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Oppressed/Oppressor Dichotomy

Although it was not included in our reading assignment, I re-read the introduction. Immediately, Donaldo Macedo’s term “cultural schizoprhenia” (being present and yet not visible, being visible and yet not present) struck me (11). It seems as if many conversations around CUNY express this idea. I’ve heard the sentiment surrounding conversations regarding adjuncts and the changing CUNY demographics.

 

Freire’s  assertion that dehumanization negatively impacts those who are oppressed as well as the oppressors echoes one of Franz Fanon’s groundbreaking premises in Black Skin, White Masks (44). According to Freire, we cannot accept that this dehumanization is, historically speaking, the natural order of things. Here Freire states that the oppressed should assume a type of moral superiority and resist the urge to oppress oppressors as they (we) have been oppressed. It is therefore, our charge to free not only ourselves but our oppressors as well. Freire presents this idea as the foundation for his theory of problem-posing education.

 

I think that Freire still has a ton to offer us. Sadly, I’ve heard many professors across several CUNY campuses express contempt and/or pity for what they view as a body of students unworthy of their “knowledge”. This seems in line with Freire’s thinking. However, if we view CUNY through the same  lens of decoloniality as Freire, many, if not all,  teachers are also oppressed in one way or the other. All “professors” are not on the same socio-economic level; neither are we granted the same level of respect. Therefore, those practicing the same profession can fall on different sides of Freire’s oppressed/oppressor dichotomy. To complicate things even further, an “oppressed” professor can oppress students. Are these complications at odds with Freire’s manifesto? If so, can they be reconciled?Also, in the age of the corporate university, can our presence be described as cultural schizophrenia? How can we use technology to further what Freire calls libertarian education or problem-posing education?