Final Question #3

Please post your answer on a new page on your blog.

What social institutions oppress or limit oppression, and how are they perpetuated?

This question has given people trouble all year long. Here are some definitions that might be helpful:

INSTITUTION
1. important organization: a large organization that is influential in the community, e.g. a college, hospital, or bank
2. established practice: an established law, custom, or practice
(e.g., the institution of marriage)

OPPRESSION
dominate harshly: to subject a person or a people to a harsh or cruel form of domination

PERPETUATE
to make something continue, usually for a very long time

So, for example, it would be very easy to give an example of how some established practices (institutions) in the United States helped make a certain kind of domination continue for a long time. The institution of slavery, for example, made it possible for whites to dominate African-Americans, Native Americans, and others. But other institutions helped perpetuate that domination: courts (who made it illegal to help escaped slaves), schools (who refused to educate African-Americans), some churches (those who preached that it was immoral to steal others’ property, but silent on the fact that some of that property was other human beings), and so on.

Here are some other examples of institutions:
* schools
* churches
* militaries
* local governments
* international organizations (like the U.N., or the G20)
* family structure
* community structure

So my question is, in this class, how have we seen institutions either limit oppression, or perpetuate oppression?

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