Odds are that you have, at one point or another, experienced oppression. Odds are also that you have been the oppressor at times, whether you’ve realized it or not. Pedagogy of the oppressed by Paulo Freire, does a clever and fantastic way of explaining how we’ve come to the duality of being both the oppressed and oppressor and how we can break away from it, as humanly as possible. In the attempt to break way from what we’ve been constructed to be, one most be conscious. Conscious of the way it acts, reacts, thinks and speaks. A state of constant consciousness is necessary to start the process of liberation and therefore become humanized. How we think what we think and why we think it is not merely something that ‘just happens.’ As Frire (1981) writes, our thoughts have been conditioned by the situation in which they are shaped. We have been taught to think by an educational system that merely fills our memory and expects us to repeat these thoughts until they become part of our conscious and subsequent praxis. Nowhere in this process we are taught to examine what we’ve been taught and how to reach our own conclusions. The way we see reality has been crafted by oppressive forces whose goals are to inhibit us from seeking liberation. Our reality and thought process creates a dialectic within us in which we are both the oppressed and oppressors. We have internalized the oppressive consciousness. The contradictions between being who we are (oppressed) and who we wish to become (oppressors) creates a conflict that must be present when examining our perspectives of life. The first step is to understand our behavior as people who are both oppressed and oppressors. This step can only be taken by being aware of the dialectic we’re a part of. This contradiction, and the many others that continuously shapes us, is a result of oppression and violence. The process in which we are oppressed is mere domestication so that we can adapt to oppression...
References: denigrate. 2013. In Merriam-Webster.com.
Retrieved September 7, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denigrate
Freire, P. (1981). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum, 1987.
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