These are my thoughts about the different stages that individuals might pass through in response to being oppressed. I don’t think everyone necessarily goes through each stage. Some people leap passed a stage. Other people get stuck at a stage and never move beyond it. Regrettably, it seems that only a few seem to make it to the final stage.
A shared understanding of how oppression affects people similarly in spite of differences in the cause of the oppression can increase understanding and support for all.
STAGES THROUGH OPPRESSION
June 13, 2004
This poem was written when I was relatively new to volunteering with the Black Prisoners’ Caucus at Washington State Reformatory. It came out of my reaction to the part of prison culture where the men are forced to stuff emotions in order to be “tough” all the time – just to survive. I understood why that was but still, I also knew that it takes great strength to do some of the things they considered to be “soft” and those things are part of being human. I was sad to see them cut off from their own humanity. Read More…