privilege

“Skirting the Issue”: a response & call to action

Moontime Warrior

I submitted a shorter version of this op-ed to the Winnipeg Free Press on June 17, 2015, in response to Professor Joanne Boucher’s opinion piece entitled “Dress-code message at U of W sexist”.

After this, the WFP published a response, “Pipe ceremony dress code uncalled for”, where Prof. Boucher was quoted once more, along with four men (any one of whom could’ve redirected media attention to an Indigenous woman). The voices of Indigenous women and Two-Spirits excluded on an issue that at its core impacts our bodies and our lives. We are the ones who face the consequences of these discussions, along with the backlash.

Finally, rather than choosing to publish anything submitted by Indigenous women (or any of the many Indigenous women academics who speak publicly on ceremony and protocol), the Winnipeg Free Press published an editorial calling the whole thing a result of “identity politics”. The issue of…

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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.”

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.