is education the only way?
December 28, 2013
my anon friend from yesterday wrote this:
to me social justice is about encouraging widespread education and enlightenment of issues (the only real way to effect change)
i”ve written on many occassions that, above all, i”m a pluralist. i believe that there are many paths and many roles we can take on our way to liberation. this person clearly disagrees. indeed, this is an attempt on their part to weild hegemonic control over ‘social justice” discourse.
while i wouldn”t say that my blog doesn”t exist for education, it does for a targeted demographic and that i haven”t more overtly taken an educational role, it always troubles me when ppl want to punish everyone else for their lack of imagination.
~only real way~
orly? how do u no this?
i can”t even think of a single example of real, substantive, and widespread change that arose primarily through education and ‘enlightenment.” not even one example.
this also seems a little… contra to history.
one of the interesting things about this stance is that it assumes that oppressors don”t know or realize that they are being oppressive. which, i”m fairly certain isn”t actually the case.
if colonialists didn”t know what they were doing was wrong, why the fuck did they develop entire branches of science to justify what they were doing? one does not ‘accidentally” and ‘unknowingly” via ignorance take over a quarter of the globe (see British Empire) or have there only be 22 countries they haven”t invaded and/or had a war with out of around 200 countries (see Britain).
and no country or area once a british colony gained independence via ‘education”. not a single, solitary one. even a settler state like canada just slowly legislated its independence. but it definitely wasn”t about ‘education.”
so, the real question here is: what is this ‘education” you speak of?
if oppressors know that they are doing evil, what are they ignorant about?
the reasons they do evil? that their justifications for doing evil are wrong? what?
it can”t be the justifications thing, which is what i know a lot of ppl focus on, but this is demonstrably not something that works. when you debunk one justification for oppression, all that usually ends up happening is the justifications become more subtle.
this is how a place like the US can go from enslaving Black ppl and biological racism, accidentally giving Black men the vote in the 14th ammendment but passing laws to prevent access via ‘humanism,” red lining, repealing the Voter”s Rights Act/colorblind racism/the school-to-prison pipeline/war on drugs/police violence, and so on1.
one of the things that oppressors are great about is that when you show their lies for what they are…. they just come up with more lies.
why? because they know they are doing evil. they know and they need a reason to feel good about it. but also, fundamentally, they kinda just don”t give a fuck.
so. again. what are we to educate our oppressors about? and why should we spend time doing so?
ultimately, it often seems to boil down to getting the oppressive gaze to see us as human. to actually, once and for all, recognize this humanity and stop being so fucking evil.
but my humanity isn”t contingent on the oppressive gaze.
and why the hell should i (or anyone else) spend time on a strategy that has no real evidence that works? or spend time trying to educate oppressors when they cannot even grasp the most basic, fundamental fact:
that i am human. that we are human.
how am i supposed to educate someone who is acting like i”m a monkey that learned to speak? too buzy marvelling at the phenomenon to bother listening.
it is like that first episode of the Boondocks. Where Huey dreams of telling white ppl the truth and it causes mass panic… but then he is around all these rich, white ppl at a garden party and tells them the truth and all they do is clap and smile.
this is what educating your oppressor looks like.