Generative Questions for Language, Power and Democracy
August 14, 2011
1. How much of myself can I change and how much of myself can I only become aware of? I was inspired to ask this question after watching ‘Mirrors of Privilege’. It is also related to reading Paolo Friere’s ‘The First Day of School’ and Ian Lopez’s ‘White by Law’. I want to answer this question because I am nervous about how much of my own identity I might be unaware of. I am thinking of the man in ‘Mirrors of Privilege’ who asked himself “Where did that come from?” That comment shook me. Friere inspired me to admit a lot of this nervousness to myself and to some of the other cohort members. The structures of power have been in place for such a long time, that it scares me to think how they must have affected me. If I see a white supremacist beating a black man, I need to be able to place myself somewhere in the system of privilege that makes him feel justified in doing that. I am used to talking about the way that my grandparents were as if it is separate from me. I want to find out how much is still with me, and how much can change now that I am 32 years old. I want to answer this question in order to think realistically about the self-work I need to do. 2. Can I imagine a solution for the broken world that we live in? I was very affected by Maxine Greene’s ‘A Light in Dark Times’. I want to explore how far my imagination can take me. I believe that the ‘educated hope’ that Cornel West and Paolo Friere write about is possible. I need to do the work to imagine a path to that kind of hope and that kind of future. From the ‘Pockets of Hope’ article, I can see that I can’t walk the path alone. I need to imagine the future for myself however, so that I can utilize the power-with. If I don’t have the path before me clear, I don’t think I will be very good at finding strength with others. I also need to answer this question in order to be capable of the...
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