Hudson 1 Amiya Hudson Geiselman English IV, 6th Hour 23 February 2017 The Subtle Oppression In modern times, the government and society are oppressive in more subtle ways than in the past. The novel 1984 written by George Orwell demonstrates just how that kind of oppressive society can form. In 1984 a hierarchical dictatorship exists, in the Inner Party, (the High) controls the Proles and Outer Party., which is the Low and Middle class. In this world, The Inner Party, or simply “the Party” constantly monitor its civilians, in order to identify members guilty of thought-crimes, which are traitorous thoughts that do not reflect the views of the Party. Winston, the main character in 1984 is a thought-criminal that opposes the way the Party manipulates, and falsifies information without allowing contradictory elements to disprove their claims to exist. This creates an environment where people have to worry about even their own children turning them over to the government. Later on in the novel, Winston eventually gets caught, and is brainwashed and “cured” by an Inner Party member named O’Brien. Similar to Winston, blacks live in an oppressive society that manipulates them through use of symbolism, but has maintained a system that keeps them as a minority, and has prevented them from learning their history. Many people may think that due to the Civil Rights Movement that America has progressed as a nation, but it really just uses the incorporation of African Americans into society as a tool to mask the underlying ways blacks are oppressed. The political appointment of African
Hudson 2 American figures such as Condoleezza Rice and former President Barack Obama have become national representations of blacks overcoming obstacles and being empowered in America. According to the author of the textbook African American Politics , Dr. Kendra A. King: “political symbolism can be an effective means of appeasing the masses as well as fostering inclusion and diversity… to maintain institutional norms and stability”(25). Thus, by having political figures such as Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama as well as the many celebrities that participate in politics, it can easily be misconstrued that discrimination and oppression is a thing of the past. However, “...the symbolic status of blacks...does not translate into black substantive representation...[or] into actual (substantive) political, economic and sociocultural incorporation and empowerment in America”(King 25). Yes, of course things like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and LBJ’s affirmative action laws have been passed, but they only address a portion of the issues African Americans are faced with. Problems such as police brutality, racial profiling, prejudice, and favoritism towards whites have been issues blacks gave complained about for years, and have even went to courts about these issues. However, despite the amount of
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