This poster, with an illustration of people rowing a racing boat together, declares “Join the ANTI-Oppression Olympics – that’s where we all pull together!”
The phrase “Oppression Olympics” became popularized (first in BIPOC feminist circles) after a public conversation between Betita Martinez and Angela Davis in 1993. A few years after that, in her forward to Betita’s book, De Colores Means All of Us, Angela Davis writes that Betita Martinez “urges us not to engage in ‘Oppression Olympics’ [or create] a futile hierarchy of suffering, but, rather, to harness our rage at persisting injustices in order to strengthen our opposition to an increasingly complex system of domination, which weaves together racism, patriarchy, homophobia and global capitalist exploitation.”
Like the concept of “intersectionality,” introduced by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw in 1989, this way of looking at the world emphasizes that all oppression is interconnected and not a competition. My mother, Rosario Morales, was an active part of that movement current – then called ‘third world feminism’ – from the 1970s onward, challenging the racial and class politics of white women’s groups.
I created the “Anti-Oppression Olympics,” with knowledge of that history. Four decades of the non-profit system has encouraged communities to view each other as competitors for resources. The message of this piece is intended as an antidote.
Digital (Union Printed at RLM World Headquarters)
|| Democracy, Posters, Spirit & Wisdom
|| angela davis, anti-oppression, betita martinez, boat, bound together, cooperation, kimberle crenshaw, liberation, olympics, oppression, pull together, rowing, togetherness
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