppression. -JRR
Understanding the Different Levels of Oppression
Oppression is a system that maintains advantage and disadvantage based on social group memberships and operates, intentionally and unintentionally, on individual, institutional and cultural levels.
Individual: Attitudes and actions that reflect prejudice against a social group (intentional and unintentional).
Institutional: Policies, laws, rules, norms and customs enacted by organizations and social institutions that disadvantage some social groups and advantage other social groups. These institutions include religion, government, education, law, the media, and the health care system (intentional and unintentional).
Societal/Cultural: Social norms, roles, rituals, language, music and art that reflect and reinforce the belief that one social group is superior to another (Intentional and unintentional).
Here are some examples of each type:
· A high school teacher assumes all her students are interested in dating classmates of the “opposite” gender
· A teacher who prides himself on being fair to all his students calls on boys to answer questions three times more often than he calls on girls
· Someone uses racial slurs to refer to Black and Puerto Rican People
· A Parents asks to have her child moved out of a transgender teacher’s classroom
· Students celebrate Christmas in school, but not other winter religious holidays
· A town hall building does not have an entrance that is accessible to people using wheelchairs
· A state adopts a law prohibiting the legal recognition (marriage equality) of lesbian and gay relationships
· An employment agency steers Black People toward low-paying, domestic, or custodial positions
· Standards of beauty for women are based on white norms: blond, fine hair, blue eyes, and fair/light skin
· A Belief in individual merit and hard work being rewarded by economic success leads to an assumption that poor people are lazy and undeserving
· English is designated as the “official” language in the United States
· European Culture is assumed to be superior to other cultures
From: Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd Edition. P. 58-59.