Racial Oppression in Literature




Racial Oppression in Literature

The notion of oppression has been found recurrently in sociological and historical texts, especially in respect to its compartmentalization of social class, race, gender, or sexual orientation. In fact, literature spanning over decades possesses significant evidence of racial oppression. Furthermore, such narratives and literary composition consistently utilize the aspect of racial oppression as a way of understanding or even uncovering subtle forms of subjugation that take place within the individual and societal level. Nonetheless, whether by race, gender or by sexual inclination, it is evident that oppression largely arises out of the repression of persons by those that possess power. While defined constructs such as gender, sexual orientation, or class may have been implemented in order to allow objective discourses in the context of concerns and resolutions, it is impossible to avert the extent to which subjugation by race has become a key indicator and descriptive facet of the dimensions that constitute oppression.

Oppression is defined commonly in terms of a minority group undergoing subjugation under an overriding group. Hence, since dominant groups can exist in all social forms, including economic, political, and cultural forms, oppression may be based on ethnicity, sexual predisposition, nationality or political leanings, religion, gender, or race. In this particular context, the discourse is centered on the notion of racial oppression, which involves the subjugation of racial minorities by dominant racial groups. The study of discrimination by race has unveiled the measures that overriding factions utilize in order to recurrently repress racial minorities. For instance, studies indicate that employers regularly utilize stereotypical perspectives of African Americans to gauge them negatively in terms of skills contrary to white employees (Bobo and Fox 321). In addition to this, employers implement prejudicial screening and recruitment processes during hiring further disadvantaging the employment of the respective minority group (Bobo and Fox 321).

The application of stereotypical aspects in areas such as employment is an illustration of the extent to which racial oppression recurs. In fact, an extension of this form of subjugation is further evidenced by the discrimination that women of color undergo, especially in respect to the treatment imposed on them by white students. Even though several studies illustrate the negative effects of oppressive classroom settings, little is known about the implications of such settings on teaching effectiveness (Pittman 183). However, Pittman’s study indicates that women of color undergo gendered racism especially when they interact with Caucasian male students (Pittman 187). The respective piece of literature entails the degree to which subjugation by race recurs by integrating with other forms of repression such as gender oppression for this sole objective. Consequently, it is impossible to refute the impact of race-based notions, especially on the construction of other forms of subjugation.

Notions based on race and constructs such as gender have proven significant in the development of racial oppression. This is also illustrated by the implications of internalized racial oppression, whereby members of an oppressed group apply typecasts developed regarding them hence affecting their progress negatively (Pyke 552). Even though the dominant groups may be responsible for the development of such stereotypes, racial oppression may take place subtly on an internal level as oppressed persons imprison themselves on basis of racist ideologies (Pyke 552). This aspect of subjugation is an example of the way racial oppression manages to occur socially and individually. To this end, racial oppression provides a structural platform that recurrently develops or facilitates the occurrence of other forms of subjugation such as gendered racism and internalized racial discrimination.

Works Cited

Bobo, Lawrence D., and Cybelle Fox. “Race, Racism, and Discrimination: Bridging Problems, Methods, and Theory in Social Psychological Research.” Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 4, 2003, pp. 319-332.

Pittman, Chavella T. “Race and Gender Oppression in the Classroom: The Experiences of Women Faculty of Color with White Male Students.” Teaching Sociology, vol. 38, no. 3, 2010, pp. 183-196.

Pyke, Karen D. “What is Internalized Racial Oppression and Why Don’t We Study It? Acknowledging Racism’s Hidden Injuries.” Sociological Perspectives, vol. 53, no. 4, 2010, pp. 551-572.

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