Knowledge is power.

WHAT: Friere’s intro paragraph explains why reading is more than just understanding written words. He writes that, “the understanding attained by critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context (20).” Being able to fully grasp the concepts being read allows for an individual to feel a certain way, or for action to occur. He goes on to say that teaching adults to read and write is a political act. He says this because being able to read and write and express your thoughts and ideas is empowering and it can make a difference in the world of the individual. Friere says, “Learning to read and write means creating and assembling, a written expression for what can be said orally (23).”

SO WHAT: In Calderon’s excerpt, he makes a statement that relates to how the “dominant” discourse can affect the lives of a people group. “Certain individuals or groups have the power to define dominant culture, and therefore the power to oppress or liberate others (1).” Through written and oral communication, it is possible to get a point across and make a statement. Calderon continues on with examples of different perspective-taking instances. He spoke of President Obama, who through the acts of understanding the “other’s” perspective, was able to improve democratic participation while also gaining a better grasp of who he was as well as his cultural and family background (2). He spoke of leaders who took a stand at oppression, such as Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi, etc (2). Lastly, Calderon spoke of how learning and reading certain concepts empowered him as an individual, and his empowerment lead him to work towards bettering the lives of others in his community (2).

NOW WHAT: I always knew that education was a way for an individual to learn more about themselves and the world around them, but to really understand what is being taught and being aware of it all is something one must actively do. This class has taught me a lot about social inequality and how oppression is very real and we often overlook it because of the dominant culture and the dominant privileges we are used to. There are many problems and issues in this world that, through dominant cultural perspectives, make it seem as if the individual or cultural group is at fault when in actuality, the system in its entirety is flawed. Being aware of these injustices is the first step in being able to make a difference, and even if the system cannot be changed in its entirety, allowing your voice to be heard is better than staying silent.