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discrimination - opposition - racism - sexism
Oppression is the arbitrary and cruel exercise of power. While the term is usually used to describe wrongful acts of government, oppression is rarely limited solely to government action. Oppression is most commonly felt and expressed by a widespread, if unconscious, assumption that a certain class of people are inferior.
Oppression is often used to mean a certain group is being kept down by unjust use of force or authority and has been referred to as "systematic oppression". See: domination and imperialism.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the concept of Human Rights in general were designed to eradicate oppression by giving a clear articulation of what limits should be placed on the power of any entity to control an individual or group of people.
A hierarchy of oppression is a ranking or hierarchy of oppressions according to arbitrariness and cruelty or according to the negative effects on oppressed communities. Hierarchies of oppression are generally discredited though widespread and often unstated. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppression [Nov 2004]
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