Article: Oppression in Organizations

In our current society, oppressive dynamics are at play to some degree in almost any situation. This is not anyone’s personal fault. We have all been heavily influenced by society over many years to play roles of oppressor or oppressed – to take up more or less space, to have more or fewer expectations, to believe we are better than or worse than others, and so on. While we may work to build organizations and communities that are free of racism, sexism, adultism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and all other oppressions, it is very difficult to completely eliminate those dynamics from playing out, because we are all humans who bring with us our human difficulties. The skewed perspectives we have learned and the patterns of behavior we have absorbed have been so internalized and are so subconscious, it is nearly impossible to operate completely free of them (whether oppressed or oppressor) all of the time.

In Re-evaluation Counseling, we set up structures to illuminate and address these dynamics, and we use our emotional healing tools to work at removing the patterns related to oppression that we have absorbed. We know that we are not yet oppression-free, and we do not claim to be. We are evolving, learning, growing, and changing continuously. No organization or individual is completely free of oppressive dynamics. But we can watch for their impacts, interrupt them as they happen when possible, learn from our mistakes, repair any damage we have caused, and reach for even more liberated relationships with each other.

S.F.