Your oppressor dictates & controls you; your equal will celebrate your freedom


Characteristics of an oppressive regime - “culture of silence”

·        define and control identities, roles,  and “silence” the people through isolated living locations and programed education

·        voices and concerns of the oppressed are “unheard” and unattended by the dominant members of society

·        stereotypical thinking; racism and oppression go hand in hand.

·        dissention is not tolerated; punishments are severe




Oppression by Force - reduced self-determination

·        environment of poor living conditions, lack of adequate food and healthcare, restricted mobility detracting from physical or psychological well-being

·        subjected to or in fear of rape, assault,  ridicule or other behaviors resulting in low self-efficacy

Oppression by Deprivation – neglect or separation

·        deprivation of loved ones, respect, or dignity (neglect)

·        deprivation of love, care, support, or basic material needs such as food, shelter, and clothing (neglect)

·        deprivation of children, parents, friends, childhood (due to forced labor) or freedoms (dignity),

Types of Oppression – overt, covert or mixed forms ofoppression

·        threatens or ruins a person’s mental or physical health, well-being, or coping ability

·        creates a major source of psychological problems and leads to depression, anxiety, and some personality disorders




As an individual within the dominant group

·        Lack empathy and are oblivious  and callous to the oppressed group except when exercising manipulation

·        Exhibit prejudice and lack of compassion

·        Exercise cruelty without remorse

·        Demonstrate an exaggerated sense of entitlement  

As a dominant group

·        All of the above, and –

·        Power, wealth, and status concentrated in a small elite group

·        Manipulative, authoritarian, and lack a social conscience

·        Expect conformity of the oppressed group above all else



*Full article located on the “Oppression” tab on PTID. The Power of Perception:Toward a Model of Cultural Oppression and Liberation, Fred J. Hanna, William B.Talley, and Mary H. Guindon; Journal of Counseling & Development • Fall2000 • Volume 78


Fred J. Hanna is a professor, and Mary H. Guindon is an assistant professor, both in the Department of Counseling and Human Services at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. William B. Talley is the director of the Institute for Social and Rehabilitation Services at Assumption College, Worcester,Massachusetts. Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to Fred J.Hanna, Department of Counseling and Human Services, 105 Whitehead Hall, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218 (email: