Social Question

josie's avatar

Are you a member of an "oppressed minority"?

Asked by josie (28695points) August 26th, 2010

I was at a party the other night and some guy was talking about oppressed minorities. I got curious and did a Google search using the word oppressed minorities. Here are the first few that came up, but the truth is there were hundreds of different links to all sorts of “groups” that regard themselves as oppressed minorities.
It seems to me that if you put yourself in any group, then divide the group further by increasingly more specific distinguishing characteristics, anybody will eventually become a minority. Then if you figure in that lots of people these days consider themselves to be victims of something, even if it is nothing more than fast food or hot coffee, then anybody could begin to feel oppressed. Sometimes I feel oppressed as a taxpayer, but only 47% of Americans pay no Federal Income Tax, so I am not a minority-yet.
Anyway, has it finally gotten to the point where anybody who wants to be can be regarded as an oppressed minority? And if so, why do people seem to be so proud of it. I would hate the label myself, since I do not want to be anybody’s “victim” and would do anything legal to avoid being regarded as such.
Do you regard yourself as an oppressed minority?

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63 Answers

syz's avatar

No. I suppose I could, living with a same sex partner, but somehow, that seems like I’m claiming to be a victim. I prefer to consider myself part of society as a whole, and fight for my rights when need be.

Trillian's avatar

Hell fuckin’ no.

Austinlad's avatar

I’ve never felt part of an oppressed minority. In fact, I’ve never been aware of feeling part of any minority. Other than being one of the oldest, if not the oldest, employees at my company and the only person in my neighborhood who displays a menorah in my window rather than Christmas lights, I feel neither oppressed, repressed or depressed. Although my shirts do look unpressed..

Cruiser's avatar

Yes and damn proud to be a conservative on Fluther!! XD

Seek's avatar

There are, indeed, very few people that don’t fall into a “minority” in this country. And in that case, they’d be in the minority for not being in any minorities.

However, to answer the question,

I am an atheist. (considerably less than 12%, since that number includes agnostics)


From Wiki

In the United States, seven state constitutions officially include religious tests that would effectively prevent atheists from holding public office

Michael Newdow challenged inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the United States Pledge of Allegiance on behalf of his daughter, claiming that the phrase was discriminatory against non-theists.[39] He won the case at an initial stage, but the Supreme Court dismissed his claim, ruling that Newdow did not have standing to bring his case, thus disposing of the case without ruling on the constitutionality of the pledge (He was basically ignored, though the claim was and is valid.)

the Boy Scouts of America does not allow atheists as members

Atheists note that few politicians have been willing to identify as non-theists, since until recently such revelations would have been “political suicide, and welcomed Democratic California Representative Pete Stark’s 2007 decision to come out as the first openly nontheistic member of Congress. In 2009, City Councilman Cecil Bothwell of Asheville, North Carolina was called “unworthy of his seat” because of his open atheism. Indeed, several polls have shown that about 50 percent of Americans would not vote for a well-qualified atheist for president. A 2006 study found that 40% of respondents characterized atheists as a group that did “not at all agree with my vision of American society”, and that 48% would not want their child to marry an atheist. In both studies, percentages of disapproval of atheists were above those for Muslims, African-Americans and homosexuals.

When asked by atheistic journalist Robert Sherman about the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists, Sherman reports that George H.W. Bush answered “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”


Now, do I feel like a “victim”? Hell no.

However, I will champion the cause for the “freedom from religion” to the ends of the earth, if I have to.

josie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I am a member of the same minority. But that is only half the equation. I do not feel the scourge of oppression. Do you? Even failing to get elected to office would not be, in and of itself, a form of oppression. Or is it?

CMaz's avatar

Yes I am.

Trillian's avatar

Honestly, if I follow the links, I’ll roll my eyes and get arrested. Here is a man truly being repressed.

Sarcasm's avatar

According to a Gallup poll in 2008, 53% of Americans wouldn’t vote for my demographic to be President.
The last time African-Americans got this low of acceptance in that poll was in 1958.
There are 6 states that prohibit my kind from holding public office (Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas).
In 2003, American Mosaic Project Survey discovered that 39.6% of Americans felt that my kind don’t agree with their “vision for American society” (Comparatively, 26.3% felt Muslims didn’t, and 13.5% felt Conservative Christians didn’t”). 47.6% of Americans don’t approve of their children marrying my demographic.

But I don’t have to worry about being hosed down by Police officers. I don’t have to worry about being pulled over for looking suspicious every time I go out for a drive.
I won’t get picked out over other people for “random searches” at airports, and I don’t worry about crossing the border to/from Mexico.
My demographic makes up ~1% of the Prison population.
A vast majority of the scientific population are my kind.

So I’m not really sure if Atheists are an oppressed minority. Certainly an under-appreciated one, though.

Seek's avatar

@josie Yes.

But on a personal level, moreso than on a national level. Yes, Christmas season is annoying as fuck with people barking about “keeping Christ in Christmas” or adamantly returning “Merry Christ mas” when I say “Happy holidays”, but whatever. I can get over that.

However, it took almost two years to admit to my husband that I didn’t believe in God (we met in church). And when I did “come out”, he said “Don’t say that, of course you believe in god. Let’s not talk about this anymore.”

Almost a year later I finally got the balls to bring home “The God Delusion”. He’s having a rough time dealing with it, but at least he’s not whining anymore.

No one else in my family knows. Even the “heathen” Christians on my mother’s side would have a conniption. “If there is no god, where did your grandfather go when he died?” That sort of thing, in effort to guilt-trip me into religion again. They’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again.

My best friend is Christian, and she treats my nonreligious state as one might talk about a chronic disease. “I’m sorry for asking, but you don’t… pray? like ever?” No. I prefer to put things in motion myself. “But you don’t even try to… y’know… put it out into the universe what you want?”

There’s nothing better than being spoken to like I’m the crazy one for not talking to the Great Fairy in the Sky.

It’s strange, not being able to be completely honest about who you are, and what you believe. I’ve never felt that before.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Call it whatever you like, but I do feel like I am sometimes, as an atheist. @Seek_Kolinahr put it well – it’s really about not being able to be completely honest about who you are.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No need to put quotations marks around it.

josie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr @TheOnlyNeffie I guess I never had a problem admitting it. Then again, I am probably older than you, and everybody who knows me already knows that about me. I still say Merry Christmas, since everybody I know celebrates it, whatever they are. There is a secular element to Christmas that makes it pretty inclusive. The rest is just what it is.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@josie I won’t lie if someone asks, but I don’t usually go around telling everyone. People treat you like crap sometimes when they find out you don’t believe in god.

I hide it from my grandmother, though. :) I don’t want to break her heart.

holden's avatar

What about left-handed people? We’re a minority, and in the past we were forced to learn to write with the right hand, so in a way we were oppressed.

JLeslie's avatar

I feel I am part of a minority, but I don’t identify as an oppressed minority. However, like @Seek_Kolinahr I understand no tbeing able to reveal your beliefs in fear of judgement. I don’t tell people where I live, here in the bible belt, that I am an atheist, except for a few very close friends. When people talk about church and God, I generaly say I am not religious if it comes up, or stay rather silent during religious conversation. In the bible belt no one ever asks you directly if you believ in God, because they assume people do. I have had people say negative things about atheists right in front of me. They seem ok with Jews or now, so I do tell people I am Jewish if they ask what religion I am. Honestly, most Chirstians in the bible belt have no idea such a large protion of Jews are agnostic or atheist, it doesn’t occur to them. When I hear crap like the bible being taught in high school down the street from me, and people wanting prayer in school I HATE it. I find it offensive, ignorant, and a failure for people to be able to put themselves in the other persons shoes, not to mention unAmerican in my opinion.

I also have had slurs said about Mexicans to me and my husband (my husband is Mexican) when they don’t realize he is Mexican.

But, generally I feel my husband and I are not treated as minorities, because our friends get to know us as individuals, and so stereotypes melt away or do not exist. In terms of career, especially for my husband (because in terms of career I have never felt like being Jewish or an atheist had any impact at all) we both don’t feel that he being Hispanic has any impact, most likely helped him when interviewing for multinational companies. I think it is because he is educated and it this point so accomplished in his career. I think he is evaluated for his skill and experience, and everything else is irrelavant. I do think the companies probably love being able to have a minority in a VP position, if that company is low on having minorities in senior management, but I do not think he is promoted because he is a minority.

I am debating someone on facebook about how African Americans feel discriminated against, and this one gentlemen is extremely resistant to accepting that he needs to conform to what is expected to be accepted. He refuses to buy into the idea that some of it is as simple, as speaking English well, wearing appropriate clothing, and do whatever hard work it takes to get to the position one desires. He resents having to conform to the white world, and I say we all have to conform, no one is picking on black people. He told me his wife hates getting her hair permed. WTF? I have to spend money and time on my hair also, sometimes I perm it to, to give it body. I just permed my husbands hair so it is not so frizzy in the humidity. He wants to believe that these requirements are racist against black people, but they aren’t. I find this to be a victim mentality.

Now, on the same facebook thread someone said it is about the rich wanting to maintain power so they use racism and discrimination to keep the poor people working against each other. If the American blacks hate the Hispanics, and the Hispanics hate the Haitians, etc., it keeps the current powers in place. If all the minorites got together and voted as a block, they would have a very strong vote. I do think that in the upper middle and upper classes racism and prejudice melts away, that it is more apparent in the lower middle, and lower classes.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

… on a similar note, I just met two people a few minutes ago that had never heard the word “atheist” before. They had no idea what it meant.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t want to be affiliated with any group,which then puts me in the “I am not part of any group”,group.Am I a minority?I couldn’t care less ;))

downtide's avatar

I am also atheist but, even though it’s still a minority in the UK, I don’t feel oppressed at all by that. I do feel oppressed by being transsexual. Mainly because of all the bureaucratic hoops I have to jump through to get and keep my legal identity.

wilma's avatar

I’m in @lucillelucillelucille ‘s non-group.
I could be considered a member of several minorities, but I won’t be oppressed.
I wouldn’t consider it.

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille By claiming your non-affiliation with any and all groups your just joined a group! “JOINER”!! ;p

muppetish's avatar

“Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!”

Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser -I believe I already stated that,Grand Poobah Cruiser of the “Pointer-Outer Group”
You need to be oppressed XD

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I am also Grand Poobah of the KYA group and you are in need of some oppressing yourself! XD

CMaz's avatar

Atheist is what you sprinkle on pasta.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@muppetish Oh, that was supposed to be funny? Good job.

Seek's avatar


Monty Python quote fail!

The line is ”repressed”. Not “oppressed”

Shame on you.

muppetish's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It was, as @Seek_Kolinahr pointed out, a riff off of Monty Python. I didn’t forget the exact wording, just took some poetic license.

For the record, I am a member of several minority groups. I don’t think I need to justify any claims that I am oppressed by the government. I don’t want to be viewed as an oppressed minority, but I am. And I don’t see any danger coming from others identifying as a member of any minority or voicing their displeasure in being oppressed.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@muppetish For the record, I didn’t ask.

muppetish's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That portion was not directed toward you or any one person here. It was merely a clarification for my place in the context of this post.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@muppetish God it, my apologies.

Blackberry's avatar

I live in an area where people do not care about skin color. Although in some places I could still be an oppressed minority, maybe in a wooded area in the south lol.

Blackberry's avatar

@ChazMaz Lol, I don’t know what that meant, but it sounded funny for some reason…...“Can you pass the atheist, please?”

Trillian's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr boy Scouts do not allow atheists? I was not aware of this. I went to a web site though, and found this oath, which states; “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God…” and then further along it breaks it down ths: “the three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:

•Duty to God and country,
•Duty to other people, and
•Duty to self
DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your FAMILY and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.”

It seems to me that the organiztion has a right to expect members to abide by the oath and tenets that define the organization. If you are an atheist, you clearly cannot swear to the first portion.
Do you suggest that they allow people in and then change the rules for them? Does that not defeat the purpose of a group?
I do not advocate changing the rules or lowering the bar. When people suggested that the standards be lowered to tht females could be SEAL’s I was opposed. That is counter to the whole point of having such difficult standards.
I believe that men can be allowed to have exclusive clubs that do no allow women. How is this a bad thing? I believe women should have exclusive clubs that do not allow men. I believe that people can form clubs where membership entails meeting a certain criteria, and if one does not meet that criteria, one does not get in. I fail to see how this is a problem, and there is certanly nothing stopping others from forming their own clubs.
I’m curious to know if you believe that atheists should be allowed to be in the Boy Scouts of America without having to take the oaths. Or if you believe that the BSA should change their oaths to accommodate atheists, and then perhaps anarchists who are anti-government. What are your views?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Trillian On the boy scout thing, the reason why it’s ridiculous to not allow atheists is because one’s religion should’t matte when it comes to learning the wilderness and such. Not that I mind this, the organization is ridiculous, in so many ways, I’m glad they don’t let atheists in, better spend their minds elsewhere.

DominicX's avatar

Yup. Gay guy here. :D

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. I don’t really feel that oppressed growing up in a liberal area (it could be a lot worse) but when this goddamn state flip-flops on this marriage issue like that over and over again, it starts to make me feel like the majority gets to tell me what I can and can’t do because of my sexual orientation and if that isn’t some form of oppression, I don’t know what is. Is it that fucking hard to make like South Africa, Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Massachusetts, Iowa, Mexico City, Argentina, etc. and just allow it already?

MeinTeil's avatar

I’m a white male, the only remaining minority.

It’s annoying constantly being accused of causing all of the worlds problems.

JLeslie's avatar

About the boyscouts, I know a woman who had her atheist children in the boyscotts, I guess they took the oath, I am not sure. I’m sure many people have sworn on a bible in a court room who are atheists, and when I say the pledge I always said under God (although I think it should not be there) and she said sometimes she was annoyed with other people in the group and how religious they were, but for the most part it was a non-issues. She deals with the religious stuff outside of the boyscouts anyway living in a smaller town in Texas.

It would be nice if children groups like the boyscotts did not bring religion into it. If it was The Baptist wilderness club, I can see having religion in there, but since it seem now that the Boyscotts as a national organziation is there for boys, it seems like they should evolve on this, the same as Harvard was started by a minister and emphasized puritan philosophies, now the focus is on the education, with little distinguishing it as Puritan.

Trillian's avatar

For anyone who did not see the fallacy in that last point directed at me, let me just state that the BSA allow non-Christians to join. To say that religion shouldn’t matter is pointless, as an atheist, by definition, has no religion. The BSA adheres to religion not mattering and anyone who believes in a god, no matter the form of worship, may join. The point of not allowing in an atheist is that they, at the risk of repeating myself, clearly cannot take the oath which acknowledges God.
In addition, th BSA is a lot more than woodscraft skills, the BSA is about future leadership skills.

JLeslie's avatar

@MeinTeil Please, are you serious. Are you in the US?

Seek's avatar

I was a Girl Scout as a little girl .I remember the Oath well –
“On my honour, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Code.”

And yes, I understand that – for some reason – God has been written as a central tenet of that establishment.

The question is simply – WHY? Are atheists incapable of learning leadership skills, or how to create a functional shelter out of a tarp and a ball of twine?

I just don’t understand why something that should be so inclusive – that is, a club meant to inspire young people to better themselves – would exclude 12% of those children solely because their parents do not follow a religion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Save your breath, my love.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Trillian And an atheist is incapable of leadership skills? That’s laughable. Also, why can’t the tenets simply be changed so that you can get the best minds trained, no matter their religion.?

DominicX's avatar

Also @josie, you seem to think that being a minority is a choice, and that if people didn’t label themselves as a minority, no one would be considered a minority and there would be no problems. Yes, there are some people who do like being a victim for various reasons, but you need to understand that the labeling goes both ways. People will tell me “just don’t make your sexuality an issue!” Okay, I’ll stop making it an issue when you stop making it an issue. If it’s a non-issue, then we should be allowed to get married and adopt kids; additionally kids at school shouldn’t be bullied for it if it’s a non-issue.

Seek's avatar

@DominicX Yeah! Especially the adopting kids part. Dammit.

I’d much rather have had two awesome gay parents than my one suck-ass straight one. That’s for sure.

Trillian's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir So, you feel that the rules, oaths, tenets and foundation for that particular club need to be changed to suit a few people who feel differently. that was my initia question.
I certainly never said anything as insupportable as “an atheist is incapable of leadership skills?”
I never thought such a ridiculous thing. If you are going to argue, please stick to the facts, and do not put words into my mouth.
All I said was if you want to join a group, you have to go by the rules of said group. There is nothing forcing you to join. If you don’t like the rules, start your own group. Or do what @JLeslie friend did, take the oaths. You simply cannot expect to have everything your way. It isn’t possible. What about all the pople who have accepted the tenets of the group and how they feel? What about the people who set those tenets? “They are ok with the group as it is. Why do they have to change to suit you? Do you not see the arrogance behind that sentiment? You simply have to learn to take the good with the bad somtimes. And if you really don’t like it, just don’t join. What you do not get to do is try to force the group to change their rules. That changes the group. And there are certainly alterates to BSA for training minds.This is a free country, so you are more than welcome to start a group of your own and build it from the ground up, just like they did. And nobody can join your group, then say “But hey, I disagree with this pinciple, and I demand that you change it.

Seek's avatar

@Trillian Well, if they are going to remain a religious-only group, I for one would appreciate the public school system removing their endorsement by banning them from public property.

I went to girl scouts in the cafeteria of my school 20 years ago. My niece now attends Girl Scouts in her school. Why is this occurring?

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian I do think it would better if they did not have an oath involving God. Are you ok with private groups who exclude other minorities? Like black people or Hispanics?

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Religious groups are allowed to meet on school property if it is after school hours, I actually don’t have a problem with that.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie But like you said – would it still be Kosher (ha ha) if they had disallowed blacks, or hispanics?

Besides, Agape club, or any other school-sanctioned prayer group I’ve ever known, has never disallowed atheists from joining. Of course, what atheist wants to join a prayer group? I can think of some little boys and girls that might like to go camping with their friends, though.

Trillian's avatar

All I did initially was ask @Seek_Kolinahr if she thought that a group should change their rules to suit a few pople who don’t like the rules.
Because this group also focuses on our country. So should a group of anarchists object to the swearing about being loyal to our country?

Seek's avatar

An anarchist would be acting in a self-contradictory manner if they chose to enter their children in such a highly-organized group as the BSA.

There are no anarchist children, just as there are no Christian children. There are children of Christian parents. There are children of anarchist parents.

Here’s the thing: You want to be a religious group? Fine. You want to be a leadership group? fine. Why does a leadership empowerment group have to exclude children of nonreligious parents? It’s not a “few people”, it’s 12% of our society, and the number is growing.

Also, what kind of example does it set for the children in the group, except to teach them that it is acceptable to shun people that do not agree with you?

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I am not communicating well I think. Doing too many things at once. Maybe I misunderstood what you wrote also. To be more clear.

I think the BSA should drop the religious schtick. I do think it is discriminatory seemingly excuding atheists with their oath. I think they should dump the oath and make it a standard one about a duty to be kind, or fair or considerate of others, or whatever.

I am ok with religious groups meeting on school premises, can be a prayer group, or even have mass, if it is after school hours. I think in small towns especially the school, the building itself, can be used as a place to meet in teh community, even better if teh group pays to use the space, and the money goes to the school for sports, field trips, to extend the art program, etc.

Trillian's avatar

So, than you think the group should change its basic tenets. That’s what I was asking. I wonder, do you think that Disney Land should change its dress code policy for this Muslim woman who wants to be a greeter while wearing a hijab? Apparently she knew before she was hired what the dress code was. Should we all drop and roll over for her?

Disney has a certain image that they wish to portray. Do we have to change it now to suit this woman? Really?

Ask yourself honestly. If you owned a business would you not feel that you had the right to dictate an employee dress code? The people you hire are representing your company. Do you want semi scary lookng people with tattoos and facial piercings? Maybe, if you’re a place like Hot Topic. But not Hollister. If an employee keps showing up in a short skirt, or a man keeps wearing a wife-beater would you not reserve the right to send them home to change? Why is this any different? You can say it’s about religion, but the fact is that the head thing is out of character for what Disney wants to portray. Do you believe they don’t have this right?
It is the same with the BSA. They want to foster “This” set of values and “This” type of attitude. You don’t have to fall in line with it, and you don’t have to participate. I don’t think that believing in or acknowledging God automatically makes it “religious”. So I think that live and let live is the best way. I don’t expect to be able to get into every club there is, and I don’t feel oppressed because of it.
I think that the schools allowing meetings is something on a different plane. I don’t know. I met in the gym after school too. I remember Girl Scouts as being fun and aside from the oath, god was not mentioned. Maybe the atheist parents should just stay out of it and let the kids state the oath. Then, when the child gets old enough, he/she can make his/her own decision about god. Lord knows, I was Wiccan all the time my kids were growing up. i never once forced my views on them. When they asked to go to church, I allowed it and I definitely had a tree for them every year. As someone else pointed out, christmas is secularized enough so as to make the rel;igion bit sort of optional.

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian I think Disney has the right to decide its dress code.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Trillian “So, you feel that the rules, oaths, tenets and foundation for that particular club need to be changed to suit a few people who feel differently” – this is also the argument against gay marriage. Awesome. I don’t care if they want to be a religious organization, that’s fine – as long as that’s loud and clear but they masquerade as something else.

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian Disney is not discriminating against someone for their relgious belief or race, they are requiring a costume for particular jobs at the park. I thought Disney gave her options to work in certain areas where a hijab would be acceptable? I had trouble opening the link.

Trillian's avatar

@JLeslie yes, they have offered her a few alternatives.
I don’t know what the argument is against gay marriage. I think that the adoption argument does not hold water that two gay parents will produce a gay child, as how many gay people are there with straight parents
@Simone De Beauvior You are entitled to your opinion.

Seek's avatar

This has ceased to be interesting. Over and out.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Yes, I am.
On more than one count.

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