When the Oppressed Oppresses Others


For the past few decades, and especially since the rise of BLM in 2020, the world has shifted towards trying to make a diverse workplace and society. It has become so much of a priority for politicians, corporations, and the general media, that I’m afraid this movement is actually starting to show cracks. There are problems with the current “trend” to tackle inequality in pop culture that is only pushing people away from supporting activist groups like BLM and feminists, and I have to admit: I’ve grown to be one of these people.

The sole reason I say this is because of the minority portion of these groups that, instead of being peaceful or respectful about their ways of protesting, instead turn to hostility against the ones that are quote-on-quote “against them.” I know I’m not the first one to mention this and I’m sure that if you are reading this, you can understand my point of view and not think it is because I am against equality for the marginalized. What makes me frustrated is when members of these groups turn to marginalizing others, whether they realize it or not, as a means of gaining their equality.

In 2019, meteorologist in Rochester, NY, Jeremy Kappel was fired while he messed up saying the word “King” while talking about the weather on Martin Luther King Day. It is very easy for humans to confuse vowels with each other, and this was seen when Kappel said “c**n” instead of “King” on live TV. Not only was he fired, but he was also shamed by social media, politicians in Rochester, and the public. He made a mispronunciation. It was all an accident. I wish it was something people could laugh about, but instead it’s something people take so harshly.

There shouldn’t be an argument on whether Kappel meant to call Dr. King a c**n or not, it should just be both common sense and human courtesy to think the best of him. But, by definition of the word “oppression,” Kappel is being oppressed and receiving cruel punishment for a minor mistake. It worries me, too, because I don’t think the people speaking out against him realize how oppressive they are towards him, which is hypocrisy at its worst.

The most infuriating part is that I have respected activist groups like BLM, gay and trans rights movements, and feminists for calling out inequality in the world, but they do not acknowledge oppression they cause, such as that towards Kappel. I know it’s not much of these groups, but the failure to call out their own mistakes makes me worried about the future of activism.

Cover image from the Seattle Times.