Cultural Insight

Walking the path of global and cultural understanding. This is a glimpse into my journey

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Fear Within

Can present day schooling hurt African Americans more than help?

If the value set or ideologies are based on a White supremacist point of view perhaps the answer is yes. If the purpose of the education is to maintain the existing system, and the existing system is not libratory in nature, the result is oppression of the participants.

Joe Kincheloe mentions that many teachers view education as “good” because their own experiences in education have been good. Without critical analysis of the existing system accompanied by critical pedagogy, teachers are destined to perpetuate a system that supports the regime of truth/ ideological state apparatus/ dominant ideology.

Kincheloe notes in his introduction that “dominant modes of exclusion are continuously “naturalized” by power wielders’ control of information. See Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson for more detail on how the minds have been of African Americans have been colonized.

Stunting of Potential
The entire country has low expectations for African American males. Kincheloe would say that we “cannot be understood outside the context that helped shape us.” The United States has shaped the future of African American males through a lens that best suits those in power. Are we trying to stunt the potential of African American males? The political terrain of our country leads me to believe that yes we are continuing to maintain a oppressive system that supports what Kinchloe calls the dominant power. There are plenty of examples of the hostility towards African Americans throughout the history of American educational system.

Politics and education go hand in hand. If a revolutionary curriculum significantly changed the ideologies of young people, the result would be a highly political. Think about protesting the Vietnam war or the American college student response to apartide in South Africa. As students learn about global issues, events and atrocities they begin to find a political voice.

We have talked about how knowledge and truth are manipulated. We have discussed how authority and power change the tides of ideology. We have talked about the role of the teacher and student engagement. So what is the bottom line on this? Nobody in schools is helping young African American males to understand the context of their situation. Who are they? Where are they? Why are they there? Where are they going? One can site any theory they like, the success of African American males directly opposes a White supremacist ideology.

So where does this White supremacist ideology come from? Fear. Fear of genetic extinction. Once you cut through all the political, economic, education, entertainment jargon, you are only left with fear that the next generation of children will be non-white. As Kinchleoe says the dominant power's intentions can "mutate in a kaleidoscope of everyday school life". However, since the begninning of this country, the fear of extinction has always been present. The fear has never mutated. The bond between a person of color and a white person does not produce another white person. That is what I think all this oppression around race is really about.
See what other people say about the fear within

The bottom of page 35 of the Kicheloe mentions withough an understanding of these specific dynamics (race, class, gender, sexual, cultural, and religions prejudice), teachers are too often unable - even with love in their hearts and the best intentions - to protect students from the radioactive fallout of hidden structures of racism, clas bias, patriarchy, homophobia, colonialism, and religious prejudice.

Exactly, the hidden structures are what maintains the system.


Blogger Jane Newport,RI said...

Yes, I agree it is the hidden structures that maintain the status quo. Teacher education is one of the important sources of this perpetual cycle of repression. In teacher education we are too concerned with fulfillling the mandate of the public school agenda which translates into support for the status quo. Teachers seem to have very little voice even when they have conscious awareness of the systmes efforts at marginalizing of 'others'.

4:22 PM  
Blogger carol said...

I also think that "good intentions" also maintain the status quo and continue the cycle of repression. In my foundations class I have discussed the danger of being colorblind and how it ignores and devalues the cultural, racial, social, and historical background of students of color. This issue is one of the most difficult to get across when students are insisting that "children will respond when you pay no attention to the differences."

6:34 PM  

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