Quick Thoughts on Oppressor Reflexes

reflexPeople from oppressor groups develop reflexive ways of reacting to any and all challenges emanating from oppressed groups.

These oppressor reflexes can both express and reinforce the dominant position of the oppressor, though not necessarily to equal degrees.

Silence and meaningless agreement as much as noise and constant disagreement all can constitute oppressor reflexes.

Under neocolonialism, oppressor reflexes can be harnessed by all “sides” in a conflict.

Reflexive action will be determined by underlying structure (thus the “reflexive” element). Certain structures will tend to produce points of polarization around particular questions, which act as lightning rods.

The tendencies towards polarization which inhere in these lighting rod questions, are further encouraged by the fragmentary nature of communication, so that different aspects of opposing positions can be patched together into cohesive if not coherent escalatory positions, despite no one person necessarily holding those positions. And so we escalate.

Reflexes can both express and reinforce the determining nature of the underlying structure, though not necessarily to equal degrees.

Oppressor reflexes do not depend on the initial challenge to members of oppressor groups being “correct” or “incorrect”. Oppressor reflexes are conditional upon the underlying (oppressive) structure, not on the perspicacity or lack thereof of whomever is challenging them.

Where an initial position holds anti-liberatory politics, but provokes an oppressor reflex against these anti-liberatory politics, the reflexive expression (reflecting the underlying structure) of things will at times override the content. Anti-liberatory content can then be conveyed into the future as the content of formally liberatory struggles.

Acting non-reflexively is key.


K. KersplebedebK. KersplebedebK. Kersplebedeb

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