Monday, May 17, 2010

sojo: politics of identity oppression

Remember last weeks post about a Sojo writer claiming Arizona is against "ethnic studies"? Here's a reminder of what that law would ban, from the Huffpo.

Under the ban, sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer by the state legislature Thursday, schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Another Sojo writer now joins in.

Pedagogy of the Oppressor: Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban

Here are some gems from that article.

It should come as no surprise that Arizona schools Superintendent Tom Horne supported a recent bill by Gov. Brewer to ban ethnic studies classes in the public schools. Horne worries that these “ethnic studies” classes teach students that they are oppressed. In a recent CNN interview, Horne said, “We should be teaching these kids that this is the land of opportunity. If they work hard, then they can achieve their dreams. And not teach them that they are oppressed.” Why should they not be taught that they are oppressed? Simple: Because they are! And he fears what an “awakened” group can do against the forces of oppression that keep many in the dark.

No, they are not oppressed. Not here. Here, they have the opportunity to leave behind their oppression, and actually find success. But this Sojo writer would rather have them think they are still oppressed, because if they didn't think that, if they though they could succeed, they would likely not vote for the people who want to make them dependent on government support.

Horne, in an attempt to elicit contempt for ethnic studies, remarks that their textbook, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, was written by Paulo Freire, “a well-known Brazilian communist.” He attacks the author but does not address his ideas. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Friere distinguishes between banking and transformative education. The latter is education that inspires students to forge a more humane social order by overcoming oppression and other obstacles to the humanization of all peoples. Banking education, on the other hand, simply instills in students the tools and knowledge used to perpetuate the dehumanization and oppression of others.

No surprise that a Sojo writer would defend a Brazilian communist, or a communist of any ethnic ilk for that matter. But his characterization of Friere's kins of education, probably accurate, are still rather unhelpful. "Education that inspires students to forge a more humane social order" sound rather like lib-speak for what they've being trying to do for years, which has basically made the US an education laughing-stock. By "banking education", then, I understand an education that actually teaches students something important, like how to do work that allows them to feed themselves and their families, pay their bills, and have some pleasures like satellite TV and a nice home library.

Horne evidently prefers banking education. Students must learn to work hard, which means succeeding while leaving others behind.

This is so laughable as to be almost un-funny. Yeah, kids, don't work hard, your Uncle Sam will give you all you need, so long as you be good little liberal agitators.

Pathetic. Sojo should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this nonsense.

No comments:

Post a Comment