Notes on my Readings
Pedagogy of the Oppressed (For School): * Pedagogy of the Oppressed was written by educator Paulo Freire, proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society.
Humanization and Dehumanization * Freire talks about the concept of humanization throughout the majority of chapter one. Humanity includes qualities that make us human such as understanding, freedom, and integrity. * Freire stresses the point that not only do people need to demonstrate those qualities toward others, but also toward themselves. He mentions that in order to recognize humanization, we must also acknowledge dehumanization. With dehumanization, a person’s humanity has been stolen; thus that person has become oppressed. * For oppressors, to be is to have and constant control over the oppressed is what they need to have. People who oppress others see these oppressed people as things or objects, not humans to be treated with integrity. Oppressors also feel the oppressed are in their situation because they are “lazy” and ungrateful to the generous overtures offered by the elitist class. * However, Freire also recognizes that those who steal the humanity of others are themselves dehumanized through “an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors” (p. 44). As the oppressors engage in oppression, they violate the rights of others and they themselves also become dehumanized. * To restore the humanity of both, the oppressed must struggle to change their situation but must not become oppressors in the process.
Oppressed become Oppressors? * Why don’t the oppressed do anything to change their situation? Freire mentions the feeling of the “fear of freedom” (p. 46) that many of the oppressed possess. This fear prohibits the oppressed from being proactive regarding their situation partially because they have adopted the guidelines of their oppressor. * Freire goes on to state that “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly” (p. 47). The oppressed have become accustomed to the structure of domination of the oppressors and have become resigned to it. * In order to overcome the oppression, the oppressed must work together. Freire points out that the oppressed “prefer the security of conformity” (p. 48) over the action needed to pursue liberation. * That is where the need for pedagogy—learning a new strategy to overcome the injustices frequented upon them and others like them—is necessary. * However, the caution of the oppressed of becoming oppressors is emphasized by Freire in that oppression is what has been modeled for them as a structural situation. * Identifying with those who keep them subjugated, the oppressed risk not changing the structure of the situation for all oppressed but working to liberate only themselves. * This individualistic focus will do nothing to change the cycle of oppression.
Where to begin to liberate the oppressed * Freire’s text offers some aspects of what should occur in order to free the oppressed. He stresses that a pedagogy must be forged with the oppressed and not for them. * According to Freire, the central problem is that the oppressed must participate in the development of the pedagogy of their own liberation. * As long as the oppressed view the process of liberation through the structure of how their situation is currently organized, they cannot contribute to the pedagogy of change. * There are two stages to this humanist and libertarian pedagogy in which the oppressed must participate. * The first is to recognize the structure and its components of oppression and to commit to the transformation of the structure. * So as not to maintain the model for which the structure has been originally created by oppressors, the oppressed must confront their perception of their world. * They