Since I read Pedagogy of the Oppressed last fall, I have used Paulo Freire’s writing extensively, even in classes where it may not be directly related to the subject matter. Of his many celebrated writings, the line I still enjoy the most is:

“To surmount the situation of oppression, people must first critically recognize its causes.”

Critical thinking is absolutely vital to personal fulfillment and expression, in my opinion. Really, it could be called the only thing that matters in both public and private spheres. There is so much harmful media in the world that sometimes just watching it and drinking the kool-ade will make you less aware of the world around you. Ignorance has replaced apathy as  the largest enemy of social change.

But what does it mean to “critically recognize” the stem of oppression? In my opinion, nothing less than questioning every single piece of media you consume. Check if the producers of that documentary used unethical techniques while filming overseas, or if they’re distorting the truth for their own political gains. Look out for sitcoms that casually address immensely problematic ideas with the intent of getting a quick laugh at another’s expense. Even Youtube isn’t safe; it’s hard to be funny in under a minute if you’re not making fun of someone else.

Trust implicitly only the things you have produced, and even then question yourself after you are done with production. Challenge it all; everyone’s working an angle


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