All cases of oppression in history are self-inflicted, a reverend old an audience of about 50 in Sever Hall last night at a speech sponsored by the Black students Association.
"All oppression that we can document from any time on earth has all been self-induced," Rev. James L. Bevel, founder and chair of the Declaration of Independence Co-signers' Convention, said in a speech last night.
Bevel began his hour-long talk by defining oppression.
He attributed its occurrence to instances when "you give authority to another person's erroneous concepts and disrespect the truth that you already know."
Most people remain oppressed because they don't look for the root of oppression within themselves, Bevel said.
"The reason most people are not free is because they assume the oppression comes from a source other than themselves," Bevel said.
Bevel drew a triangle on the blackboard in the Sever Hall classroom in which he spoke, splitting it in half with a wavy line.
The top half, Bevel wrote, is arrogance; the bottom half is cowardice.
"We have the [authority] to take this out," Bevel said, pointing to the cowardice. "We found out if you take out half the elements, the system goes down."
The Slavery Question
One audience member asked Bevel why he didn't consider European enslavement of Africans to be oppression on the part of the Europeans.
In response, Bevel asked the audience member where she had heard that.
Most of the audience responded that their relatives had told them, or that they'd read that account in history books.
Bevel said that there was a difference between "memory" and "history."
"When you want to get into history, you're dealing with [cause and effect]," Bevel said. "When you get into memory, you're getting into [incidence]."
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