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Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence

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Copen: Now, you'll pay for your crimes!
Gunvolt: Seriously...? "Crimes"?!
Copen: Our human world is infested with freaks, fiends, inhuman terrors... That is exactly what all of you Adepts are. Your mere existence in our world is a crime.

Bob is not free, or so he thinks. On the contrary, he considers himself to be very oppressed. Because there is a certain kind of people that he doesn't like, and they... exist. He's not free to kill them or otherwise remove them, thus he's not free at all.

At best, this is Played for Laughs, often running on Rule of Creepy. (In this version, the "oppression" may come in the form of I Have Boobs, You Must Obey! and be portrayed as real.) At worst, it may make the character come across as a bigoted monster.

In either case, death threats or "liberation" is optional. Whining about how the open existence of other people in itself infringes on one's freedom is enough. Note that it does not count to claim that the other group may pose an actual threat in the future.

An Evil Overlord of the Manipulative Bastard kind may use this trope as a strategy to cling to power, directing his subjects' yearning for freedom into a racist yearning for "liberation" from the existence of another ethnic group.

Far more often, this is expressed as a stock complaint of hyperpatriotism or chauvinism or just plain bigotry in general. For example, "foreigners" are taking over one's country (or community, or whatever) and are going to outbreed or even replace the native people—and, worst of all, just might be plotting to turn everyone else into them, whether genetically or just culturally.note 

Sometimes done by Racist Grandmas, Heteronormative Crusaders, or Troubled Sympathetic Bigots. The latter may have homophobia or similar as an actual clinical phobia rather than just categorism. See also White Man's Burden, which suggests being "oppressed" by another group's weakness or neediness. May overlap with Stop Being Stereotypical if that trope is used as an excuse—if the "oppressee" argues that the stereotypes are true, the group is making him hate them with their obnoxious behavior, and that therefore the group is deserving of any mistreatment they get. (An anti-heroic version of this character might like some members of the group if they "don't act like the stereotype.")

When this destructive hatred is not focused solely on one group but every human being, it's Kill All Humans. The next step up is the Absolute Xenophobe, who wants to destroy all other sentient life not part of their own group, human or otherwise. The final one is the Omnicidal Maniac, who wants to kill and destroy literally everything.

And while this belief is sadly very much Truth in Television, obviously No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Comic Books 
  • In one drunken rant, Arne Anka claims to be a victim oppressed by the existence of beautiful women.
  • In Bitchy Bitch and Bitchy Butch, this trope is a stock complaint from various versions of The Fundamentalist, feeling oppressed by the existence of Atheists and Gays and so on. Even when the Atheists and Gays are simply minding their own business. We also have Butchy herself, who feels threatened by the mere existence of men and heterosexuals.
  • In Chick Tracts, the non-Christians (which includes Catholics) do this quite often. They feel insulted, threatened, even oppressed... not by how the Christians treat them, but by their very existence. Of course, the Christian characters are always loving and righteous Soulsaving Crusaders, and never this trope.
  • Superman:
    • Lex Luthor wants to solve mankind's problems and save the world, but he can't because of that alien, who keeps standing in the way of his quest for human betterment just by existing! Obviously, the reality is that Superman is undeniably good and Luthor is just opposing him because he's a threat to his own aggrandizement (along with no small amount of anger that he isn't considered the "super-man"). When Lex finally does get a chance to put his money where his mouth is, when Superman vanishes for one whole year in Superman: Up, Up and Away!, he does... precisely nothing. When Clark comes back and Lex tries pulling this excuse again, Clark brings up exactly what actually happened.
    • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade Lena Thorul proves she has been listening too much to her big brother when she rants about super-beings trivializing the effort of normal humans only by existing. She even attempts to gun down her best friend when she finds out Linda is a Kryptonian. They do eventually make up with each other, though.
  • Spider-Man: Spidey bothers Norman Osborn greatly by for his continuous presence and existence.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): In the chaos after the last alien invasion, some New Yorkers have taken to attacking aliens for "stealing their food" when said alien refugees are merely walking by.
  • X-Men: When the second group of X-Men joined up, Angel and Iceman of the first group got really territorial. Thunderbird I was quick to set them straight. And of course, the whole franchise has a lot of mutant-haters who feel this way about all mutants (often because mutants, "Homo Superior", technically pose a "threat" to baseline humans, "Homo Sapiens", as the "next step" in evolution). This sentiment and the persecution it inspires lead some mutants to feel this way about all baselines.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston easily convinces the villagers that Beast's existence is a menace for their wives and children. Of course, he wanted to kill Beast because he noticed Belle loved the latter, but the point is that the villagers promptly agreed with him, not caring that Beast never had made any harm to the village. Their bigotry against anything they don't consider normal (including Belle and Maurice) is expressed well in The Mob Song:
    Villagers: We don't like
    What we don't understand
    In fact it scares us
    And this monster is mysterious at least
  • Lord Farquaad from Shrek despises fairy-tale creatures, such as ogres, and considers it "rude enough being alive when no one wants you."
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Sheila was eager and willing to declare war on the entire nation of Canada just because of the Terrence & Phillip movie. She and her like-minded friends even had a song about it, "Blame Canada," which, from their point of view, is a "The Villain Sucks" Song.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Judge Claude Frollo is a particularly disturbing example. Right from the moment he is first introduced, he is persecuting gypsies and even murders a Roma woman with no remorse; he only regrets doing so because now he has to do penance at the Archdeacon's insistence by watching over her child Quasimodo, whom he was going to murder as well before deacon's interference. Later in the film, he makes an analogy to Phoebus that Roma are like ants that need to be squashed, even though the ants he uses in his analogy are completely harmless. He claims he wants to kill the Roma because he believes they've been practicing witchcraft and that they will corrupt the other citizens of Paris with their ways, but these accusations are incredibly hollow at best. This all shows that ultimately Frollo is nothing more than a bigoted lunatic who will stop at nothing to get his way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has this in common with the comics version, though his reasoning here is that he feels that power can't go hand in hand with benevolence thanks to years of abuse by his father, and thus views Superman as an affront to his worldview, i.e. he apends the philosophical Problem of Evil to Superman as the closest stand-in for God.
    Lex: I don't hate the sinner... I hate the sin. And yours, my friend, is existing.
  • Amanda Bynes' character in Easy A sobs that no matter how nice she is to "the whores and the homosexuals", "they just keep DOING it!"
  • In Godzilla vs. Kong, President Simmons of the Apex Corporation ends up creating Mecha Godzilla because he feels this way about the Titans. Mecha Godzilla is intended to kill Godzilla so that humanity can be on the top of the food chain again. Of course, it doesn't work out for him because when you use the brain of an alien space-dragon that was Godzilla's arch-enemy to run the thing, it pulls Turned Against Their Masters at the first opportunity and kills him.
  • Hail Satan?: Christians shown in the film clearly can't stand that the Satanists even exist or take legal action against them, due to association with the archenemy per Christian doctrine (even when it's symbolic for them) and the wider Hollywood Satanism trope.
  • Hotel Rwanda depicts the genocide in that country as a consequence of this logic.
  • I Shot Andy Warhol is about Valerie Solanas, who apparently came to believe this about all men and consequently published the infamous S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Nazi Colonel Hans Landa expresses his views on the Jews, comparing it to how others feel about rats. "You don't like them. You don't really know why you don't like them. All you know is you find them repulsive." ...And then it becomes painfully clear that he is not feeling the slightest bit of oppression from the Jews and that he just repeats what is acceptable by the Nazis' standards. He even claims to not see the comparison to rats as an insult and acknowledges how the world a rat lives in is unfairly hostile to them compared to other very similar rodents like squirrels. It's definitely true for Nazis and their sympathizers, but Landa is not even a real one. He is an opportunist who goes with the flow and makes the most out of his situation.
  • The Killing Fields depicts the Khmer Rouge's application of these principles to those of Vietnamese descent and "intellectuals", a category that included urban professionals and people who wore glasses.
  • In Kin-Dza-Dza!, the people of Hanud really wanted to "trankluck" their twin planet. Why? Because it was always there, floating overhead. The other race ended up "tranklucking" Hanud first as a pre-emptive strike. The surviving Hanudians find it fair.
  • Part of what distinguishes The Matrix's Big Bad Agent Smith from his fellow Machines is his belief that human beings are, by their very existence, a destructive virus that must be eradicated. He later extends this view to all of existence, his former masters included.
  • Most of Grandma's lines in My Big Fat Greek Wedding contain a reference (in Greek) to the "ugly Turks" or "dirty Turks", although she does seem to think that anyone she doesn't recognize as obviously Greek is Turkish... note 
  • In The Shape of Water, Col. Strickland feels morally offended by the existence of the Amphibian Man, calling him "an affront". For good measure, the movie also mixes some mundane bigotry into his character as well.
  • TRON: Legacy: Clu was frustrated with the Isos existing, but could not do anything about it while Flynn was in charge. Once he executed his coup, he is not only all too willing to exterminate every Iso, and Program that does not fit his self-created template of "perfection," but he's itching to take his crusade to the User world because he feels oppressed by human existence as well. And then we see that there's more to it than that. Clu wasn't a person, he was a program and it was his innate desire and purpose in existence to fulfill the mandate of his User. Flynn ordered him to "create the perfect system", not realizing what that would mean if taken to a literal-minded extreme by a computer program basically incapable of nuance. To Clu, he was merely doing what he was built to do by his Creator himself and he felt confused and betrayed when he was condemned for his efforts. As a result, he became consumed with self-loathing and hateful of Flynn as only a betrayed child could, and so he rebelled. Flynn himself realized this in the end, and he apologized to Clu and took responsibility for his mistakes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Criminal Minds episode ("Lessons Learned", on Season Two) has a mujahideen leader saying this is the reason he wages war against the Western world to Jason Gideon (it's said that he lost his wife and son to a drone strike and implied that he had devolved into his current mindset). When Gideon asks if this would mean killing everybody on the planet (that doesn't follows him), the man just gives Gideon a smile and says that to him there's no such thing as a "non-combatant" (bear in mind, the plot BAU helped defuse was that of nerve-gassing a mall in the middle of DC and he also gloated about thinking of bombing a school next time).
  • Doctor Who: This is how the Daleks feel about all other forms of life. Even Daleks who are ever-so-slightly tainted genetically by another lifeform are fair game, even to themselves; they'll usually self-exterminate as soon as they find out and pure Daleks are available.
  • Spoofed on Married... with Children: Al and NO MA'AMnote  often spoke this way about their wives or women in general (although, strangely, they are perfectly fine with having women around as sex objects); in turn, Al's Straw Feminist neighbor Marcy sometimes said the same about men. In the end of a given episode, both sides are typically undermined by Hypocritical Humor.
  • The Power (2023): A large number of men are clearly disturbed by the general idea of so many women developing electrical powers rather than anything in particular they have seen or experienced. Highly patriarchal countries like Saudi Arabia and Carpathia view it as a particular threat, with the latter making any use of it punishable by death.
  • The conversation between Jarod (hero) and Mr. Raines (villain) in the first season finale of The Pretender:
    Jarod: You stole me from my parents. You had the FBI kill my brother, and now you're trying to kill my family. What have I ever done to you?
    Mr. Raines: You exist.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible: In the Book of Esther, Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who was King Xerxes' adviser, was constantly irritated by Mordecai not bowing down to him or giving him any respect. When Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he realized that getting rid of Mordecai wasn't enough to satisfy him: he had to be rid of all the Jews in case there were any like Mordecai that would not give him the proper respect he deserved. He speaks to King Xerxes to give him permission to have that group of people be exterminated by his hand by the king's decree, not stating exactly who they were but saying that they live by their own laws and that their own laws were against those of the Medo-Persian Empire. King Xerxes gives Haman his signet ring to sign orders for their destruction on the given day that Haman had selected by the lot. This sets up the situation where Mordecai gets his cousin Esther, who was appointed as the king's new queen, to speak unto the king and to expose Haman as the man responsible for the plot to kill the Jews.
  • One of the teachings of Buddhism is that hatred is harmful to the one who hates, especially if the target of the hate isn't hurt by the hatred, which is essentially this trope. The tale of the Buddha, the Angry Man, and the Gift illustrates this: Buddha was teaching in a village, and got insulted by an angry man, though Buddha ignored him. That made the angry man all the angrier, until the Buddha told a parable: if you buy someone a gift, but the recipient of the gift doesn't receive it, then the gift belongs to you because you bought it. Anger is the same way; if the recipient of the anger doesn't receive it, it falls back on the angry person.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The classic/cliche Paladin, played as Lawful Stupid or Knight Templar, often falls into this trope. Any Evil or Chaotic beings (whether they are NPCs or PCs) just can't be allowed to continue existing because the Paladin character has personal alignment restrictions. More enlightened/cooperative players will not have their Paladin characters take this track and usually focus more on setting a Lawful Good example.
  • While there are plenty of xenophobic groups in Rifts, the most standout example is the Coalition States. Their leader, Emperor Karl Prosek, turned his people's fear of the unknown into an irrational hatred of all those who are different (mages, non-humans, and to a lesser extent, psychics and mutants). Even the most mild-mannered citizen of the Coalition believes that wizards and D-Bees threaten his or her life merely by existing, and hates and fears them without reservation. Note that this mindset has been instilled not because of any genuine threat these groups pose (most would rather live and let live), but because fear and hatred of an outside force lets The Powers That Be in the Coalition High Command amass more and more power.
  • Warhammer 40,000: This is how most of the Imperium feels about aliens, mutants and heretics. Granted in their case it's somewhat justified, considering nearly all the aliens are just as genocidal as they are (and the ones who aren't are either being manipulated by a caste of mysterious alien sages for who knows what purpose, or are ever more genocidal than they are) and mutants and heretics are all vessels, willingly or not, for the power of the Dark Gods.

  • In West Side Story, the Jets feel very threatened by the presence of Puerto Ricans in their neighborhood, and claim their American culture is "drowning." Ironically, the Sharks harbor similar attitudes about Americans. ("I think I'll go back to San Juan.")

    Web Animation 
  • This video by DarkMatter2525, titled "Hate Speech", in which after a Christian tells an atheist how he is going to forever burn in Hell while he will bask in the glory of Heaven, and the atheist rebukes him by saying that he thinks that's ridiculous, the Christian accuses him of "hate speech" and "oppressing Christians". Jesus himself then shows up (on the cross, no less) to tell him off over this.

    Web Comics 
  • Early in Homestuck, highblood Eridan hated lowbloods and often tried to commission Vriska for doomsday devices so he could kill them all... for no better reason than because, well, they existed. However, it's heavily implied that he never seriously intended to go through with it and that it was all just to keep up appearances and retain the interest of his moirail.
  • Vegan Artbook, being a militant vegan Author Tract, plays this absolutely straight with anyone who's not a vegan...and then projects it onto everyone who's not a vegan.

    Web Original 
  • Discussed by the "Bitch Eating Crackers" meme, which reads "When you hate someone, anything they do is offensive. As in, 'Look at that bitch just eating crackers like she owns the place.'"
  • Not Always Right:
    • This person feels threatened by somebody watching Doctor Who on her smartphone, with headphones on.
    • This person likewise complains to a coffee shop about one of their customers, claiming that she's "offending" and "abusing" the other customers simply because she requires a walking stick.
    • This Straw Vegan on Not Always Working seems to have this attitude toward animal products. She throws out coworkers' lunches, tells another coworker to never wear their leather jacket again, and then attempts to throw out her boss's leather purse. That last one got her fired on her first day working at that job.
    • And on Not Always Friendly, this girl starts digging around in a stranger's grocery bags, finds meat, and demands the cops arrest the grocery shopper for murder — "Meat is murder!"
  • Rational Wiki captures this phenomenon fairly well on the persecution complex page.
  • SF Debris has a "Stupid Neelix Moment" for just about every Star Trek: Voyager episode. Just the mere appearance of the character warrants this award.
  • Every devout Khersian thinks this way about Mack in Tales of MU. Considering she's half-demon and Khersis exists to purge the world of demons, and demons feed on humans, there is some justification. But since she's the protagonist, we are sympathetic to her situation. It doesn't help that the characters who most dehumanize demons in the setting are either Jerkasses like Gloria and Ariadne or the bastard Mercy.

    Web Videos 
  • Jon Cartwright, formerly of GameXplain, really has it out for Kiddy Kong for some reason. It's mostly presented in a ridiculous way, but then he starts getting into it and you start worrying just how serious he is...
  • history of the entire world, i guess portrays Adolf Hitler as "mad at the Jews for existing"
  • The mind hunters of Tales From My D&D Campaign can apparently feel the presence of every other living mind in any of the three worlds, and it causes them perpetual torment. Thus, their ultimate goal is to "kill, wipe, or dominate every other mind."
  • Discussed by Zinnia Jones in the episode Re: "Can't Even Go to the Park" regarding the blog post "Can't Even Go to the Park" which gained international infamy for suggesting that the concepts of "freedom" and "Not outlawing the existence of gay people" are mutually exclusive.


Video Example(s):


Frollo's hatred of Gypsies

Judge Frollo expresses to Phoebus his extreme hatred of gypsies even comparing them to ants. But, as Phoebus points out, the gypsies haven't actually done anything to harm Paris. Frollo still wants to wipe them out regardless.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence

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