decolonizing-education

  • Student:*hands me a stack of essays analyzing symbolism in Freddie D's "what is the 4th of July to a slave"
  • Me:thank you
  • Other student:MISS HAVE YOU READ MY ESSAY YET I REALLY THINK YOU'LL LIKE IT I WROTE ABOUT-
  • Me:-let me stop you right there. You literally just saw him hand me your essay. Literally a second ago. What makes you think I've already read your essay????
  • Me (internally):yes! They're excited about this text!
Colonial Education

it begins in the hallowed halls of my educational institutions 

where i find your mindset to be overly weak for me and my women,

fitting comfortably in to bourgeois construct where we clearly do not belong 

please take your wollstonecraft ideas of equality and justice 

out of my laughing face and continue to be enslaved 

to a set of ideals only applicable to one class and colour

i tread on a path born in 1469, long before 

the establishment of your first waves of feminism 


what is the meaning of empowerment 

if it comes at the cost of sexualisation 

my women are far above this,

our spines carry stories words fail to narrate 

many of us fighting from the moment of conception

to the very first time we catch a glimpse 

of this unbearably cruel world 

our ancestor’s cries simmer soul deep

erupting forth as fire when we open our mouths to speak

scorching your ears with the truth 

but here you are offering up textbooks and ideologies 

fit for nothing and no one 


it then continues with the white man’s literature of keats,

shakespeare, bronte, byron and many more being burnished in to my brain 

like hot iron from a naked flame 

they’re shoved down my throat until i retch out 

any remaining traces of my native tongue 

i see my brothers and sisters laying claim to our mother,

the land of five rivers that gave us life 

but many of us have forgotten our birth mother’s words 


excuse me miss, there is no denying 

these writers are absolutely amazing 

but do you not realise, i am living, breathing poetry

it has become an innate survival technique 

let me tell you about my mother and father 

gobind singh and sahib kaur 

and the likes of bhai nand lal

my people’s poetry become prayers 

as we’re instructed by nanak to burn worldly love,

rub the ashes and make ink of it 

to make the heart the pen and intellect the writer

tell me one thing, is there anywhere i can find something greater 


the worst is for last in between the four walls of my high school classroom

forced to acknowledge at face-value 

a warped rewritten version of history 

glorifying colonial exploits, the rape of 

my sacred soil and the sisters born from it 

stats flung like daggers;

we used to have control over one-fifth of the world’s population 

and a quarter of the globe’s entire land mass

these very same daggers pierce the poker face 

you’ve been holding so strong 

as you throw a few facts back at the teacher 

you’re thrown out of the room because the truth hurts him too much 

grades slip because sir trips of the notion 

that his beloved nation was insulted and challenged 

by someone his predecessors tried to quash 

but he’s unaware of the fact that you can kill the revolutionary but 

you most certainly can not kill the revolution 


please forgive me for not falling at this nation’s feet 

fostering a poison disguised as patriotism 

why would i want to touch the flag of your so-called great britain,

when it has been painted with the blue and red 

blood of my forefathers.


- j. kaur

In this context, diversity agendas are hindrances rather than stepping stones to justice and equity. Diversity might be the inclusion of a lesson about Chinese-American contributions to American infrastructure within a lesson about westward expansion. It might also be learning about traditional Native American garments during November lessons about the observation of Thanksgiving at Plymouth colony. In both cases, diversity signifies the inclusion of communities on the margins in ways that do not decenter dominance, but actually insulate it.

The inclusion of marginalized identities and experiences without decentering dominant narratives is an understanding of diversity that leaves oppressive structures intact, and in fact, insulates them from criticism. Diversity is very frequently the linchpin of liberal racism in education, and inclusivity becomes functionally useless if we do not also exclude via decentering violent normativities positioned as normal…

—  Decolonization vs diversity in education
Eurocentric values, which were the foundation of education in Brazil, still permeate the educational institutions and the positionality of educators. Monocultural domination is still current in Brazil, characterized by a European and post-colonialist “pristine” ideology and it still may be exploitative and repressive toward minority groups who are still perceived as limited, or challenged. One of the problems faced by proponents of multicultural education in the Americas is that languages, histories, and cultures of minority groups are not perceived as having equal value as those of dominant nationalities.
—  Elizabeth Murakami, University of Texas.
decolonization.org
Indigenous Place-Thought and Agency Amongst Humans and Non Humans (First Woman and Sky Woman Go On a European World Tour!) | Watts | Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society
Indigenous Place-Thought and Agency Amongst Humans and Non Humans (First Woman and Sky Woman Go On a European World Tour!)

Mind blowing article by Vanessa Watts - a much sought after correction to mostly white western men theorising the so-called ontological turn.