Well, as my first questioner, I welcome you, but I’m going to use your question in a way that might upset you, dear friend.
And that is to exact a little lesson in social justice. There is a difference between what you call oppression, you see, and what others have faced.
What you describe is what is better defined as domination, which is what happens to just about everyone in every society since time immemorial. We all face domination every day: being bullied, being turned down for opportunities, not having things designed in ways that enable us to navigate them.
Oppression is very specific, and is a word we should used rather carefully. It means, quite simply, having just about everything taken from you. Child soldiers in Rwanda who are forcibly installed in the Lord’s Resistance Army, and whose first task is to kill their own family members, are oppressed.
There are specific types of oppression, five, to be sure:
- Exploitation – “a steady process of the transfer of the results of the labor of one social group to benefit another” (p. 49).
- Marginalization – Described as being “…perhaps the most dangerous form oppression. A whole category of people is expelled from useful participation in social life and thus potentially subjected to severe material deprivation and even extermination” (p. 53).
- Powerlessness – “The powerless are those who lack authority or power… those over whom power is exercised without their exercising it; the powerless are situated so that they must take orders and rarely have the right to give them” (p. 56).
- Cultural imperialism – “To experience cultural imperialism means to experience how the dominant meanings of a society render the particular perspective of one’s own group invisible at the same time as they stereotype one’s group and mark it out as the Other” (pp. 58-59).
- Violence – “members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person” (p. 61). Beatings, rape, killings, intimidation, and harassment are some of the examples used to define violence.
You, however, have been dominated by a society designed for people who can see colors. So: everything is not taken from you, but something important has been. The world is not made to accomodate you, and yes: this is an important issue that affects the effectiveness of all things depending on color, and probably how important you feel to the world, which is not very, at times, I suspect.
As far as awareness, here is a tool that helps people who can see color to see like a color blind person, so that when they’re designing things they can be sensitive to this issue.
As far as awareness: it also up to people like yourself to work against this domination. When you can’t see something that you need to see or want to see, make it known. Make a noise. Ask for redesigns. Complain. Be the squeaky wheel. Especially in cases of domination, it is often the case that you have to start by advocating for yourself, methinks, before anyone else will.
I thank you for your question, friend.
THIS page i was weary of but im glad i gave it a chance. this is what social justice should be. commentary, discussion and valid reasoning and not anger, bullying and bile throwing.