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Freire Reading Pt. 1

JBacchus's picture

As many others in the course, I have previously read and studied Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I find that this book tends to be an ultimate foundation for our education department (clearly evident by the name of the Praxis Program). As I have talked so much about this book as a whole, I chose for this (more than likely) final reading of Freire to focus on intimate details of the reading. 

I was struck when Freire argues that the "great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed [is to] liberate themselves and their oppressors as well" (44). He writes that the oppressors cannot "find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves" (44). He follows up this thought with the argument that "true generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity" (45). At the end of last semester I had a discussion with a professor (who shall remain unnamed) of the department about the (what she called) "internationalization" of Bryn Mawr College. This conversation turned to a more political and social discussion of the "internationalization", as she knows fully that I tend to be more conservative in my views than the rest of my peers. She argued that she was against this "internationalization" for reasons of what Freire would call, "false charity". She was against it, not for the very principal of having a diverse college, but for the possible negative perceptions. Her view was that, as Bryn Mawr College was recently awarded the representation of the highest population of international students, it would be viewed as a Western attempt to swoop in and rescue those who we determined as needing rescuing. This was a prominant discussion in my Third World Feminisms class, which frequently discussed the role of outside organizations entering into what they viewed as oppressive communities. If this is the case, are the oppressors not those that are also oppressed but in a different way? Oppressed by what they view as necessary in terms of "false charity"? From this, is there a single population that is not oppressed?