Oppression Olympics

Oppression Olympics, the Games we should not be playing 

Definition: Oppression Olympics is a term used when two or more groups compete to prove themselves more oppressed than each other. Contestants may include:

Women. People of color. People with disabilities. LGBTQIAP+ people

The Oppression Olympics are an one-upmanship dynamic that can arise within debates amongst people who adhere to the ideological values of identity politicsintersectionality and social privilege. They have been described as “verbal banter between different,  marginalized, groups who are trying to determine the weight of their many intersectionalities of oppression (race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability) to determine who has it the worst. We as a antiracist organizers must recognize that using the Oppression Olympics to determine who is truly oppressed contributes towards the maintenance of structures that prevent us from collectively working together to create a world where we can all flourish, it only serves to  build walls between us when we should be tearing them down.

We must direct our frustration towards structural  racism  and focus our rage on dismantling oppression systems so that we can all experience what it is like to be free truly in America

Scholarly Work on Oppression Olympics:

In her work Dialogical Epistemology – An Intersectional Resistance To The “Oppression Olympics”, Nira Yuval-Davis addresses the issue of Oppression Olympics and argues that categorical intersectionality provides a solution to this problem.

In her work Solidarity Politics for Millenials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics,Ange-Marie Hancock argues that the core causes for Oppression Olympics are the desire to one-up other professional victims, and blindness to the plights and disadvantages of other groups.

Examples of Oppressions and Differential Charts

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Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP
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