Oppression Quotes

Quotes tagged as "oppression" (showing 1-30 of 522)
Nelson Mandela
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
Nelson Mandela

Anne Bradstreet
“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.”
Anne Bradstreet

Karl Marx
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
Karl Marx

Carl Sagan
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Veronica Roth
“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
Veronica Roth, Insurgent

J.K. Rowling
“Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Robert F. Kennedy
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Robert F. Kennedy

Alan Moore
“Since mankind's dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We've seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Frederick Douglass
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Frederick Douglass

George Orwell
“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”
George Orwell, 1984

James Madison
“The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
James Madison

Audre Lorde
“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Karl Marx
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

Paulo Freire
“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people--they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Madeleine L'Engle
“Because to take away a man's freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.”
Madeline L'Engle

Assata Shakur
“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

Malcolm X
“I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin...”
Malcolm X

Aung San Suu Kyi
“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

Aung San Suu Kyi
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

Booker T. Washington
“You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.”
Booker T. Washington

Audre Lorde
“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Gore Vidal
“The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.”
Gore Vidal

بلال فضل
“لم يعد يدهشني الظلم ولا الغباء ولا الخوف ولا العناد ولا الجحود ولكن سأبقى دائمًا مندهشًا أمام قدرة الإنسان الفريدة على النسيان. آفة حارتنا.”
بلال فضل

Paulo Freire
“Looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

James Madison
“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.”
James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison Volume 3

Marjane Satrapi
“When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression.”
Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis

Malcolm X
“And when I speak, I don't speak as a Democrat. Or a Republican. Nor an American. I speak as a victim of America's so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy - all we've seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don't see any American dream. We've experienced only the American nightmare.”
Malcolm X

Fidel Castro
“The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.”
Fidel Castro

Allen Ginsberg
“What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

- Howl
Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems

Toni Morrison
“If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.”
Toni Morrison

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