Tag: pedagogy

[quote] The oppressor consciousness…

Note: Much longer than usual quote from Freire today. It’s more important than ever to understand the oppressor mindset that Freire illuminates for us in the discourse below. While I could have shared bits of the following discourse over a few posts, I felt it important to keep this part of the analysis whole.  

The oppressor consciousness tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination. The earth, property, production, the creations of people, people themselves, time—everything is reduced to the status of objects at its disposal.

In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop a conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence they’re strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is a measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. 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 and to be the class of the “haves.”

As beneficiaries of a situation of oppression, the oppressors cannot perceive that if having as a condition of being, it is necessary condition for all women and men. This is why their generosity is false. Humanity is a “thing,” and they possess it as an exclusive right, as inherited property. To the oppressor consciousness, humanization of the “others,” of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion.

The oppressors do not perceive the monopoly on having more as a privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that, in the egoistic pursuit of having as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possessions and no longer are; they merely have. For them, having more is an unalienable right, a right they acquired through their own “effort,” with their “courage to take risks.” If others do not have more, it is because they’re incompetent and lazy, and worst of all it is their unjustifiable in gratitude towards the “generous gestures” of the dominant class. Precisely because they are “ungrateful” and “envious,” the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched.

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Amazon, Goodreads)

[quote] Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift.

The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to reject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest of human completion.

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Amazon, Goodreads)

[quote] Violence is initiated by those who oppress

Any situation in which “A” objectively exploits “B” or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression. Such a situation in itself constitutes violence, even when sweetened by false generosity, because it interferes with the individual’s ontological and historical vocations to become more fully human. With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed.

Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others and persons—not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the “rejects of life.” It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not the despised who initiate hatred, but those who despise. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who deny that humanity (thus negating their own as well).

— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Amazon, Goodreads)