Police Brutality, Paulo Freire, and the Culture of Oppression

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“[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”

-Paulo Freire

Greetings from The Dawn.

Today we aim to discuss the nature of oppression and how the events of our time are only a small symptom of a deep, systematic problem. This is not a foreign concept. Throughout history, those who are in power have attempted to suppress and control those who could potentially compromise that power. History also shows that the targets of oppression are overwhelmingly people of color, or more specifically, the colonized.  Philosophers and critical thinkers have long been proponents of the concept of liberating oppressed peoples through pedagogy, for it is only through education that the mind may be liberated from the stronghold of the oppressive institution in which one may find oneself.

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Before going further, we would like to inform our beloved readers that The Dawn is an advocate for all people of this fine Earth, and we do see that the problems facing humanity go well beyond race and culture. However, the reality in the United States right now is that minorities are beginning to mobilize in unprecedented ways and it’s a long-awaited moment in this country’s history. The colonizers can no longer hide behind the false veils they have built around the eyes of millions of Americans over the past several decades. We still live in a colony, in which the elite are descendants of the colonizers and want to maintain the status quo for as long as they can.

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The fact that these people happen to be White is, at this point, irrelevant. Yes, White Privilege is a real thing. American White culture is not. American White culture is a fabricated ideological framework that insists on conforming to standards set by Whites, to be followed by everyone. We can get even more specific and say they are set by White males, but this doesn’t really help anyone, because today, the oppressed people of this world also include those who are considered ‘white.’ We also cannot forget the onslaught of powerful people of color who do nothing for minority communities, who stand by and watch neighborhoods deteriorate and remain silent in order to maintain their own wealth and status. They are just as guilty.

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We must go beyond this rhetorical milieu. We here at The Dawn believe the issue at hand is one of identity–of oppressed peoples rising above the culture they have been forced to adhere to and re-defining who they are in a way that is authentic and powerful. A highly effective way to do so is through the physical body. A healthy, well maintained body with aesthetically pleasing dress is one of the most powerful forms of resistance for a person of color.

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With that said, we would like to speak specifically about the issues many minorities are facing in today’s America. Minorities living in America face a multi-layered problem that we believe is rooted in perception. Perception is power. It can give power and it can take power away, and it is up to the individual to use perception in or against their favor. Pre-colonial cultures were powerful, rooted civilizations with centuries of traditions, and the perceptions of individuals in relation to others was generally congruent with the overriding culture. Post colonialism brought about a myriad of crises; the most damaging being the crisis of identity. This is no less relevant today, as minority culture is not only based on false pretenses, it is systematically built to be destructive.

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“… Without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle…”

-Paulo Freire

What we are suggesting is that people of color have been so far removed from their cultural bloodlines that they now find themselves in what we would call a ‘cultural void-‘ one brought about and created by the oppressor. This places colonized peoples in an extremely vulnerable position, for not only have they been stripped of their land, liberty, and history, they are now at the mercy of the colonizer, an entity that wants to see that they do not lose control over their claim. A most effective way to do so is to control the identity of the culture through advertising, which is a form of mind control. This affects every aspect of the lives of the oppressed, including diet, dress, music, and language, creating a fabricated culture that is based on the ideas of a few very powerful people.

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This is dangerous for obvious reasons that we will not get into. What we believe is important to note is the fact that identity politics are rarely discussed intellectually, and it is in the best interest of us all to consider the implications of false identities as it pertains to the emancipation of oppressed peoples. What we have right now is a population eating poisonous foods, dressed in ill fitting, offensive uniforms, and listening to electronic sounds marketed as music, but in reality is damaging the delicate electromagnetic brainwaves that regulate the central nervous system. This in turn creates dissonance and upheaval of the body’s many sensitive systems, resulting in anxiety, restlessness, addictive behavior, aggressiveness, and general disease. Essentially, the oppressor is winning, and it it because they are capitalizing on the ignorance of the oppressed.

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“No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption”

-Paulo Freire

Furthermore, the colonizer has succeeded so profoundly that it has created within the colonized peoples a sense of dividedness at the sight of any one individual attempting to break free from the imposing stereotypes and accepted roles that one must play to be considered part of the minority culture. He or she is labeled as “white washed,” as if they have somehow turned their backs on their own people. The irony, however, is that they are only turning their backs on what the oppressor wants. In reality, they are resisting oppression, only to be met with more oppression from the other side. The cycle is one of a vicious nature, and it must be addressed if we are to advance in our ways of thinking and reacting to oppression. Paulo Freire refers to this phenomenon as a form of internalization, brought about by the oppressors themselves:

“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom.”

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The oppressed are fearful of freedom. This is imperative to understand if liberation is to ever happen. The oppressed must not fear. We must not give in to the pressure to stay silent, to conform, for this is the way to our demise. The Dawn holds authentic self expression to the highest degree, and with true self expression, one that isn’t bound by media or expectations of the dominant culture, oppressed people can stand against the oppressor without even saying a word.

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The image one presents to the world is the first thing one will be judged on. We believe that one must make that image a powerful one. America needs to see more African American men in suits. America needs to see more Hispanic men in suits. America needs to see a more even playing field where women of color are just as feminine as white women. Women of color must recognize their power as women, as females, not as sex objects. Women of color must not adhere to the false expectations of their peers and the brainwashing media. We all have the responsibility to educate ourselves and our children so that they may have the thinking minds needed for the kind of changes our great country requires. We must break these false identities and live as true people if we are to rise against this suffocating state of denial and self preservation.

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We here at The Dawn have seen humans become transformed both internally and externally through dress. We have empirical knowledge of this kind of hidden power one can command simply through their choice in clothing. Of course, the work one has to do goes beyond the outer, but an important and effective way to begin is by abolishing the oppressive and devastating nature of imposed identity. Let your mere presence be a political act, an act of resistance, and a voice for the silenced.

For more information on this matter, we have attached some previous posts as well as some articles by scholars who address such issues.

https://dewthedawn.com/2014/12/16/edward-bernays-and-mass-delusion/

https://dewthedawn.com/2014/12/06/the-political-body/

http://race.eserver.org/misogyny.html

https://aboutabicycle.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/bell-hooks-black-looks-race-and-representation.pdf

http://www.socialismonline.net/sites/default/files/Manufacturing%20Consent%20-%202002%20-%20by%20Chomsky%20and%20Herman.pdf

With that we will depart.

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Be free as the vast blue sky, cherished Ones.

With everlasting Love,

The Dawn

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Reem Acra RTW FW 2015

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Known for her intricate designs and rich fabrics, Reem Acra is simply a master of her craft. Her most recent ready to wear Fall/Winter collection is one to be revered. Her vision of beauty is so finely executed in her pieces. We cannot help but feel taken by the flowing hemlines and glistening beadwork. She is one who understands the needs of women when it comes to femininity and elegance. What we adore about her collections is that they never fall short of high taste. She has a knack for sensuality that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the female body–a skill that is inherently crucial in today’s world.

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This collection celebrates the duality of womanhood, as evident in the mixing of fabrics and textures, playing with the idea of fantasy and reality–classic Reem Acra. The color palette is the stuff of fairy tales, but it’s also exquisitely balanced with heavier fabrics to bring us back down to Earth. Pragmatism mixed with the ethereal–it doesn’t get any better than that.

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What is most impressive about this collection is the feeling of timelessness that it evokes. It rises above centuries of trends, yet is somehow rooted in the luxurious aesthetic of the past. Again, her sense of balance when it comes to garment construction is flawless, both technically and visually.

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We here at The Dawn shiver with excitement when exposed to this kind of glamour and refinement. It’s clear that Reem Acra creates from the heart, and this collection highlights the very core of her divinely inspired work.

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Woman, as an idea, is to be seen as the embodiment of the Sacred. The models on this runway seem to float in these pieces. Weightlessness, feather-like, and fluid are words that come to mind whilst feasting on such allure.

Reem Acra Fashion Show Ready To Wear Collection Fall Winter 2015 in New York

Note the exemplary use of detail. The beadwork, lace appliques, and sublime tailoring cannot be surpassed. Thank You, Reem Acra, for displaying the awesome potential of human creativity.

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Again, the mixing of the delicate and the robust is something we absolutely cherish.

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When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.

-Akhenaton
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We have no words, only warm feelings of Love.
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It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative – whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.

-Sylvia Plath
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Who can’t use a dainty bell sleeve? It adds dimension and flare, resulting in a lovely, enduring silhouette.
Bravo!!
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We hope you delighted in this collection as much as we did. May you never run dry of experiencing pure Love.
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Golden Fields of Sunlight,
The Dawn