12 Quotes From Pedagogy of The Oppressed Rachel Dolezal Should Consider

In addition to the black face,  the appropriation of the narratives, community history, lived experiences, life struggles, and personal victories of black women and bi-/multi-racial individuals, Rachel Dolezal, you need to also own-up to your white privilege gone wild.

I don’t claim to speak for anyone within the racial justice movement, nor do I really need to add to the growing digital-literature on how you’ve damaged movements surrounding black and trans folks lives. I really don’t even need to address how your actions have so blatantly been to join, co-opt, and attempt to center yourself within the racial justice movement in a way that allowed for you to avoid conversations like checking your privilege, playing the white savior, speaking on behalf of and silencing communities, or how you, as a white woman (sans, or especially due to,  black face) reproduced racial inequalities through your taking up space and assuming leadership of the black community.

These have all been discussed at great length, by people within these communities, much smarter than me, who have powerful voices of their own . So there’s not much more for a light-skin Mexican-American (mestizo) to add.

In fact, I’d much rather point you, Rachel, to 12 quotes from Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Maybe this will remind you of the role you play(ed) in oppression, and why you, as a white person in blackface, should step entirely back.

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  1. “The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves.”
  2. “The oppressor, who is himself dehumanized because he dehumanizes others, is unable to lead this struggle.”
  3. “Discovering [her-/]himself to be an oppressor may cause considerable anguish, but it does not necessarily lead to solidarity with the oppressed.”
  4. “For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more–always more–even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have.”
  5. “For them, having more is an inalienable right.”
  6. “Our [white] converts… truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation.”
  7. “Attempting to liberate the oppressed without their reflective participation in the act of liberation is to treat them as objects that must be saved from a burning building.”
  8. “The revolutionary’s role is to liberate, and to be liberated, with the people–not to win them over.”
  9. “To simply think about the people, as the dominators do, without any self-giving in that thought, to fail to think with the people, is a sure way to cease being revolutionary leaders.”
  10. “The road to revolution involves openness to the people, not imperviousness to them; it involves communion with the people, not mistrust.”
  11. “As the oppressor minority subordinates and dominates the majority, it must divide it and keep it divided in order to remain in power.”
  12. “The culture of the [white] dominant class hinders the affirmation of [black women/] men as beings of decision.”
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Rape Culture: From Grimdark Fantasy to Reality

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Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Rape Survivors

When I worked as a reporter for a local paper in East Tennessee some years back, a story arose about a young woman who had been sexually assaulted at her high school. When the issue was brought to the school board’s attention, they moved heaven and earth to shame the young woman and to vilify her and her family.

No one denied the attack happened but nothing was done about it because the attacker was a star athlete and the school’s administration was beyond corrupt. When I tried to follow up and get the family’s side of events, the story was buried due to local politics and my publisher’s wish to stay in good with the Powers That Be in the county.

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

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by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where…

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Sense8 and the Failure of Global Imagination

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How do you imagine a life you could never live? Though not really a theme, this problem is at the heart of Netflix’s new original series Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and heavily influenced by Tom Tykwer. Like many fantastical or science fictional premises, Sense8’s premise is a wish fulfillment: not — as is typical of this genre and the Wachowski’s earlier work — the wish fulfillment of the disempowered middle school nerd stuffed into a locker, but rather the Mary Sue desire of a mature, white American writer/auteur who has discovered that an entire world is “out there,” one that the maker doesn’t know how to imagine.

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Why I Teach The Walking Dead in My Native Studies Classes

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by Cutcha Risling Baldy

So a friend of mine wrote me a message on Facebook that went a little like this:

Question: how the heck do you get through to someone that thinks natives need to just get over it?

Answer: Shake them? I never advocate shaking people, but maybe something is loose in there. Tell them to take a Native American Studies Course (it ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it).

But if I’m being honest, lately, when this comes up — and isn’t it telling that it comes up often enough that I can begin with “lately” instead of “well the last time, a long time ago, man I can barely remember that time?” — I like to tell them about The Walking Dead.

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Decolonial Voices MixTape, Vol 1: BRWN BFLO, BAMBU, MANE ROK, & ROCKY RIVERA

Here’s a visual mixtape, of sorts, dedicated to promoting those voices that work towards decolonizing minds and disrupting oppression-repression through hip hop music! All of the following artists not only provide a  soundtrack to the struggle of various communities, but they do it in consistently fresh ways. Enjoy!

 

1. BRWN BFLO “What’s Good?”

 

2. Bambu “Beach Cruisin’ (Kid. W.I.K. Remix)”

 

3. Mane Rok & Deejay Tense “This One’s”

 

4. Rocky Rivera feat Otayo Dubb “Beautiful Struggle”

 

 

2 Blogs Decolonizing Thanksgiving

“[T]he present Settler argument presumes that since the injustices are historical and the passage of time has certainly led to changed circumstances for both the alleged perpetrators and for the victims, the crime has been erased and there is no obligation to pay for it…[b]ut this idea, so commonly held by white people, is wrong; it assumes that the passage of time leads to changes in circumstance. This is fundamentally untrue, especially when made in relation to Onkwehonwe, Settler societies, and what has happened between us. Between the beginning of this century and the beginning of the last, people’s clothes may have changed, their names may be different, but the games they play are the same. Without a real change in the realities of our relationship, there is no way we can consider the wrongs that have been done as historical. The crime of colonialism is ongoing today, and its perpetrators are present among us.”Taiaiake Alfred

Alfred’s words have a rather powerful significance as we consider the forms of physical, spiritual, and mental colonization during Thanksgiving.  It is quite disturbing (and telling) how white settler society celebrates a snapshot in time without granting even a moment for critical reflection to the absolute devastation indigenous people suffered at the hands of the colonizer. But more to the point, the past lives on today so we mustn’t fall victim to ideologies, epistemologies, and discourses that frame the sins of the past as long since forgotten. In this somber time of reflection and healing it is important to seek and spread knowledge to decolonize the ways in which settler society (re)produce and maintain hegemony. With that said, the following blogs provide valuable information in our efforts to challenge colonization. Enjoy and saludos!

1) Broken Mystic’s The Truth About Thanksgiving: Brainwashing of the American History Textbook explains:

[A]s children dress up as Pilgrims and Natives to reenact the romanticized version of history, they are not only perpetuating stereotypes, but more importantly, they’re being embedded with lies. What do they really know about the Pilgrims and the Natives?

2) Stephen L. Pevar’s, “Thanksgiving? The deprivations and atrocities that followed,” at the Oxford University Press Blog writes:

Accounts say that the generosity of the Indians saved the colonists from starvation during the harsh New England winter of 1620…[but] [v]ery few schoolchildren are also taught… about the deprivations and atrocities that occurred to the Indians afterwards, first at the hands of the colonists and then by the United States government. Ironically, if the United States believes today that it has a poor immigration policy, imagine how self-destructive the Indians’ immigration policy was by welcoming the very people who would soon seek to destroy them.

4 Documentaries Every (Person) Educator Should Watch

Many activists and educators are demanding for a public school curriculum  that produces a critical and relevant education, especially for those students who have historically been marginalized within the school system. For those of us who are disrupting the systemic failings of public schools and challenging the normalization of pushing students of color out of a high school(/higher) education, it is important to look for every available resource that might develop a more inclusive and engaging environment for learning. Whether through mentorship, teaching, or expanding your own cultural consciousness the following documentary trailers should serve useful in your effort towards unpacking privilege and understanding the strict binary systems of race, gender, and sexual orientation that exist in (settler) society, as well as within the classroom.

1. Precious Knowledge

Truly a remarkable film about the end of the Mexican American Studies programs in Arizona. This film reveals how politics shape the classroom, how history and literature are not neutral subjects, and how students can become empowered through education.

2. Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge is a powerful documentary about the struggle for the creation of Chicano Park in San Diego, CA. Throughout are history lessons in the Chican@ Movement, decolonial practice, protest, and a revelation in the need for space in order for culture to thrive. Under the Bridge presents a beautiful lesson in using art as a decolonial methodology as Chican@s reclaimed land, placing artistic cultural symbols that laid claim to the stone pillars and walls that have been erected by colonization and capitalism.

3. Two Spirits

An extremely moving and sorrowful story about the horrific murder of Frank Martinez. However, the valuable lesson in Two Spirited people provides an interesting commentary on the false gender-binary established by colonization. One of the most important films in regards to the intersectionality of race and (trans)gender.

4. Miss Representation

Miss Representation should be seen by young women and men alike. It critiques the sexism and misogyny within the American patriarchy by critically examining the media’s role in consistently disseminating sexualized images of women. Kwame Appiah’s discussion of ascription comes to mind, as these limited scripts presented in media provide young women with limited views of their own future, not to mention the limited perspective that men have of women after constantly seeing women through sexist prism.

 

A Recipe Towards Decolonization

(Decolonization is the act of disrupting  the various systems of oppression and repression. It is the dismantling not only of the legal and physical barriers that limit colonized peoples, but also it is the radical process of removing those ideological and mental barricades that continue to colonize our thoughts. Mental decolonial praxis demands that individuals and whole groups of people participate in the reclamation of history and cultural traditions. It necessitates the disruption of historical and cultural colonization, which has displaced peoples from knowing their ancestry. This post is in honor of those who cry out, “¡Ya Basta!” as they seek the knowledge, wisdom, and practices of their elders.)

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“The recovery of the people is tied to the recovery of food, since food itself is medicine: not only for the body, but for the soul, for the spiritual connection to history, ancestors, and the land.”

-Winona La Duke

I recently stumbled upon  Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel’s  “Decolonize Your Diet,” on Mujeres Talk. They believe there is a need for radical decolonization in the way in which we think about food. According to Calvo and Esquibel,  “personal food choices…[are] political acts” and as such, we must “[r]esist cultural imperialism by reclaiming ancestral foods.” This is imperative due to the historically exploitative practices of the American agriculture industry, the cancerous chemicals that migrant farm workers are exposed to (many of which are  Mexican@), the reality of GMO’s and the diseases perpetuated by the American food industry, as well as the displacement of cultural knowledge by depending upon corporations for growing and supplying food. What’s more, Calvo and Esquibel problematize the argument that health is linked to income by stating:

there is one notable exception to the equation of poverty = poor health—public health scholars have found that recent immigrants from Mexico have very low rates of mortality, infant mortality, and illness compared to other groups. Public health scholars have dubbed this phenomenon “The Latino/a Paradox.”(1) Recent Latino/a immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America, have better health than Latinos and Latinas who were born in the US. The health of recent immigrants rivals the health of the [w]healthiest Americans!

This presents a rather perplexing issue within our health care system, as the United States views health through a capitalist lens wherein wealth equates to a healthier lifestyle as well as the ability to afford better health care. But what the above quote truly reveals is the way in which indigenous and decolonized diets work as preventive care. It also underscores how the Mexican@s/Chican@s/ Xican@s/Latin@s living in the United States have a larger chance of having health issues stemming from colonized food industries.

For instance, people of color are transformed into diabetics through the food industry in the United States, not through pure genetics. Ameliamontes.com has a pretty concise summary of Michael Montoya’s Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality.

This book is a phenomenal read that explores how diabetes is constructed through other factors rather than simple genetics.

This book is a phenomenal read that explores how diabetes is constructed through other factors rather than simple genetics.

Accordimg to Ameliamontes:

“Genes do not cause chronic disease,” Montoya writes.  “Genes in certain bodies under certain conditions contribute to disease susceptibility” (187).  This may explain why in a family of 3 children, two have diabetes and one will not develop the disease.  It is not simply about blood but about a number of other factors (diet, exercise, living conditions, etc.) having to do with societal and political constructions.

Montoya’s book which was just published (University of California Press) is an excellent study in how our society is creating a population highly susceptible to chronic disease– whether or not you are of Mexican or Indian descent!
Making the Mexican Diabetic provides excellent arguments that point towards decolonizing our diets for our own health, but also in understanding how colonization has clearly led to the creation of health problems in our people. By returning to diets that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, GMO’s, and heavy pesticides (among other things) we can begin to unravel the dependence upon a food system that does not have health in mind. It is also the first step in reclaiming our peoples health by participating in traditional food preparation–a holistic approach to decolonizing our minds, bodies, and souls.
(if you’re interested check out the decolonize your diet Facebook page to try delicious and healthy decolonized food)