From Robin Hood to Che Guevara, the oppressed hold the moral high ground. The exploited worker, the dominated minority, the enslaved people, are seen as rightly acting to better their circumstances. Some even maintain the oppressed can never act immorally. But there is a danger this undermines the central moral notion that principles should apply equally to everyone independent of their circumstances. It also encourages the idea that portraying oneself as a victim is a means to gain a better outcome. Moreover, critics argue that oppressed vs oppressor morality hinders our ability to solve problems that defy simple categorisation into the good and bad.

Should we conclude that morality has nothing to do with oppression? Are violence and vengeance no more acceptable on the part of the victim than the aggressor? Or is morality inextricably linked to the circumstances of the actors be that apartheid South Africa, the Twin Towers, the Middle East, or the events of everyday life and relationships?