Carol A. Hand
Today, the world is in turmoil – violence, death, war, hunger, refugees, and floods. Instead of focusing on things I cannot change, I ponder the responsibilities I may be able to fulfill. I wonder if any of this will make the world a kinder place. Yet these are the thoughts that came to me this morning.
Facing scrutiny, rejection and acceptance
Looking back, I wonder which was more difficult to reconcile
What made me think I had the right to enter another’s world
To study them with a colonizer’s tools
Participant observation, fieldnotes, and a tape-recorder
To freeze their culture with descriptions and interpretations
Not necessarily their own
I can understand the rejection
What motivated others to acquiesce to my request?
The responsibility of acceptance still weighs heavy on my heart
Do I share what I learned or keep it quiet?
Do I analyze or simply report other’s words?
Will sharing make a difference in their lives or mine?
Can knowledge, objectivity and critical analysis lead to compassion?
Will any of this make a difference – urging others to understand and be kinder
To become more inclusive and accepting of difference, more respectful of all life?
Photo: My Grandson’s Second Spring
Today, the words of Paulo Freire bring me comfort.
The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a “circle of certainty” within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side. (Freire, 2000, p. 39)
Paulo Freire (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th Anniversary Edition). New York, NY: Continuum.
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