Everyone has experienced some sort of oppression at one point in their lives. Whether it’s something being used against you due to your race, language, religion, sexuality, etc.
What is oppression?
Oppression is an unjust, cruel or even a negative way to treat somebody or something.
For example: While white people are seen as very privileged in society; but they can also be oppressed for certain things. One of those things can be because they are gay/lesbian/bi/etc. Sexuality is a very touchy subject because it seen as the devil’s work. Another example of oppression can be the unjust connotation that all Muslim people are terrorists. Oppression can go on and on and on.
As a society we are taught that using oppressive language is okay. That it won’t hurt anybody, even though it’s the complete opposite. So, here are a few terms that you should get rid of in your vocabulary!
Mayo– While yes, I have used this as a way to describe white people before as a joke; I never knew that until recently that the word Mayo derives from an Mexican Indigenous tribe of people living in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa. Using this term as a negative slur against whites; The Mayo people can also take offence to the term being loosely thrown around.
Although, I am not too sure if I can use this term freely since I was born in Mexico. (I’ll keep you updated on that.)
Retarted– Mental disability is a low than average intelligence or lack of mental ability skills that are useful for day-to-day living. Many children and even adults suffer from Intellectual Disability which in many cases; they get ridiculed and bullied for. Someone’s mental disability is not a choice and using the word “retarded” as an adjective to describe something that’s “dumb” or “unable to work” is a form of Ableism.
Gay– This one seems to be a popular term for the kids. Have you ever overheard a friend say, “Oh man! That’s so gay”? Me too. This is a touchy subject for those of this sexuality. Again, someone’s personal choice should not be used as an adjective. Believe it or not; it is a form of Homophobia. But you? Homophobic? I know what you’re going to say, “My best friend is gay!!! So, I can say the word GAY.” Newsflash. You can’t. Not until you, yourself are a person of homosexuality; you do not have the right to use oppressive language.
OCD/Depression/Or Any Kind of Mental Illness- People who live with mental health (including myself) are surrounded by this negative cloud of stigma surrounding them. Using a mental illness to describe a “bad day” and saying, “Today was boring. It was depressing”, is not OK. When people use mental health as an adjective to describe mainly anything; it kind of says, “Mental health doesn’t exist until I say it does.” In society, we are told to be ashamed of our personal problems and not talk about it BUT the moment someone who doesn’t experience or suffer from it says anything remotely concerning mental health and everyone turns heads and says, “OH NO ARE YOU OKAY?!?” People with depression can really be triggered by the smallest things, and jokingly throwing around the term “depressed” can make less of their struggle. Same thing goes with loosely throwing the word OCD around.
Rape– This one really grinds my gears. Ever heard someone say, “Man, I totally raped that test!” or “We totally raped them in COD!”? Rape culture is so among us to the point where if a woman or a man was raped; the first thing that us, as a society ask is, “Well…what were you wearing?” or “It’s not considered rape if you’re a man. Man up. Guys are supposed to like sex.” Let’s just get one thing straight: RAPE IS NOT SEX. SEX IS CONSENSUAL. RAPE IS NOT.
I’m so tired of hearing people blame the victim for being sexually assaulted. Why are you SO concerned about what they are wearing or if they were drunk instead of being concerned that why did this sexual violator do this to them? Why are you adding to rape culture when children, women and even men get sexually assaulted every day? WHY ARE YOU NOT PISSED OFF?
You can view the statistics of sexual assault and their perpetrators HERE.
I hope you learned something today! Try using this new information to help educate yourself and those around you. Only we can make a difference if we try.
*If I missed any other terms, I would love to know which ones.*