Blog Post #1- Freire

I found this reading quite interesting. Freire has led me to think about the concepts of oppression and humainzation/dehumanization in a new way. I was intrigued by the way he discussed these concepts more from the point of view of the roles that the oppressors/oppressed play. He makes some good points, although I don’t always agree with him and in many places I wish he would provide more evidence to support his claims or just explain further. Here are some questions I had:

In my opinion, Freire places a lot of emphasis on the role of the oppressed and the responsibilities that the oppressed have to change their situation. While he does say the oppressor needs to realize his/her actions and feel guilt, he generally leaves it up to the oppressed to take action and change the situation. Yet, he claims the oppressed are contradictory, divided beings, self-depricators, etc. (I don’t necessarily agree with those characteristics). My question would be, how much responsibility does each have in changing the situation of oppression? Is it more the oppressor’s responsibility, or is more the oppressed responsibility?

Another question is that Freire discussed humanization and dehumanization in great length, but mainly just about how oppression plays into it. A big question I have is, what exactly are the lines between humanization and dehumanization? What does it mean to be human?

Another question…maybe the oppressed become aware they are oppressed and so they take action, yet what if it doesn’t change anything? Just because they take action are they no longer oppressed? If that’s the case, then what becomes of the oppressors? If there are no longer oppressed then can the oppressors actually remain oppressors acting out oppression?

Finally, as far as the teacher-student relationship is concerned: How can we change this situation to create a better dialogue and relationship between teachers and students? How can we get from memorization to better forms of learning? How exactly can the students change their situation? If they break rules, they will go to the principal’s office and possibly be suspended or expelled. How can they change the role they play if there are rules to follow? Same thing with others…there are rules and laws and if they are broken, it may result in jail time. How are the oppressed expected to change their situation if they do not have the means to do so?

I do not have a Youtube clip to share, but I do have a personal experience. Although I won’t name the professor, nor the class title, I took a course at UNC where I definitely felt like I was oppressed as the student, and thought of by the professor as an “object.” The professor made comments to us such as “There are stupid questions, so I suggest you think carefully before you bother me with a question.” He/she also would strongly discourage us from speaking up in class whether it be to offer up a point or to ask a question, saying “This is my time to talk, not yours.” We were objectified and not given the chance whatsoever to play an active role in class, yet I didn’t really know what to do to change the situation. I eventually went to the department chair to speak about the situation, but actually in the classroom, I felt like there was not much I could do. This makes me think that it’s the teacher who has to change the relationship roles because as students, often times, we are powerless in a way.


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