When we spoke of bullets in the line, the subsequent conversation led to the identity of a trinity available at all events. Grab a cuppa and snuggle in for this week’s Saturday Evening Post.
The ego-driven oppressor is the person we would all love to believe we recognize immediately, as though each of them wore a uniform with appropriate insignia to undeniably show their self-allegiance. These people do not wear epaulets and an enormous “ME” badge sewn on their chest. They wear appropriate attire to our dinner parties, volunteer at our favorite causes and seem to show interest in every part of our lives.
The oppressed are also not dressed in costumes and chains befitting a slave auction. They are the people we encounter every day on the sidewalk in front of the office, at the drive-thru window and on the customer service line. The crushing of their spirits comes at the hands of the oppressors; however, if surveyed, the oppressed believe the oppressors have only altruism at heart. In their oppression, they have no concept how many others share their plight.
The observers outnumber both other groups, as in they are more plentiful than both other groups combined. The reasoning is quite simple: observers are third-party, oppressed and oppressor, or a combination thereof. Their role is to see the oppression and merely observe. Observation has a sidecar. Within it are avoidance of intervention, empathy with the oppressed, celebration with the oppressor, fear of being dragged into the mire, apathy, disdain for the perceived stupidity which allows the oppression, disinterest in the affairs of others, willful blindness to the hurt, indifference to suffering, resignation, assumption survival is a singular occurrence, exhaustion or some grouping of any of these.
The Real Question
Given placement in each group is predicated on one’s ability to recognize situations in a real relationship to others in the situation, why do the groups not change? To find the answer we have to know how people get into the groups in the first place and where we stand in relation to them.
These are the victims. Victims of circumstance. Victims of consequences, whether of their own making or of others’. Victims of ignorance. Victims of corporate ambition. Victims of maliciousness. Victims of hate. Victims of opportunity. Victims of apathy.
No one consciously seeks to be a victim, at least not the first time. After the first time, how the matter is approached by the observer is crucial. The oppressor found a measure of success and will actively refine the technique to ensure future successes. When the oppressed speaks to the observer, any short of full-disclosure truth is tantamount to assisting the oppressor.
No. It is not that simple. The oppressed often do not talk to anyone. Self-doubt is attendant to all abuse: emotional, financial, sexual, corporate, verbal, intellectual and physical. When the oppressed realize they have been victimized, they are unlikely to admit what the oppressor convinces them is personal failure.
Innately, we are all unlikely to admit our shortcomings. The coupling of our propensity to be our own worst critics and our equally fierce trust no one would lie to us, especially our oppressor, is the death knell for a viable judgment system. We trust blindly enough to dismiss others’ bad behavior instead of simply admitting we need information from more than one source. When one has our best interests at heart, one encourages us to seek more information to reinforce the truth.
The serving of ego is the oppressor’s only function. Every action, interaction and inaction promotes the oppressor’s inflated sense of self. Each success fuels the next attempt at proving the oppressor’s superiority over not only the oppressed but also everyone else, including both other oppressors and all observers.
The observer may believe the oppressor is filled with false bravado. Is it true? The oppressor stands unopposed, unthreatened, untouchable. No one breaks the delusion the oppressor is not fully and rightfully in control of all perceived as inferior.
Nearly every country has a law decreeing the crime of seeing a crime happen and failing to report it. In the cases where oppression is not criminal, should the law still apply at a strictly humane level? Think about the oppressor who see lack of observer action as endorsement. Think about the oppressed who see the lack of observer action as a vote of no confidence.
In a world filled to brimming with muckrakers and gossips, observers take the easy out of it is none of my business. Is it true? The oppressor who goes unchecked will seek new prey once the first is gutted and consumed. Does it become the observer’s business only when the oppressor chooses someone the observer values dearly?
We can view intervention as a monumental task if we only posit the scenario of rushing in, sword drawn, and slaying the oppressive dragon. In fact, that tack is often as demeaning as the initial oppression because it assumes the oppressed are unable to defend themselves.
When we view intervention as empowerment, we succeed. How simple is it to ask a question?
How do you feel about it?”
Buried within the trust which allows abuse to happen day after day is the knowledge abuse is wrong. Have we considered the oppressed may not know what it means to be a victim of abuse, what the symptoms of abuse are or how they are exhibiting them? If we explain the situation to them as though someone else were traversing the scene, would they come to the same conclusion we have?
In the end, observers need to ask themselves if they are willing to sleep well in the knowledge they had the power to turn on the light and make an abusive roach run for cover.
Have you been in one, two or all three of the O groups? What is another easy way to be an observer who disrupts the oppression, even corporately?
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