Introduction

illustration of a heart and encouraging phrases Each module page of this course will have a video, exercises, and a quiz to help you on your quest to become an ally. Please watch the following video before completing the exercises and quiz on this page.

Part 3 Video

As the video discussed, oppression hurts everyone.

Marginalization, exploitation, powerlessness, cultural domination, and violence are realities in the lives of members of oppressed groups. For dominant groups, the costs come in the form of guilt, defensiveness, fear, distancing from oppressed groups, and a broad lack of connection with and appreciation for diverse people.

Let’s take a look at how oppression specifically hurts other dominant groups.

Racial Prejudice vs Racism

What is racial prejudice?

Racial prejudiceNegative attitudes or feelings toward a person because of their membership to a particular racial group. These attitudes and feelings could include disdain, hatred, or simply feeling uncomfortable around or about the devalued racial group.

How is it different from racism?

Racism is a system of advantages and disadvantages based on race involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices, as well as the beliefs and actions of individuals. It refers to having the social power to systemically enforce prejudice. For instance, in the U.S., a White person can be racist toward a person from an underrepresented racial group because White people are members of the dominant racial group in terms of power and access to resources.

People from underrepresented racial groups can have racial prejudice towards White people. However, they cannot be racist towards White people because there are still systems in place privileging White people as the dominant race. Racism is the overarching system that supports the marginalization, exploitation, powerlessness, cultural domination, and violence disproportionately experienced by people from underrepresented racial groups.

How Racism Hurts Everyone

Here is a list of how racial oppression hurts White people as well. As you read this list, pay attention to your reactions to each statement. What emotions come up for you? How do these relate to your experiences?

Based on the work of Russ Vernon-Jones, in terms of race, White People are hurt by oppression because they are likely to:

  • Experience feeling cut off from people from underrepresented racial groups
  • Have stereotypes, prejudices, and negative thoughts about people from underrepresented racial groups
  • Experience pain when learning about the suffering experienced by people from underrepresented racial groups
  • Feel powerless to create a just society
  • Be afraid of being seen as racist
  • Have their integrity eroded when they fail to stand up to racism
  • Experience unjustified fears of people from underrepresented racial groups
  • Experience separation from other White people regarding issues of race
  • Have unfounded fears of what people from underrepresented racial groups would do to white people when they have the power to exact revenge for social injustice
  • Miss the chance to develop meaningful connections with diverse people, and learn all that can be learned from these connecting relationships

How Sexism Hurts Everyone

Just like racial oppression hurts White people, and homophobia hurts heterosexual people, sexism also hurts men, as well as women. Below are four ways that sexism specifically hurts men. As you read this list, pay attention to your reactions to each statement. What emotions come up for you? How do these relate to your experiences?

According to Erika Sanchez, sexism:

  • Causes men to be emotionally repressive: Men are discouraged from showing physical or emotional “weakness,” and a fear of being seen as weak stops many men from asking for help. Further, difficulty with talking about feelings makes it difficult to form deep emotional bonds.
  • Encourages aggression and violence: Men’s tendency towards domination and being in a defensive stance can make them unable to relax.
  • Perpetuates One Dimensional Representation: Men, especially men from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, are often portrayed in stereotypical ways in the media. Men are often portrayed as angry, violent, emotionally repressed, and dominating.
  • Damages Relationships: The perceptions that men have of women and sex are often harmful. Boys and young men are socialized through peer interactions, media, and so forth to have a strong sexual prowess, which leads to promiscuity and unsafe sex.

Now, please take the opportunity to reflect on the following questions about how Racism and Sexism hurt everyone:

  • What was it like to read these lists?
  • Are you surprised by anything presented here? How come?
  • How would you like these to be different?
  • In what ways would you like to be different?

Test Your Knowledge

Take this quiz to test your allyship knowledge on what you learned in this module.



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