Reading Reflection 2 : Pedagogy of the Oppressed

4 02 2012

Most of the time people say the world we live is not a fair place; it is a place of unjust suffering where humans are oppressed, exploited and discriminated against. If this is the type of picture we have of our world, the question we must next ask from ourselves is that can we transform this inhumane version of the world to a humane version? I believe yes, as stated by Paulo Freire in his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”. Freire describes how the oppressed can achieve liberation from their state of oppression through intellectual understanding and realization of themselves. He states that the oppressor cannot find his/her existence without the oppressed, but the oppressed has the ability to transform his/her reality of oppression towards to a state of freedom by acting on the possibility of the intellectual realization of that transformation. Thus, according to Freire, freedom is a choice that every human being has to make by themselves; it is not a gift that others can offer you.  Instead, it is a combination of both individual as well as collective effort that needs to be fought for.

Preventing a human being from enjoying and experiencing his/her human life to the complete meaning of human through hindering his/her freedom and other human rights is a violation of humanity.  And in this case, violence is initiated by the oppressor as he/she starts to treat other human beings as “objects” or “things”. This negation of humanity by the oppressor has been used as a justification for the use of violence by the oppressed in their struggle for freedom as liberation of the oppressed is a process of regaining their humanity. However, as Freire states, the oppressed can be trapped in the temptation of becoming like the oppressor once he/she has the power. Although it is possible the oppressed to have good intentions at the beginning of their struggle for freedom, it is also possible that their intentions might be changed over time, and the oppressed themselves can be dehumanized if they start to suppress their fellow companions. Therefore, we should not justify the use of violence even in a liberation movement on the grounds of the primary intentions of the oppressed because human nature is unpredictable and we cannot expect the oppressed to be all-time “good human-beings”.

Ganga Silva

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2 responses

2 03 2012
Oppression « Flickr Comments by FrizzText

[...] Reading Reflection 2 : Pedagogy of the Oppressed ( [...]

9 05 2012
What Matters Most… « Exploratory Introspections

[...] Reading Reflection 2 : Pedagogy of the Oppressed ( [...]

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