Biases, Lenses, and Single Stories

After watching Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk and reading the chapter from Kumashiro’s book, “Against Common Sense” I’ve came to realize all the biases that were present throughout my schooling experience. Chimamanda mentioned how she read books that were based in white perspectives. I could say the same for myself. My school experience was riddled with Eurocentric perspectives. I never even questioned why every book was dominantly written in a white perspective. I think it is relevant to say, as Kumashiro stated, “students often use lenses that reinforce the status quo.” This was definitely true, there was one lens that I looked through. In my studies, teachers didn’t successfully teach with an anti-oppressive teaching style. Thus, it led us students to have one lens in how we see things. It enabled me to think in only one particular way and only learn about certain experiences that relatable to my own experiences. Kumashiro writes, “When students read literature by only certain groups of people. They learn about only certain experiences and perspectives, especially those of groups that have traditional been privileged in society.” I could agree with Kumshiro, white privilege has shaped me to view things in such a narrow way. We were not taught to critically think on the matter, which is problematic. Reading literature in school that was dominantly viewed through a white perspective, which made it impossible to view things through a different point of view.

In my elementary and high school experience it was clear whose truth mattered. Whiteness mattered, Eurocentric perspectives mattered, there was no diversity in the literature read. There was only a single story that was told and the literature we read was highly political. Although, my experiences with literature has shown to be biased to white culture, it’s time to unlearn things and relearn things with a more coloured lens. As a future educator, it important to question students on the things we learn, as well as, the content we learn ourselves. It is equally important to notice how traditional literature that is usually concrete, in which we have to learn, has to be questioned in an  anti-oppressive way. We have challenge students to see through different lenses.

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