In recent times, there have been many cries; globally and locally, against oppression in various forms; racial oppression, gender oppression, institutionalized oppression, and so on.
There’s been the Black Lives Matter movement on the foreign scene. Here in Nigeria, the #ENDSARScampaign has seen a series of mass protests against police brutality in the country and other forms of institutionalized oppression.
More often than not, when there are cries against oppression, it is usually a case of the government against the people or institutions versus the people. But it is high time we realized that it is the people against the people. What is seen at the top is usually a representation of what is at the bottom.
Leaders are elected from the larger population, and therefore if our crop of leaders exhibits certain traits, they are mirroring who we are. To solve the problem of oppression in our society, we must begin by examining ourselves; how do we behave when we are in positions of power or authority?
As a father, mother, or older sibling in your home, how do you treat the children in the house? Do people in your home fear you and dread your presence, or do you show respect for those you have authority over? How do you treat your domestic staff? Are you condescending and demeaning to them? How do you treat your subordinates at the place of work? In your community, do you consider some people less deserving of respect or other privileges simply because of their gender, social class, job, or tribe?
When we examine our interactions in the home, at work, and in other social settings, we see different forms of oppression at play. Husbands lord over their spouses and deny them certain privileges just because they can. The treatment of many domestic staff in Nigerian homes is generally poor. At workplaces, we have superiors who use their position to mistreat others.
Therefore, to effectively tackle the issue of oppression, we must begin with a mindset shift. We need to correct cultural, tribal biases that enable oppression. As always, the change you seek begins with you. You need to make decisive and conscious efforts to be fair to all. In addition to this, we should speak out against oppression, whether we are directly affected or not. We must speak out against injustice in our society.
Love is all I have,
Transformational Growth Catalyst