One example that I experienced with oppression was around our Black History program. There was so much controversy around our theme, which was Black Inventors, until many staff wanted to call it quits. The confusion began with an article from an Internet site which dispelled all black inventions was presented to some staff members. The article had no author and we could not find any information on the organization. The article caused many to be confused and question any of the inventions. They began research and found articles to support both sides. One of the teachers stated that she was so confused that she didn’t really know who she was. Through much dialogue and reliable books and articles, we were able to move forward with our program with a better understanding of the Black culture. Although the issue is not settled for some, we will continue to dialogue about this topic. The oppression was the thought of even considering to cancel our activity as a result of society demeaning the work and contributions that Blacks made to this society.
Equity was diminished since one culture (the dominant culture) validated or not validated the work of the inferior culture. The staff who introduced the article were of the dominant culture and caused the inferior culture to feel disconnected from society.
This incident saddened me greatly. There has been so much work and sweat put into tearing down these behaviors and acts that when issues like this come up, all of that work was for nothing. It made me more aware that we need to have more dialogue, book studies and opportunities to confront oppression, prejudice and bias.
In order for this situation to change, we would have to change. The staff would have to be honest about their own biases and prejudices.