12 myths oppressors sell to people to keep them subjugated and passive


Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire says to keep people subjugated and passive, oppressors deposit myths into the people that are indispensable to the preservation of the status quo. Here are some of the myths:

  1. the myth that the oppressive order is a “free society”;
  2. the myth that all persons are free to work where they wish, that if they don’t like their boss they can leave him and look for another job;
  3. the myth that this order respects human rights and is therefore worthy of esteem;
  4. the myth that anyone who is industrious can become an entrepreneur—worse yet, the myth that the street vendor is as much an entrepreneur as the owner of a large factory;
  5. the myth of the universal right of education, when of all the [Zimbabwean] children who enter primary schools only a tiny fraction ever reach the university;
  6. the myth of the equality of all individuals, when the question: “Do you know who you’re talking to?” is still current among us;
  7. the myth of the heroism of the oppressor classes as defenders of “Western Christian civilization” against “materialist barbarism”;
  8. the myth of the charity and generosity of the elites, when what they really do as a class is to foster selective “good deeds”;
  9. the myth that the dominant elites, “recognizing their duties,” promote the advancement of the people, so that the people, in a gesture of gratitude, should accept the words of the elites and be conformed to them;
  10. the myth that rebellion is a sin against God;
  11. the myth of private property as fundamental to personal human development (so long as oppressors are the only true human beings);
  12. the myth of the industriousness of the oppressors and the laziness and dishonesty of the oppressed, as well as the myth of the natural inferiority of the latter and the superiority of the former.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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