Many of us think that oppression is government sitting on the head of its people. Or the colonialists that once came to take away African land and rule their subjects by force. Or Museveni and Mugabe who forever sit on citizens and deny them the voice to speak.
Others feel its about husbands who batter their wives and then its branded Gender Based Violence. Others feel its about mothers who lock their children in the house so that they may go to work and get some money for food.
Since we are mostly a group of humans that does not reflect a lot, we do not care to interrogate further what comprises oppression, or if we are part of oppression – knowingly or unknowingly.
I have seen many comments directed to Audrey Mbugua, the born man who converted to a woman. And I am sure I am touching on a thorny subject here, one that includes sexuality, morality and culture, and that is exactly why I choose to take it up. Because, it is in spheres marred with religion and culture where we see many of us elevating to a higher standing than others.
Today I saw comments about Audrey being referred to as “it” since his sex has been marred by confusion, whether male or female. And I wondered why anybody would go to such extends of ridiculing a fellow human being, equating them to a lifeless being – such as a tree or a stone on the road.
I figured that any time we have a higher standing – whether financial, technical, racial or even moral, than the other person, and we use that standing to knowingly or unknowingly ridicule, laugh at, call out, or shame others – that is oppression.
Oppression is in our eyes but we do not see it. It is in how we greet our subjects, junior staff and guards. It is inside those annual staff appraisals that are intended to milk the life juice out of an employee. It is in that thing you call minimum wage.
It happens everyday in church when religious folks, feeling quite deserved of glory and heavenly honor, call out sinners and direct them to hell. It is in cutting the clitoris of a young girl who will forever never enjoy orgasm.
It is in taking wild animals and making them pets, and taking their freedom away by putting them in cages and calling them “sweetie”. It is in castrating animals so that they do not breed, so that they may stroke our ego in a way that is more pleasurable to us.
If anything am doing takes dignity and freedom away from the others, that’s oppression. Oppression is everywhere; we just don’t care to stop and think about it.
Have an oppression-less day, wont you?