We Need to Stop the ‘Oppression Olympics'

Have you ever found yourself in a moment of weakness, where all you want to do is spill out all the things that are going wrong in your life? I, for sure, have. And to be frank, sometimes it feels really good to just ‘get it out’. That being said, there are also times when the things I’m dealing with aren’t up to par with what others are dealing with…

And that’s what we call the 'Opression Olympics'. These are the special type of Olympics that some people engage with every day. It’s when people compete to prove themselves as being more oppressed than the other, or to say ‘they have it worse’. There’s a major problem with this. 

Before you know it, people’s problems and issues are being completely ignored, and somehow conversations have turned into competitions of who has it harder. This isn’t constructive at all.

The truth is that we are all oppressed, exploited, and discriminated against in a lot of different ways. It’s important to remember that people have their own intersectionality, or set of oppressions based on the society that we live in today. For that reason, it’s so important to realize that everyone is coming from their own place, their own experiences, and that people have different emotions and reactions—what you feel and think isn’t what someone else feels and thinks; you should not be competing in your oppressions and hardships.

When you make personal attacks, such as: “I have it way worse than you”, or “You don’t know what pain is”, you’re saying that what they have to say is unimportant and what you have to say is more important. You’re discounting the full range of their experiences and placing your struggle ahead of their own.

As soon as we partake in the Oppression Olympics, we’re failing at being good and productive listeners, and good and productive people. Think about it: someone is in a vulnerable position, and they are pouring their heart out to you…why would someone tell them that their problems aren’t worth it? Personally, I think that it’s a natural part of the way that we work—as humans, we are constantly wanting to be validated, wanting to win, and wanting to be seen as hardworking individuals that push through and succeed. We can’t always do that, though, and we shouldn’t either.

When the Oppression Olympics takes place with your friends, family, classmates, etc., it means that people aren’t being cared for in the way that they need to be. In a time where people might be feeling really down, oppressed, or hurt, we need to make sure that we’re taking care of each other, listening, asking for help when we need it, and not belittling each other.

Why have the Oppression Olympics when you can have the Progressive Olympics? 


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