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When people are oppressed they can come to believe (internalize) the stereotypes, negativity, and myths about their identity communicated by the dominant group; at times even embracing the oppressive treatment as being normal, deserved, or inevitable. If an oppressed person begins to believe the inferiority imposed upon them by the dominant they have internalized that oppression. In recent years, there has been a shift away from referring to oppression as “internalized” because it places the blame of oppression on the marginalized individual or group rather than the dominant group.
Psychologist, Dr. Kira Banks has sparked our interest in thinking about oppression as being appropriated rather than internalized. This perspective helps us see internalized oppression NOT as an internal process but rather an external one. Appropriation takes place when someone adopts or borrows something from another culture or group. Thinking about oppression as being appropriated presents those experiencing oppression with a choice. Recognizing that we have a choice gives us power! Rather than just accepting the views of the dominant group, appropriation presents us with the opportunity to decide if we want to adopt or take on the ideas or expectations of the dominant group as being representative of our personal identities, abilities, or experiences.Continue reading “Internalized Oppression vs. Appropriated Oppression“