Tag Archives: oppression

Do You “Get It”?

4 Nov

I’m not exactly comfortable with blogging, yet lately it is something I feel like doing often. I have been realizing many things not only about myself but also about others that have been greatly affected me in ways both professionally and personally.

I am starting to realize that some people “get it”. I am not exactly sure what this “it” is, but it definitely shows through in certain people. The more education classes I have the more I realize that most people just do not get “it”. What is this “it”? It could maybe take on the word oppression. It could represent a greater understanding of people, and of life. It could represent this generation of teachers, and how we need to start acting differently and changing things before we can progressively move ahead. This “it” is something I see in my peers, and I would like to say I can see in myself. This “it” separates the teachers from the pre-service teachers. “It” is what I want to be reflected in every aspect of my life.

This is really confusing, and the reason it is so confusing is that I really don’t even understand it myself, I can just see it. Mostly what I see is that a lot of my peers do not have “it”. My first experience with this was over the course of my second year of University. I wrote a blog about my roommate and oppression, and for the first time I not only was starting to realize that some people don’t have “it” but also realized that I was starting to understand “it”.

It’s happening again. I obviously understand that racism is everywhere, as well as oppression, but the more I meet new people and get involved, especially within the education faculty, I am finding that oppression really takes on different roles. I am used to feeling oppressed for being Aboriginal. It’s not a good thing, but I am very used to the feeling. Writing a paper on oppression last year was the single most important assignment I have ever done in my life. By defining what I thought oppression was I really found a way to recognize it in my life.

Currently I am starting to understand different kinds of oppression. The voting that has taken place within the University has had a real impact on me, and has helped define numerous aspects in my life. I am finding that many of the people around me have taken a definite stance on this topic and by doing so they are affecting others around them. Today someone told me, “Did you see that girl right there? She did a presentation in our class about CFS, and ever since then I haven’t been able to have any respect for her, just knowing that she voted yes.” This has stuck with me all day. It is driving me nuts. I never said anything; it is another one of those situations where I couldn’t decide whether to say something or not. I chose not to say something because I knew that by expressing my opinion to this individual it would change our relationship, and I would have a difficult time in the future as I spend a lot of time with this person due to extra curricular activities. It took me a while to realize the feeling I had was so similar to when I don’t say something concerning an Aboriginal topic. It is very tough listening to comments like this, because people’s opinions are their own and I just don’t find it very fair to judge them on that. Knowing someone voted yes in the referendum should not change an opinion of anyone. I have a bunch of friends who felt strongly on this referendum and on both sides of the vote, and they have never once made me feel like if I didn’t agree with them our relationship would change.

It’s very frustrating.

What’s more frustrating is when I am in a situation where I feel uncomfortable like this; the person making me uncomfortable is usually a teacher.

Over the last two weeks a bunch of things just seem to be happening at once, and I have felt like I have been overwhelmed with frustrations. My thoughts have been extremely focused on the referendum, and really not so much with the referendum itself but the actions taken regarding the referendum. Another thing that has been brought to my attention is people’s thoughts on addiction. I am in a position where addiction’s haven’t really affected my life directly, but has affected people who are extremely close to me. Seeing addiction in a person, and how it has affected the lives of those around me has made me understand a lot of things about addiction. Saying that “getting rid of alcohol” would make the world a better place seems to be an empty statement filled with ignorance. Who are we to judge whether a person is “bad” or “good” based upon the addictions that have affected their lives.

Back to this concept of “it”. I find the people who really understand it are those that have been affected by some form of oppression. This first hand effect gives them a different understanding, and I really can see it in different people. Wanting to change things seems to be a huge factor. I constantly want to change things, make them better, and find ways to make things more efficient. I find things that are wrong very easily, and I would like to think its because I can put myself in the positions of others. I find the more I go along in education the more I cling to certain people, and the people I can really trust and tell things are these people who “get it”. My closest friends seem to “get it” and I feel like I can talk with them. I am fortunate enough to be very close with my best friend, who lets me vent to her my frustrations, but at the same time understands where I am coming from. I find her to be one of the biggest supports in my life, and by having her, as well as other friends who I trust completely, I feel like I don’t have to stand alone all the time.

I find myself drifting away from the people who “don’t get it”, I easily become frustrated with speaking with them and I don’t connect in the same way. This frustrates me greatly because I don’t think that is very fair of me. For the last two weeks I haven’t spoken very much with one of my closest friends because she didn’t understand why I have been upset. This hasn’t been fair of me, and I recognize it and am working on it… but at the same time I have also become closer with some people over the past couple of weeks. I connect better with people who are also in education; it makes sense because they have the same aspiration as me. I want to surround myself with these people because I want to learn as much from them as possible. Surrounding myself with these people who “get it” seem to make me understand people more in general.

I ramble on forever, and it probably doesn’t make any sense, but I feel the need to collect my thoughts into sentences. Typing it out seems to give my thought some substance and help me make more sense of it.

Reflecting is a big part of teaching right?

That’s all I have for now,
Goodnight.

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One blog a year sounds good to me?

3 Mar

I guess i don’t blog… LIE. I facebook my little heart out, daily, and update my status constantly! That is my own form of blog… take for instance my status today::

“Street art doesn’t belong to anyone, you can’t buy it you can’t sell it, it’s not one persons in particular, its ours, nobody has more access to it than anyone else, we are all equal, it is living, changing, growing, you don’t know where its coming from and you don’t know who’s doing it, it’s not going to last for ever but it is for every one, you just have to have the courage to go out there and do it…”

This is not my quote, but rather a collection of the most powerful quotes from a short film I watched today called To Be Seen By Alice Arnold. I am currently working on a project about what was originally graffiti but has turned into street art as a whole. I am hoping to create an entire art unit about this street art phenomenon. I find street art to be absolutely beautiful, and the meaning behind it even more so. The quote about sums up the most beautiful words I listened to expressed about street art today, and have now created my view on what street art is. I don’t know if anyone will actually read this, but I guess if anyone has any ideas for incorporating street art into a lesson I would love to hear them and add them to my list (which is already becoming huge).

Also… Twitter…. It occupies my time some nights for a while. I have made my Twitter into something specific, and that is of music. Rather than updating what I am doing, I am only updating what I am listening to. Not only that, but I am posting the most important lyrics I hear in the song as well as the song itself. It is my music blog. I used to do it on facebook, but then people got annoyed with the constant updates so I switched it to twitter, where it doesn’t matter as much because I don’t have anybody on twitter anyways. It feels weird updating my twitter, knowing not many people are actually reading it, but at the same time it seems just as important to me. If someone were to read it, and read all of the songs (which are never repeated) they would basically know a lot about who I am, in a non creepy way. I don’t care if people read it, just putting it on the internet lets me express myself. Also, I have a very large collection of music, and by posting the lyrics it makes me really listen to each song, and eventually I would love to have all of my music on my twitter!

Continuing on with art, I have found lately that I look at everything from an aesthetic view-point, and the more I continue on with school the more I see the importance of aesthetics in school, and basically life. A huge impact on this has been the Olympics. The Olympics have basically have had the biggest impact on me I think in my entire life. I have never been so proud to be Canadian. I watched every single event, and knew the schedule off the top of my head. The opening ceremonies truly displayed the creativity that comes out of Canada and literally brought me to tears. The medals, I think, are one of the most beautiful creations ever. I watched the youtube video about the medals and it amazes me. The art that went into the medals, just by the curves to match our country side, and the patterns on the back is amazing. I think it is also truly amazing that all of the medals are different pieces of the art work and you need the entire set of medals to create the whole picture. Enough about the olympics, it has been my life for the past two weeks.

Another thing that has truly impacted me has been my living experience this year. I haven’t been able to really tell anyone about it, besides my close friends and family, but I have this strange feeling that it is alright to put it here and no bad will come from it. I am of First Nation decent, my mother is Aboriginal, and my grandfather is aboriginal. I am proud of this fact and I have no problem telling anybody this. I am also not visually Aboriginal, that is, at first glance it would not be the first thought you would have. I know that this is not nearly as difficult, oppression wise, as being a visual minority, but it does have its hard aspects. I find that I am often in a position where I can’t decide if I should or should not clarify that I am First Nations. It is a difficult decision, when around someone who is maybe being racist or making racist comments, and I don’t know if I should say “Hey I’m Native” and have them react in a certain way (usually defensive which doesn’t make things better), or of I should not say anything at all, and feel like I am ashamed of who I am. It is a difficult struggle that has become more and more apparent as I have gotten older, as I really have never been exposed to much racism in my life. In EPS 200 I wrote the most important paper of my life to date. I wrote a paper on Oppression and Anti-Oppressive education. Reading journal articles about this topic, as well as constructing my own definition of what Oppression is, has help shaped who I am. Now, on to the living conditions I am facing. I have a racist roommate. (Saying it on here seems like much less of an accusation, because I feel like there isn’t any way I can deal with this problem I face daily) She knows I am Aboriginal, and yet she continues to make comments. I can’t even begin to describe the extent of her racism, and the ignorance she portrays through her words. After writing the paper, I understand how she reacts, and I even understand why she is racist… the real problem is, that it really takes a toll on me. Living with her has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life, and it’s really shaping the person I am becoming. I know that I can’t just get mad at her, I have to be calm and if I do so choose to argue with her I need to choose my words carefully. Remaining calm while being dragged down by her ignorant words is the hardest thing. And still I have to live with her, and see her everyday, and not cause conflict as it would only make it worse for her… It will not get better, being the person that she is, by having someone lecture her, or tell her that she is racist, because she has even said, “well I’m just racist, and nothing is going to change that.”

The most sickening part is she is in the education program.

Each day is really hard for me, but I know it is making me a stronger person… and I think it is happening for a reason. Over the course of this year I have heard things about ECS and how there is much more education about First Nations, and everyone has to take INDG, and I think that is where I want to aim to with my life. I can see the problems that these classes could be facing, and I would like to be the one who is tackling them, head on, ready to make the program as strong as it could be… I have decided the teacher I want to be is the teacher who is good enough to teach an education class at the University. It is a high goal, but I know that I will be involved with First Nations education and content in some way.

I guess that is all I really have to say,
See you next year,
Samantha Douglas