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1 Jindal Journal of Public Policy 4 (2013)


The original justifications for the oppression of both African–Americans in the United States and Dalits in India were drawn from the religious systems of thought of both societies. However, over the centuries, the basic justifications for the oppression of African–Americans changed, while the primary rationale for the oppression of Dalits still remains rooted in religion. This essay sketches out the dominant forms that made and continue to make the oppression of African–Americans appear to be part of the natural order of things. It shows how the primary justifications for the oppression of Blacks changed over time. In so doing, this essay demonstrates the dynamic nature of oppression and that success against one form of oppression may not lead an oppressed group to liberation, but may simply generate a new set of justifications for their continued oppression in a different form.