Reflection

Many people associate oppression as a simplistic act of continual violence. However, the psychology behind it and application of it is much more relatable to our daily lives. Before Freire delves into how oppression extends to us college students, he first breaks it down traditionally. He explains the steps towards overcoming oppression. He believes that “the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well…Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both…” (Freire, 44). The oppressors cannot successfully fulfill this responsibility because they have become wired to maintaining standards that satisfy their modes of living. It is the weak who will realize that their subjugated lives are not the means of living, but a way of living. By “fighting for the restoration of their humanity they will be attempting the restoration of true generosity…” (Freire, 45). The oppressed are capable of freeing the oppressors from their disillusions of life. Freire continues to state the importance of the oppressed separation of their attachment and attraction towards the oppressor and the oppressors’ power. Freire also stresses the maintenance of dialogue among the oppressed as part of the process of humanization. Moreover, these ideas encompass the actions and minds of many Occidental students. Many students realize that oppression, in one form or another, has shaped their lives. As a result, organizations and clubs are formed to reflect, educate, and act. In the educational realm, Freire criticizes the “banking concept of education,” in which the student and teacher roles are extremely polarized. This, in itself, is a form of oppression because the students are forced to memorize the facts spewed by the teacher without the opportunity to provide any opinion or input. He extols the problem solving type of teaching in which the teacher steps down from the dominating role, resulting in teachers and students helping and learning with each other. Through this solidarity, students and teacher alike become critical thinkers and “understand more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the teacher…” (Freire, 9). This method is adopted in the liberal arts colleges, in which there are class discussions that allow students exchange ideas with one another. Through this, the teacher can listen and learn from the students, while occasionally providing input. This collaborative learning allows us all to grow as learners of knowledge. It is a type of freedom, as Bell-Hooks mentions, for teacher and student alike. As we all digest and exchange knowledge, we become empowered to think unboundedly. We become the engine behind our growth and our own motivators towards the change we want to make in our lifetime.

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