As an educator and activist, I constantly search for ways to empower through teaching. Many of our most effective and inspired leaders addressed how ignorance perpetuates our own victimization and powerlessness. One way to address this is by challenging and changing the way we think because doing so works to change our attitudes, priorities, and behavior.
This in fact describes precisely the importance of raising consciousness in our community. Those who oppressed us did so through coercion and propaganda. Whips, guns, economic discrimination,, segregation and legislation were the externally applied tools of coercion. But the oppressive apparatus became most effective when they taught us to accept ourselves as inferior and servile. Miseducation, largely through religious and educational institutions and societal propaganda served this purpose.
Generations of anti-Black propaganda (as Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X skillfully explained) made it possible for white supremacy to operate with our cooperation!
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