Lizmary F. Michigan

Systematic Oppression

"They are expected to be content with what they have and trained to not question why they are faced with impossible circumstances, while others aren’t"

Dear Future President,

Oppression in itself is the direct relationship between the Oppressed and the Oppressor; one cannot exist without the other. This relationship consists of a constant struggle for identity and power. On the oppressor’s standpoint the ultimate objective is to always have the upper hand; the main tactic used is dehumanization.

In Hitler’s Germany, dehumanization was enforced in concentration camps, mainly by stripping the Jewish prisoners of their hair, personal belongings, and family. By using this method, it was easier for the Nazi’s to commit mass murder because the Jewish people were no longer viewed as humans but rather as animals. Many things contributed to the loss of human status of the Jewish people in Germany, and all of those reasons were backed up by a system of oppression.

What separates the U.S. from the cruel ways of Nazi Germany is the United States uses the tactic of dehumanization through a more psychological approach. By creating a negative image of people of color, especially Black men, through whitewashed media the U.S. has developed a mindset prejudice.  Black crime is covered more often than any other crime, yet the majority of crime is not done by African Americans in this country. According to a study by the FBI on people arrested by race, White people make up 6,214,197 arrests compared to 2,549,655 arrests of African Americans. Yet the media covers Black crime more often and uses words like “super predators” and “thugs” to promote negative preconception of people of color. Imagine the toll this has on the colored youth watching the news. What sense of identity will come from these demoralizing tactics?

History teaches us that during the most influential rights movements there are accomplices, that aided the cause but were not necessarily living the struggle. For example, the white men who supported the Civil Rights movements were supporters but not directly impacted. The issue occurs when these allies try to help a struggle that is not theirs but instead they are becoming the oppressor, by controlling the cause and silencing those who are fighting for their basic freedoms.

A portion of the system is designed to make people who are united oppose each other. The oppressed, who are brainwashed, cannot see their situation clearly, their perception is impaired. They are expected to be content with what they have, and trained to not question why they are faced with impossible circumstances while others aren’t. In the poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou she describes the situation of being oppressed as having your “wings clipped” and “feet tied.” While the “free bird” or the oppressor “leaps on the back of the wind” and “dares to claim the sky." Consider this: a person who does not know they’re oppressed is like a bird who does not know it is in a cage, but never questions why it can’t fly.

As the President, you have the opportunity and political power to make a difference. As a human being, look within yourself and remember the compassion for those who do not look like you and in turn do not enjoy the same privileges. As an ally to the movement of justice, I ask of you to not clip the wings of the oppressed and to uplift the American people. 

Allen Park High School

APHS Advanced Placement Language and Composition

Allen Park High School is located in Southeastern Michigan. AP Lang studies rhetoric. Additionally, students produce text to narrate, persuade, and inform.

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