Practical Magic: How to Take a Decolonial Approach to Educating

Education is one of the most oppressive tools employed by the settler colonial society that is the United States. The information we are fed as students is purposefully crafted to support the white supremacist notion that white people are the sole or most important thinkers, operators, and history makers. History, especially, is fashioned in a way that posits Western empires at the center of the universe and glorifies violent colonial processes. Given that schools are mostly structured as hierarchical, teachers easily become oppressors to youth, stripping them of autonomy and self-actualization. Educational resources are distributed unevenly and further disadvantage poor and BIPOC communities.

As someone who has been a reading comprehension and literacy educator for middle schoolers, and writing tutor for undergraduate students, I recognize that I am navigating a position of privilege. I’ve been given the capability to perpetuate harm towards students. But I’m not with colonial white supremacist bullshit, so I ensure that I am doing all I can to actively reduce the harm orchestrated by systems of oppression and work toward building a world in which the model for education is holistic, liberating, and guarantees that each student is valued and given the tools they need to succeed.

Before I continue, I want to stress that colonial structures can never be fully decolonized as long as they are standing. No matter how transformative or radical our praxis may be, we are still working in foundations that were created with oppressive intentions and constructed on stolen land. Ultimately, we will never be free until we give land back, sovereign power is restored to Indigenous peoples, and a new foundation is built.

However, does that mean we should give up our efforts in making the world a better place? Fuck no. We all have a responsibility to lift each other up and lead with care.



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