How society perpetuates oppression, a historical timeline.

Note: There is a color key for this timeline. You can see it below the timeline itself.

What is this?

This timeline came about when I was working on an article about bias and quantitative methods — that statistics are contextual, and that statistics, particularly as used in the social sciences, have been tools of oppression. I am not the only scholar to believe this — I am standing on very large shoulders — I am just a recent scholar to come to this understanding. I was working on the history of statistics, and how they have been used as a tool of oppression, and I was struggling. Every where I turned new information arose. I was reading scholars like Tukufu Zuberi, Cathy O’Neil, Virginia Eubanks, Ruha Benjamin, Safiya Noble, Caroline Criado Perez, and Michelle Alexander- and there was just so very much information that it was hard to keep everything sorted out. The other issue was that everything seemed so very siloed, and, as my brain pulled everything together, I was seeing how everything was connected. I was understanding that we were living in a very interconnected world that, ultimately, was about power and oppression. In order to be able to write a history of bias in quantitative methods I needed to visualize it.

This timeline has taken a much larger amount of time than I expected, and it is not done. I’m not sure if it is possible for it to ever be done. It is hard to complete something when every day you learn some new horrible event wherein people were massacred, enslaved, their livelihoods were taken away, laws were passed that said they were less than, science, once again, concluded that there are people who are better than others. It is hard to finish something like this when every day new acts of oppression are committed in the name of government, economics, science, and education. I’ve begun to understand why others focused on very specific areas.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this project. I would love to hear necessary additions you have to it, or anything I should remove or edit. Please email me at brooke [[[== dot == ]] robertshaw [[==[at]==]] gmail dot com.

EVENT Color Key

The idea of this timeline is that:
1. Economic needs and wants (green) leads to imperialism 
2. Imperialism (grey) and the colonization of lands leads to 
3. The codification (yellow) of the oppression of others through laws, creation and acts of government, and judicial processes.
4. Which leads to social scientific (pink) practices that normalize this state of oppressive society.
5. Education (blue) then perpetuates all of this.
6. One thing that interrupts this process is organized activism (purple).

TEXT Color Key
1. Things that take place or exist over a period of time are on top, single date events are at the bottom. 
2. Those items with White text are seen by Brooke as being oppressive
3. Those items with Black or Teal text are seen by Brooke as being liberate
4. Those items with Green text are either neutral or are seen by Brooke to both oppress and liberate groups of people.

Text Colors

  • White: Actions that led to oppressing others, that were directly done to oppress others
  • Black: Actions that were done to liberate others
  • Teal: Actions that were done to liberate others
  • Green: Actions that neither liberated nor oppressed others