Oppression is a widespread and systematic pattern of prejudice and discrimination. It refers to institutional practices that result in the systematic exclusion or promotion of particular groups of individuals. This results in barriers to equitable opportunities for members of marginalized groups.

OPPRESSED GROUPS EXAMPLES

 

SOCIAL IDENTITIES

  

OPPRESSED

  

Race   Asian, Black, Native American Indian  
Ethnicity   Latinx, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander  
Gender   Women, Transgender, Genderqueer  
Sexual Orientation   LGB, Queer  
Ability Status   People with disabilities (physical, cognitive, and/or emotional)  
Social Class   Lower-Class, Poor, Working Class  
Worldview (religion, spirituality, and other values)   Muslim, Jewish, Atheist 
Nationality   Undocumented People, Immigrant  
Language   Spanish, Arab 
Education  Having less than a high school diploma 

 

    Members of oppressed communities are likely to face increased rates of mental health concerns. In psychology, this is referred to as Minority Stress. Another related mental health outcome is Internalized Oppression, which is when members of oppressed groups accept and assume the negative messages they receive about their social identity groups. For example, people from oppressed sexual and gender identities may have difficulty accepting themselves. This can lead to increased psychological distress (e.g., depression); difficulties in the coming out process; decreased life, relationship, and career satisfaction; and increased rates of suicidality. These are the result of living in a society where oppressed communities face discrimination on interpersonal levels and in social institutions, like education, housing, and healthcare.



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