“The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within us” – Audre Lorde
Parker Palmer in The Courage to Teach, says, “We teach who we are”. It is a very profound statement, if we really think about it. For us to really understand this, we have to know that we have all been raised, cultured and socialized in colonial systems. It is tied to our notions of self, normal, good, bad, right, wrong, civilized, uncivilized, safe, unsafe, professional, unprofessional, success, failure.
Unfortunately, our learning has also been structured through these very systems. Each of us have benefited and been harmed by colonial structures to varying degrees. And the reality is that all the “service” industries- Education, Social Work, Health Care continues to fail – Indigenous, Black, racialized, ppl with identified learning needs and/or disabilities and those coming from poverty.
Many people don’t want to have these conversations- because it requires us to go deep within ourselves and wrangle with notions of our own “niceness” and kindness – “how good we are as people”, “our good intentions” without bring us back to our core purpose – what brought us to Education. It means we need to temper our egos and be vulnerable. And if we know that we have a debt to repay to these groups of children for decades of harm and being underserved – another question I have is – how do we “normalize” these conversations more widely across education?
To learn more about anti-oppression and to help us deepen our thinking, learning from scholars such as Kevin Kumashiro will be useful in your journey.
Keeping this in mind – what was the moment of “shift” for you in your thinking – what sparked wonder, curiousity, anger, worry, concern…about your practice in service to ALL children you were serving?