Featured

Introduction

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

My social location consist of being a young, spiritual, lower class, heterosexual, black African American, male, able body, and educated. My family dynamic in regards to its culture, beliefs, and values are very different, coming from my mother’s to my father’s side. My Father is first generation from Nigeria. In contrast my mother is a Black American from Flint Michigan. With these two prospective with my mother being of African decent living in America and my father being born and raised in Africa for most of his life has given different prospective on culture, beliefs, and values.  For myself and two sisters this family dynamic of the merging of culture, beliefs, and values of an Black American and first generation from Nigeria has blended together to make its own culture, beliefs, and values within our nuclear family system.  

On my mother’s side her family’s culture are the contributions that Black Americans made towards the larger American society. An example and good representation of the culture on my mother’s side is that on every major holiday my mother side of the family gets together for dinner. A dish that is always served is chitterlings which are the intestines of a pig, and historically this dish was created during the enslavement of Africans. When hogs were butchered slave owners kept the preferred cuts of meat and the remaining part were given to the slaves who created the dish of chitterlings. I used this as an example because it highlights a reoccurring theme that you will see when exploring Black American culture and that is the innovation and creation of things that were deemed bad or useless.  

The ethnicity on my mother side is Black American and I chose this term “Black American” instead of the more popular term “African American” because Black Americans have a shared and common national and cultural tradition which is different from that of Africans depending on which part of Africa they are coming from. This cautious choice was made through the observations that I have made from talking and spending time with my mother side and father’s side where it became prevalent how different the two groups are. 

On my mother’s side one value that is the polar opposite to my father’s side is the value on education. My mother’s side dose not but a huge emphasis on education in comparison to my fathers a great example of this is when talking to family members on my father side the first thing asked is “how are your studies” rather than “how are you doing.”  

My father’s side is heavily embedded into the Nigerian Yoruba culture. In a Yoruba family, the family lives in large residential area called a compound, the male lives in a compound where he was born until he dies and will be buried in this compound.  

For myself and two sisters this family dynamic of the merging of culture, beliefs, and values of an Black American and first generation from Nigeria has blended together to make its own culture, beliefs, and values within our nuclear family system.  In regards to our culture my sisters and I have the privilege of knowing were exactly in African we are from due to my father’s side and we are also in touch with the sacrifices and contributions Black American have made in improving America from my mother’s side. One of the many beliefs and values that were instilled into us from the emergence of my parents are the importance of an education but also make sure you are enjoying what you’re doing. 

3-set-Venn-diagram

From my birth, my parents have been preparing me for the realities of living in America. This can be seen in the name that was given to me, Akintunde Christopher Oluwadare. I was given a traditional Yorba first name but was also given a common Cristian middle name from my father and mother to be able to decide from once I was of age. This was done to help me assimilate and fit in to main stream America if I felt I needed to with my common Christian name.  An expectation that wasn’t overtly said but was expected of me was to be able to function and relate to Black culture, and African culture while living in western society.  Having these expectations from a young age has made me able to relate to others easily and to be able to function and communicate within different systems.  

Popular Education

This week’s reading of Paulo Freire first two chapters of Pedagogy of the Oppressed was my first exposure to Freire’s work. While reading I immediately found myself taking breaks analyzing his critiques of the relationship of the oppressed and oppressors. One excerpt from the text that really resonated with me:

“They will not gain this libera­tion by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it. And this fight, be­cause of the purpose given it by the oppressed, will actually consti­tute an act of love opposing the lovelessness which lies at the heart of the oppressors’ violence, lovelessness even when clothed in false generosity.”

Once reading this excerpt I became very critical of his use of “lovelessness”, to me it insinuated that the oppressed will have to provide love to correct the imbalance. This statement of love became even more hard to grasp once Freire began to touch on how the oppressed tend to become the oppressors when given the chance, which made me start to rethink the term of “lovelesness” as Power instead. 

A prime example of how power plays a role in the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor is the power dynamic that was displayed in the Black Panthers movement. the Black Panthers held political education classes designed to end gender bias in the African community. I used this as an example because it shows an organization advocating for an oppressed group (Africans) and how within the community there is a power dynamic in regards to gender.  

For me, I view myself as a popular educator. My definition of an affective popular educator is someone who comes into conversations as a teacher and learner, has strong interpersonal skills that will allow them to find that one commonality to engage and create the beginning stages of questioning society and systems on their own. I will always assess myself as someone who has room for improvement in becoming an effective popular educator.  

 

Intersectional Identities

Before Learning about intersectionality, I was first exposed to the theory of Womanism, after reading about the second wave of feminism and how many women of color started to feel excluded. Womanism gain much popularity in the 60s through an African-American woman in the Black Panther movement who realized that even though she was contributing to the Black Panther movement, which was fighting for black rights she was still being faced with discrimination based on her gender within  the movement. (I think this point also speaks on another issue          dealing with capitalism and how it has shaped our society and seeped into social movements with the ideology of there is a limited amount of resources to go around so one group has to vie for those limited resources). Womenism didn’t get its official name until Alice Walker coined the term Womanist in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. I found this very interesting and wanted to learn more about it because when talking and reading about feminism it often has a high focus on white cisgender women and it also doesn’t focus on the globalization of women’s rights.  

After learning about Womanism and how different identities plays a role in an individual’s life I started to learn more about intersectionality which is still a relatively new theory. I was first formally introduced to this theory through the readings of Kimberle Crenshaw who coined the term as a way to help explain the oppression of African-American women. I think this is a key aspect when discussing Intersectionality, to talk about how it came about and the thought process behind its original use, this is often overlooked.  

Instead of talking about myself and my different identities I would rather speak on one of my greatest influences and an individual who is often not recognized. An individual who has had a significant influence on me is a man by the name of Bayard Rustin. He had made it his career goal to give accommodation to underrepresented populations. Rustin combined the pacifism of the Quaker religion and the non-violent resistance taught by Mahatma Gandhi. Bayard Rustin introduced nonviolence to the civil rights movement in the United States by introducing the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. Bayard Rustin was an openly gay man in an interracial relationship in a fiercely racial and homophobic era. With these different identities he exemplified the importance of collaboration and inclusion to achieve a mutual goal, which I feel is at the essence of intersectionality.  

it is important to be attentive to intersectionality in social work practices because individuals are complex and may have a dominate identity but are made up of multiple identities and being able to acknowledge those identities and show how they are connected is a very important tool to unite and achieve a mutual goal.  

Proposed topic: HOME

I want to take a non-traditional direct approach of capturing the feelings and thoughts of students on campus within the school of social work and other disciplines. I will compile a group of four students and ask each student individually three questions: 1) What made you choose a predominantly white institution? 2) Has is been everything you expected? 3) Do you feel welcomed and heard? This will be presented and packaged into a 2:50 minute video.

This Idea sparked from my undergraduate research entitled Exploring African American Boys Resilience in Secondary Education, which Conducted research that examined the prevalence of internal and external factors that have historically characterized resilient African-American male college students in prior studies (i.e. cumulative grade point averages above 3.0) and assessed the contextual presence and prevalence of these attributes among 6th and 12th grade African American boys attending predominantly white, black, and racially diverse public educational institutions.

Any thoughts on the project or things I should include?

Oppression

Oppression has been an underlining problem throughout America’s existence. Recent incidents has brought this undertoning problem to the forefront. A macro Cause of this, is the representation of American citizens in its democracy follows the framework of Rousseau’s theory of “the general will” and “common good” very closely. The general will / common good entails that what is best for the majority is best for everyone.  Even if that means what is best for the majority is the oppression of the minorities to sustain their power. It also brings up a great talking point of what is being done to maintain the disproportionate power structure between the majority and the minority, and also what’s good for the majority if is it also good for the minority.

Even though numerically European American’s are out numbered by other groups in America they (European American’s) have a strong hold on the social capital in the United States. With this capital, much influence is made on what is deemed acceptable and or appropriate. A prime example of this is the name that was given to me, Akintunde Christopher Oluwadare. I was given a traditional Yorba first name but was also given a common Cristian middle name from my father and mother to be able to decide from once I was of age. This was done to help me assimilate and fit in to main stream America if I felt I needed to with my common Christian name. Dr. Colin Holbrook, a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture showed students with stereotypically “black” sounding names tend to be labeled as troublemakers by teachers. Job applicants with such names are less likely than their white-sounding counterparts to get called in for interviews. this preconceive notion shows how social capital can transform into economical capital, with the denial of direct and potentail financial opportunity based off of preconceived notions that are associated with “black” sounding names.

Mo’olele

If I wasn’t up in your class,  

I just might be dunking a ball,  

flipping a burger,  

attempting a murder  

or selling you an eighth, 

pan handling on the corner of 8th   

Or I could be on stage filming a crowed, 

On the honor roll makin my mom proud, 

Receiving awards for the community I serve, 

Speaking to crowds, 

making change with words.