I was really inspired by Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The notion that stood out to me the most was the idea that those who have been dehumanized and oppressed see themselves in relation to the oppressed in the sense that they correlate being human and a “man” as being an oppressor. Considering this, it seems that those who feel that they have been stripped of their humanity feel that they may only gain back their sense of humanity by taking on the role of the oppressor and, in turn, try to strip their oppressors of their humanity.

I find this extremely interesting because it seems to relevant and true in our society today. Even personally, when I feel I have been wronged or humiliated, my first instinct is to lash out and get angry. It truly takes processing and thought to deal with things with grace and in the most effective and productive way: “liberat(ing) [one]self (the oppressed) and [one’s] oppressor as well” (44). In social movements, it seems to be a common theme for the oppressed to stand up and begin their fight with aggression. Often, riots can turn into violent tirades against the oppressors. Not only does this not foster true healing, but it also just reverses the problem and, in a sense, doubles the problem; we now have twice as many oppressors and oppressed. On the other hand, I think it sometimes takes anger to give the oppressed the confidence they need to stand up for their human rights but, in my opinion, the most effective movements have channeled the anger into graceful yet powerful steps toward humanity (i.e. Martin Luther King vs. the violence of the Black Panthers). Yes, this is easier said than done and it is difficult to hold back to reevaluate and positively re-appropriate one’s anger but I think that youth movements and social justice movements in general would see more effective change if they guide both themselves and the oppressors to rise above the violent mindset.


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