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In most cases the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, the oppressor is always the dominant one. The oppressor represents the act of dehumanization. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, dehumanize is to deprive of human qualities such as individuality or compassion. In oppressed-oppressor relationships, the oppressor is doing just that. They criticize people they feel are of lower status then them or may behave in a way they are on familiar with. If they feel intimated by the person because of there own ignorance, instead of trying to understand, they judge and/or place them in different categories based on stereotypes. So in a sense the oppressor is dehumanizing themselves because of these acts. I don’t feel that the oppressors always know that they are doing so. Over time it becomes habit. I feel the oppressor is really insecure about themselves, and that is what starts this relationship. They too may have been the oppressed one before. While begin oppressed they witness the oppressors being dominant. They also see that the oppressor has the nice car, nice clothes, perfect family, high salary-paying job, and they are respected. In seeing this the oppressed feels that is how the have to act to be excepted. Like Paulo Freire, in a since this person is also oppressed because they oppressed themselves. They were once in the situation where they were the oppressed and in the process of removing themselves from the oppressed stage, they recognize they don’t want to be in that situation again. In fear of reaching that low point they then become the oppressors.
When we discussed in class what it means to be a human, some people said to be authentic, self-liberating, respect for others. My only problem with trying to define what it means to be human is this You define what it means, just as you define what it means to be normal. There is one definition. Just as you define what means to be normal, to put a definition behind that word is to purposely not include people. I then have to purpose these questions Are you human? Am I human? Because I am sure that the way we define authentic are completely different. So when I really think about it; if we put a true definition behind the word human then yes Paulo Freire is defiantly contradicting his self. By not including people we then become oppressors because some people might not be capable of finding those qualities in themselves and producing a positive out come.
My own personal oppressed-oppressor relationship to place while I was in grade school. All through elementary school and junior I was talked about everyday. I went to school and the teachers knew and did nothing about it. They really could not control it because they could not hear everything. I was the oppressed and I wanted to be like the oppressor. They were respected, what I had was not good enough for them, so I wanted what they had. I figured if I had what they had I would be excepted. Now because of that experience I have become somewhat of an oppressor. I have a hard time trusting people. I put up walls made of steel and have a hard time letting people pass. I am so afraid of hurting like I did then. I sat high standers and then when people reach them I still find reasons to find something wrong with them. I feel this is an act of an oppressor. I stated earlier to be an oppressor represents the act of dehumanization. To dehumanize is to deprive someone of his or her individuality or compassion. Am I not depriving someone of his or her compassion for me? Paulo Freire said that you have look inside yourself before you can begin to correct others.
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