Voice Appropriation

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Denying human beings the right to have a voice of their own by assigning a voice to represent them without their consent. This voice may be constructed as being the group itself, as being the expert who understand the members of the group better than people in the group could possibly understand themselves, or simply being the most “genuine” voice by fitting the narrative role for what that voice ought to be. Voice Appropriation can be done from the outside as an attempt to silence the entire group, or by elites within the group who not only speak as members of the group but also pretend that their opinions, values and interests are those of everyone in the group... at least everyone who counts as “true” members of the group. As a part of this dynamic, the group may develop a social norm where everyone who are not members of the dominant group-within-the-group are strongly encouraged to never speak up at all, as their voices would be their own and not truly representing the entire group.


This facet of categorism is an expression of prejudice and discrimination.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Denial of Agency: Denying human beings their own voices by speaking for them without their consent.
  • Infantilization: Constructing people as incapable (being too naive, brainwashed, or whatever) of speaking for themselves.

As well as with abstractions such as:

Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:

  • Racism: Racist dictatorships arguing that they are the true democracies, since the dictator is of the same ethnicity as the majority of the population.