In striving for perfection for others, we lose ourselves. We lose understanding and insight into our own needs and wants. Unfortunately, this is what is expected. We as young people are expected to continue on this path for the rest of our lives. To believe without questioning, to listen without speaking and unfortunately to think without thinking. Our innate ability and need to be different, to instigate change is expected to fizzle out. We are expected to grow without a spark of originality, turned into mindless robots that need to be told what to think, how to act and how to perceive.
And honestly, if we weren’t molded to become zombies, how else would our government control us? Without these “guidelines” we would be lost, and uncivilized.
There needs to be regulation on thought.
Because the ability to think for ourselves is the biggest weapon of mass destruction that we possess.
Without suppression and oppression of our minds, chaos would ensue.
What is oppression?
Is it just the dictionary definition of:
“the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel or unjust manner.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/oppression)
No. It isn’t.
This control of our minds, our behavior and our perceptions of beauty, intelligence, religion, no matter how subtle, is oppression. Oppression isn’t just the physical act of suppressing a group of people with fear and violence. Nor is oppression only prevalent in societies “less-developed” than our own. In fact, American society is probably the most oppressive of them all. Our government tries to be subtle about it’s oppression on its citizens. It doesn’t blatantly express what it wants us to think or even how it wants us to perceive certain situations. For example, the media is focused on Kim Kardashian's failed wedding as opposed to the realities of the Iraq War and Whitney Houston’s death is given more importance than the plethora of Palestinians being murdered in Palestine.
In our last meeting, we spent I would guess a good 20 minutes on this topic. We not only discussed the oppressive nature of the government and schooling systems, but we tied it into self-perception.
A question was posed by either Ameerah, or one of the fellows.
I can’t recall the exact question, but from what I remember, it went something like this.
Do the perceptions that others have of us create an obstacle for us to accomplish what we need to in life and otherwise?
We all concluded that in a way, these perceptions, and therefore expectation of our behaviors and beliefs, do create obstacles for us. At the same time, these perceptions can only affect us if we let them. We can rise above, and think for ourselves. Perceive ourselves in whichever way we think is fit. And in turn become the amazing ( or not so amazing) individuals that we were fated to become.
Oppression lies in the hands of the oppressor.
Once we identify our oppressor(s), we have the power to change our views, and behavior.
“To answer oppression with appropriate resistance requires knowledge of two kinds: in the first place, self-knowledge by the victim, which means awareness that oppression exists, an awareness that the victim has fallen from a great height of glory or promise into the present depths; secondly, the victim must know who the enemy is. He must know his oppressor's real name, not an alias, a pseudonym, or a nom de plume!” - Chinua Achebe