Sanjana Singh

This week’s reading connected a lot with a class that I am taking about Women in Islam (and other Women’s Studies courses that I have taken); the ideas that Freire presents about the oppressor and the oppressed, and neocolonialist policies that view and construct people as oppressed and what is problematic about that. Primarily, as Freire indicates, it constructs a power relationship of an oppressed and an oppressor. By assuming that people in their positions and in their cultures are oppressed the people saying so are determining that the way that people are living their lives is somehow wrong. He says that this “paternalistic treatment” is unhelpful, perhaps because it does not incite real change. Real change comes from the so-called “oppressed” people “enter[ing] the situation” in order to deconstruct and eliminate the injustices against them (49). I feel like this kind of attitude is less superior and enables people to work with and not for people. The idea of one party (the privileged party) controlling a situation and prescribing what they think is the adequate solution, while tempting, is wrong in my opinion. You have to try to remove personal biases and opinions on what is right because ultimately it is not your life that you are seeking to change. If change is enacted together then it can be permanent and effective.

Do you think that this ideology of “working with” a less fortunate group is actually practical? Do you see any examples of when it has been implemented? Was it successful?

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