Something that comes with education, of any kind, is the tendency to find ways to apply it and allow it to inform the way we now view the world. These new understandings and connections are the drive that makes us eternal students. What is complex, especially in the vital and often difficult path of education that unpacks and explains the functions of racism and oppression in a White Supremacist system, is allowing this to begin to naturally shape the way you experience and analyze the world moving forward. People may differ from one set of lived experiences to another, however, the oppressive system we grew up in also came with its own system of education that require a certain amount of deconstruction before new learning can affect change.
I have experienced this class from the perspective of a White male and can only speak from that perspective. For me, however this process of reversals – backtracking in order to progress forward – involves hesitation towards meddling with certain information and critical analysis outside of a specific and carefully designed class. I, among others with similar lived experiences find myself having to deal with incongruences between a previous world view and a new one that this class makes an effort to shape through discussion and difficult learning.
A factor that certain points of my education has exercised, Contemporary Racism specifically, is a specific lens of awareness that had ironically been dulled by a public school system and sharpened by choice classes I took in college. What comes with this lens is a shocking awakening to the depth of the roots of racism in systems that had never before been tied to inequality and oppression in my previous world picture. It is understandable how this shock may urge us to keep the analysis in the classroom – as if it were more of an activity than an element of interacting with the world around. I still have plenty of practice to do on how to use and understand the lens of awareness that education shapes my world through. How can our education best be put towards shaping our world views and sharpening these lenses?
3 thoughts on “Lens of Awareness: Racism Outside of the Classroom”
This is beautifully written, Kyle! I also have to echo what Wilhelmina said and what Connie has told us in class – we need to keep reading. I think a lot of the time, people don’t know where to begin and don’t know when they can start the conversation. The key here is that the conversation is already happening; we just need to join it.
The simple answer to this is read. Keep reading and developing these lenses (I’m sure there’s another layer to what you know). There are many POC willing to talk about racism. Remember that it benefits white society to not talk about this and to not have people aware of this. This is a skill that has to be visited over and over again, just like learning and keeping up with a new language. The next step, then, would be to embody the things that you’ve learned and apply them in the real world (by getting involved with organizations that already exist, creating your own foundation, engaging in research, building community, etc.).
Many of the thoughts and ideas that you’ve brought up here are ones that I myself have contemplated. For me, especially as a senior about to embark into the “real world”, I have been thinking a lot recently about how I can foster an environment of discourse and critical intellectual thinking in my daily life.
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