Paolo Friere speaks on a system of domination. The first and second chapters of Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) are to do with objectification that belittles the potential of open minds, and corrupts the abilities of the educator. Because of these two positions, a chasm is made where the whip hand may keep a distance but anyone of a lower position is openly without healthy resources. The result is a shaky outcome where the benefits are minimal and the deserved are left wanting.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed discusses how conventional education does not recognise the void in humanity. Instead, traditional education is empowered by both those who justify the prejudice and peopled by victims who need justice (Friere, 2000, p. 44). Despite this being a reinforced structure, what is avoided is the discussion of the conscious but incomplete person. It’s not an open topic to develop how the lack of humaneness equals a specific emptiness of status, i.e., If there is no one around to validate my existence, than “I cannot exist” (p. 82). An exploited person, alone or in groups, is considered unawares and implausible when it comes to order and success. Unfortunately, it’s emphasized that the correct manner to teach this person is by strict means if not aggressive (p. 62). This is a mindset; a method; delivered onto children but exacerbated in the adult world by how people of different creeds or color identity toward one another. It leads into societies where generations within a nation can recycle resentment and worthless but still remain controlled.
Releasing the mind and improving communication and standing back for integrity to grow are very relevant to urban education. The body of urban education often includes juveniles of an oppressed background or environment. Despite this shared experience, what weighs these people down from revolt are their own “self-depreciation” to which they are “convinced of their own unfitness” (p. 63). The students of this system can be so resistant and angry to “historical vocation” because they are disregarded on their own timeline (p. 44). A class of this sort is reminded by the all-powerful teacher that they are not validated to the historical world: they don’t exist. And instead of building on this opportunity to propel these able minds who desire relatable, humanizing facts about their daily lives, they remain unquenched. They are uncontested by the instructor who does not need a room of confident minds.
The idea of youth being the “container” (p. 72) is a prevalent viewpoint in my childhood. Between home, school, and friends, it was never about deducing a situation but instead memorizing, being “mechanical” about the facts and remaining as one of the “receptacles to be filled” (p. 72). This method crafted me into a better and most acceptable child, student, and friend while more stubborn minds were largely categorized as disgraceful. Every successful meeting between people, especially in the classroom, was a traditional setting of Question-and-Answer, never Why-and-How-so? This form of dehumanization was discreet but successful in protecting children’s minds because there was no relatable knowledge, no challenge to bring the young closer to a humane future we can all “wisely build” together (p. 84). A future that is not a possibility I can inherit. I had my ears open to a very conventional relationship with education, and am innately deprived because of it. Tools that could have come readily to my aid should have been the standard in our education instead of an aspiration.
Freire, Paulo. (2000). Chapter 1 & 2. Pedagogy of the Oppressed (pp43 - 86). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.