Systematic mistreatment of particular individuals. Oppression is not just an isolated incident. Rather, it is a complex system of power, sustained and pervasive beliefs, laws or policies, behaviors, and feelings. In the U.S., there are many forms of often interlocking oppressions: racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, ableism, etc. Because we possess many layers to our identities, we may experience oppression in one or some of our identities, and privilege in others.


Adapted from UMass Medical and UMassMemorial Health Care’s Diversity + Inclusion, Diversity Toolkit and Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center