Saturday, March 7, 2009

Curious as a cat, that's why they call me whiskers.

Think on the following two things.

1. I'm wondering how it sounds when I make mistakes in my spanish speaking. Specifically, I wonder what it must be like for a native speaker to hear me make the mistakes I'm making in my speaking. These, for the most part, are of a grammatical nature. I would rather speak with some fluency and speed than meditate on the grammar and speak like a roboy. I end up using incorrect conjugations, although my point is rarely missed in entirety. I wonder how different it sounds from the way it is when they speak in English. Will I ever know what it's like to listen and know the sound of mistake-ridden Spanish? Pues, quien sabe?

2. I was sitting on the balcony reading. People passing by below look up and stare. Some smile, some laugh, some scowl. Que sera, sera. Todo bem. As I'm looked upon with a scowl, I feel an urge to speak English. I don't know what the hell I'd say, but I just want to go on a rant about critical pedagogy, texas longhorn football, how to posterize an image in photoshop, etc...

This got me thinking. Keep in mind, I'm reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed. When I'm looked upon with a screwface, I think I feel delegitimized. I feel dehumanized. I feel as if I've been looked at as powerless. As mindless. As worthless.

My desire to speak English has a dual root structure. One, I'm instantly showing them that, in English at least, I'm a legitimate and complete person. In doing so, I'm highlighting something that, in all likelihood, they cannot do. This complicates our relationship, because now I'm more skilled at something than my counterpart. Additionally, my rattling off about what I know, regardless of how trivial it may seem, gives me experiential legitimacy. It makes me a human being. I am legitimate, human, wielding power, mindful, and worthwhile.

This, to me, is Freirian to the bone. Through dialogue, my counterpart would begin to see the depth in me, and I in her or him. We would likely disagree, but never again could she or he legitimately look at me as less than human, or less fully human.

The only other time I've felt looked at in such a dehumanizing manner is by panhandlers sometimes. Specifically in Atlanta. There was a woman who was angry with me for not giving her money, which I think she saw as dehumanizing. However, her inability to realize the profundity of my situation was equally dehumanizing.

Anyway, think on it. Freire, you sneaky sonuvagun.

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