Equity Journey Month Seven - March


Month 7: Privilege: Interrupting Oppression and "Isms"

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Did you know? The book Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement was published by Facing History and Ourselves. This book focuses on a time in the early 1900s when many people believed that some "races", classes, and individuals were superior to others. They used a new branch of scientific inquiry known as eugenics to justify their prejudices and advocate programs and policies aimed at solving the nation's problems by ridding society of "inferior racial traits". The Eugenics Movement still has a significant impact on the implicit biases in our society today.

What is Oppression and the "Isms"?

Oppression can be defined as "unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power." In regards to social behavior, oppression can occur when a person in power or group in power controls the less powerful in cruel and unfair ways. Racism, sexism, ageism, classism, and heterosexism are examples of forms of oppression. The Eugenics Movement is another example of oppression within our history. Recognizing the oppressions that have occurred, and are continuing to occur, and recognizing how they may still be impacting individuals today allows us to better understand ourselves, our students, and our community.

Resources for Learning:

Educator's Corner - Activities to Consider:

  1. Individually or within your building teams, read the article 4 I's of Oppression. How do each of the identified oppressions impact our students?
  2. Individually or within your building teams, consider reading the article Myth of Meritocracy. How might you adjust your interactions with students based on this information?
  3. Individually or within building teams, watch the video where Derald Wing Sue explains microaggressions in more detail. Have a discussion around why it's the unconscious/implicit biases that cause the most damage. What can we do to decrease the damage for students?
  4. Review the Microaggressions List. How have the examples impacted staff and/or students? Consider having a discussion around whether or not we, as educators, may be committing microaggressions unintentionally.
  5. Within building teams, consider working through the Equity Scenarios.