If your school experience was anything like mine, you were taught to seek “truth” and avoid innuendo hearsay and rumors. “Just tell the facts and let them speak for themselves”. I was further told that I could get the truth by reading certain books, newspapers and magazines as well as avoiding others. No one told me that all those suggestions were biased, that is they had a political agenda.
Paulo Freire (1921-1997) a Brazilian educator and author, growing up poor during the Great Depression of the 1930’s in Brazil and losing his father at the age of thirteen dedicated his life to improving the lives of the poor and marginalized. He saw the world differently than many of his contemporaries in Brazil often putting him at odds with those politically in control. Eventually, he prevailed and told his story leading to many awards and honorary degrees among them, the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.
Freire taught that while there may be one truth, we all, and that includes the poorest and most marginalized among us, have a distinct view of the truth based upon our experience. He further taught that we all need to listen to everyone, maybe especially to those whose experience is much different than our own, and hence their view of the truth may also be very different. In short he:
believed education could not be divorced from politics; the act of teaching and learning are considered political acts in and of themselves. Freire defined this connection as a main tenet of critical pedagogy. Teachers and students must be made aware of the politics that surround education. The way students are taught and what they are taught serves a political agenda. Teachers, themselves, have political notions they bring into the classroom. Freire believed that Education makes sense because women and men learn that through learning they can make and remake themselves, because women and men are able to take responsibility for themselves as beings capable of knowing—of knowing that they know and knowing that they don’t.Wikipedia
You can participate in Northside AARP’s monthly meeting this coming Tuesday, February 2 12:30 pm on Zoom to transform your world by listening to a possibly different view of American History than you were taught. We do this believing as Freire did, that hearing another view can help make us better people. One of our own neighbors, Don Bell will share his understanding of American History. Don is a retired higher education administrator and community activist.