Oppression derives from the concept of being weighted down, and is often depicted as such. Here, a political cartoon shows a Jew laboring under the metaphorical oppression of the RussianTsar
Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions or people, and anxiety.
"Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or Practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions."
Several movements have arisen that specifically aim to oppose, analyze and counter oppression in general; examples include Liberation Theology in the Christian world, and Re-evaluation Counselling in the psychotherapeutic arena.