Paolo Freire was a renowned author born in Brazil in a very poor family. His earlier days in life was characterised by abject poverty that greatly affected his education as he grew up. As a young man, he spent an avalanche of his time in Recife. Poverty was a bedfellow to ugly to push aside, this came to shape his future academic life and perceptions as he learnt a great deal from his childhood. It was from his childhood that he grew to become a renowned educationist and reformist who came up with what was come to be known as the father of Multicultural education (Heidi, 11).
Freire's Multicultural Education
Freire (154) compares a society to a family structure, he says that cultural invasion is an instrument of domination as well as a result of domination, that the parent – child relationship at home is more often than not a reflection of the cultural conditions of the environment’s social structure, an rigid family and authoritarian family is a fertile environment for oppression. In the same way therefore, a society that looks at multi cultural existence as invasion to the natives’ privacy is a rigid society capable of crumbling down. He is of the opinion that the invaded fringe over the rights of the invaders by simply subjecting them to their ideas and ideologies. As Freire grew up he managed to get an opportunity to be invited as a visiting professor in Harvard University. He believed that education is the only way that the poor would liberate themselves.
He derived a system of multicultural education that encouraged democracy and high academic achievements for all students regardless of religion, status, gender or creed. He believed that this kind of education helps students develop a positive self concept by providing history, cultures and contributions of diverse groups, According to Freire, multi cultural education assumes the future of the US is pluralistic meaning that it will be made of people from other cultures new to the natives of the US a belief which he holds dearly. He further argues that today, many students in the US come from very different social backgrounds, cultural groups as well as language groups, contrary to the common beliefs; many of them do not share the middle class Euro American culture. It is in light of this that I strongly believe he wouldn’t agree that immigrants are cultural invaders in the contemporary US.
In his book, The Nativist Lobby- Three faces of Intolerance , Heidi identifies key racists who greatly believe that immigrants have washed down the Euro- American culture, the greatest antagonist of immigration being John Tanton who has come under criticism for his racist statements and subsequent formation of groups that fought against immigrants such as Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) infamous for of promoting racist ideas, conspiracy theories and anti-immigrant hatred in the US. It is common knowledge that over the years, the United States has been affected by multiple xenophobic nativisms; there has been unrest over the influx of immigrants seen as different as “real” Americans.
I strongly believe that there is no way, unless under very unimaginable conditions Freire would be party to such a weird culture keeping in mind that he came from a background that was challenging, he came to be who he is through undergoing very harsh times, through his multicultural system of education, he is strongly of the opinion that it promotes decision making as well as critical thinking skills while moving away from inequality towards cultural pluralism Freire.
Cultural Co-existence as a Way of a Country’s Development
A critical analysis of this statement clearly points out that he is a staunch believer of cultural co-existence as a way of a country’s development. Whereas the anti- immigrants groups argue that “new cultures” in the U.S. “are diluting what we are and who we are Heidi (10)” Freire is of a contrary opinion, he states that Multicultural education aims at reforming schools so as to provide students from different cultures meeting in schools an equal chance in the job market, and in contributing to building healthy communities
Referring to the lobby groups, "although on the surface they appear quite different… they are fruits of the same poisonous tree” (Freire, 150). The term “poisonous tree” implies that he doesn’t in any way support or agrees with the aforementioned sentiments; he believes that anti-immigrant groups are an impediment to human freedom and democracy. He posits that “globalization is a social trend which integrates people with different cultural backgrounds.” In this regard different cultures interact, differ, and argue with each other like strangers. Freire was an ardent believer of cultural coexistence; Freire (180) states that in cultural invasion, “the invaders” do not invade with the sole intention of teaching or transmitting the natives their culture but they are there simply to learn with the people about their world. He states that the unity of the oppressed is in their understanding that they are the minority and should therefore work towards transforming an unjust reality.
According to the anti immigrants such as John Tanton, successful societies are determined by biology and most importantly race (Heidi, 11) and not on a mere sharing of values, political systems or territory, nations and their cultures. Freire on the other hand believes that the anti immigrants have simply instilled a sense of fear that made the “invaders” look inferior: that just like the Latin Americans who at one point in time were oppressed and looked at themselves as equal to animals, trees. He is of the opinion that the people who look down upon themselves should simply understand that they are persons prevented from being by their oppressors (Freire, 174). Freire greatly delves into the practice that is oppression, this he defines as “the state of society that causes one class of people to remain entrenched in poverty while another class of people enjoys the benefits of the lower class's labour”(Freire, 17). He strongly believes that it is an act of violence by the oppressors since they suppress their humanity and instil in them a sense of impotence to think and act. He implies that the oppressed become are made to be part of a system that hinders them from advancing as human beings.
In conclusion, Freire has always been on the forefront for fighting for education especially for the poor, he believes that it is only through education that a society can be liberated. He challenges the anti immigrants to step up and overcome their fears, he states that the fear of freedom is more pronounced in professionals who haven’t discovered on their on the invasive nature of their actions, the culture of the dominant class normally supersedes that of the minority. In this regard therefore, the “invaders” simply come to learn more from the ‘invaded” and as a matter of fact, the anti-immigrants only have inferior fears entrenched in their failure to achieve certain goals in their development process.