Not Neutral

Learning is nonlinear and does not have a definitive destination. Learning can be facilitated through practice, theory, and knowledge. In We Make the Road by Walking, Freire explains that practice creates knowledge however knowledge can be furthered by a theory. He shares that in failing to find answers through reading, he discovered that experience is one of the most effective and efficient ways of learning. It is important to study theories, however a theory not put into practice can be useless. Theories relate to a bigger picture. In the big picture, questions like “why?” and “what are the implications?” are in mind. These are important questions to explore while actively searching for root causes. In this class I have been able to expand my knowledge in the classroom and practice it in other areas of my life. I have generally become more outspoken and this alone has significantly heightened my learning. The WOKE presenters did an excellent job of actively practicing with their knowledge to learn through experience with other students. They had formed theories from experience and put their ideas into practice. I appreciated the rawness they invited to the classroom.

Freire and Horton equate neutrality with a complacency for the status quo. In context, the status quo is often the oppressive power structures which have a lot of control over many lives. A democracy does not work if people are passive or unopinionated. The neutral take the side of the loud, power seeking individuals which is problematic since the power hungry do not have in mind everyone’s best interest. At my community partner, the goal of the educators is to provide students with opportunities for a better life through college preparation. Students can receive one on one tutoring or simply are provided an academic environment with supplies to complete homework. This academic support system may provide students with the necessary resources to attend a university, but I have a feeling the students aren’t being educated to be world citizens either in school or in this program. They are being molded to fit into the authoritarian institutions instead of being educated on how to transform it. The questioning of power structures are not included in the program, so the program seems to have accepted the structures as fact. I cannot say for a fact no such education is being provided to the students since I am not there every hour of the program, but now I am interested in finding out.

My passion for social justice is a symptom of experience, just like any other activists passion. The will to change begins with the experience of injustice. There was not an event that transformed my worldview, but a person. My older sister has faced stigma throughout her life and she continues, in adulthood, to be confronted with the heavy intolerance of American culture. With the diagnoses of “high functioning autism,” my sister has opened my eyes to the injustices of mainstream world views. This class has broadened and enhanced my conviction in social justice and equal opportunity. I enjoy learning the truth and forming a more accurate depiction of the world. An issue of inequality, no matter what it is or who it involves, is an issue of humanity.