VAW Social Change Resource Center
Tactics of Oppression and Challenging Privilege
All those who struggle against oppression must try to
discover the underlying causes of that oppression and
to separate these causes from the more superficial
symptoms. Jaggar,1983, p. 232
Violence against women is found in cultures that make sure that some people hold power over others. These cultures have lots of ways to justify why it’s all right to violate and oppress groups. Social change requires that we expose the nature and character of oppression(s). We want to understand how oppression is ingrained in our institutions, culture, and personal lives.
We encourage understanding of oppression:
what it is and how it works!
When we understand the ways we are oppressed, we also can understand how we are privileged and how we benefit from the suffering of others.
Jaggar, A.M. (1983). Feminist politics and human nature.
Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Allenheld.
Interconnections of Oppressions
Andrea Smith work focuses on the intersections of state, colonial, and gender violence.
Excerpt, 2005 (scroll down)
Suzanne Pharr links control, disempowerment, and inequality from a movement perspective
in this AEGIS article, pp. 35-37, 1986 (41).
What the public should know
Extensive manual from the National Resource Center includes articles, statistics, programs
and resources for domestic violence practitioners. Mary Allen, 2007
Use of Language/Vocabulary, pp. 12-14
The Intersection of Sexism and Homophobia pp. 17-21
Dynamics of Domestic Violence, pp. 24-28
Patricia Hill-Collins classic connecting oppressions in a matrix from which Black women
emerge as agents of knowledge. Must read for academics! Excerpt from Black Feminist
Thought, pp. 221-238, 1990.
Powerful resource: toolkit, articles, Speaker’s Bureau.
Andrea Smith challenge to develop analysis and organizing strategies that recognize relationships of race and gender. 2000
Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. Must read for
academics! Kimberle Crenshaw excerpt, 1991. (scroll down)
For Those with Privilege
Betsy Leondar-Wright uses a personal story to demonstrate the invisibility of privilege. 2004
What the public should know
Very accessible and powerful challenges for anyone with privilege.
1998, found at Students and Teachers Against Racism (STAR).
50 ways whites hold unearned privilege that they use daily even though it is invisible to them.
Classic by Peggy McIntosh, 1990. On this same web page is The Male Privilege Checklist by
B. Deutsch imitating McIntosh’s article. n.d.
Full of brief readings on class for group leaders and the public. Articulate, honest, insightful!
Betsy Leondar-Wright explores how the professional middle class fail to see their class
Andrea Smith defines a model of radical women of color organizing to eliminate oppression
“based on heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism”. 2006
Education exercise to demonstrate interconnections of power and control tactics among
oppressed groups. From In Our Best Interests: Radical Education for Women, DAIP,
Training materials include Checklist for Racism, "That's-Just-The-Way-It-Is"-Ism poster.
Resources for Organizing
Skill Building Tools
Exercise for individuals and groups to raise awareness of male privilege. Paul Kivel, n.d.
Exercise for individuals and groups to raise awareness of white privilege. Paul Kivel, n.d.
Exercise engages individuals and group in understanding impact of race on our everyday lives.
Paul Kivel adapted from Martin Cano, n.d.
15 questions those with privilege can use to challenge themselves.
Paul Kivel challenges the chart as binary and depoliticizing when systems change requires
strategies of resistance, alliance, and struggle. 2002
Social Change Resource Center © 2007, Afterwords, Inc.