• GUILT AND SHAME: Privileged group members are likely to experience this when they recognize that oppression exists, how they unknowingly contribute, and the unfair advantages they receive.  ANGER, SADNESS, HELPLESSNESS: Usually experienced when realizing the pervasiveness of oppression at an institutional level and perceiving an inability or powerlessness to eliminate oppression. FEAR: Sense of danger or lack of safety; fear of losing privileges. APATHY: Lack of interest or resistance to understanding oppression.

  • DENIAL OF POWER/PRIVILEGE: Makes it difficult for privileged group members to empathize with oppressed groups and allows privileged groups to think that they function in good conscience; lack of knowledge of others; distorted perceptions of self, others, and reality.  LOW EMPATHY: Lack of awareness, connection, or understanding with/of those with oppressed social identities; diminishes the humanity of oppressed groups and of their own. DEFENSIVENESS: When privileged group members try to deny the knowledge that other groups are oppressed and that they are in part responsible.

  • SELF-SEGREGATION: Fearful avoidance of oppressed groups or diversity activities/experiences. Limited interpersonal relationships across different groups. Mistreating others who are different; limited opportunities for cultural enrichment and a sense of interconnectedness with other human beings.

    In general, oppression limits the capacity for growth and development of the individual and of societies with limited and rigid perspectives for solving problems to facilitate survival.