We Need To Challenge Literature, As It Challenges Us

How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

Growing up in England has had an impact on how I “read the world”. The classic’s like Dickens, Hardy, and Chaucer were all written by white-middle aged men depicting their perspective on the world. Although their work was eloquent, and powerful, they did see the world through their own privileged lenses, which didn’t relate to me. I was a white girl; born hundreds of years later and didn’t understand the world the authors had written about. I also found it difficult and frustrating reading Bronte and Austin, the female characters were caught up in Britain’s claustrophobic class society which restrained them and held them back.

Yes, I have biases, but understanding this is the first step to overcoming them. Even as a young child I disliked the privilege boys were given just because of their gender. I have always thought that everyone should be treated fairly as we all have our gifts, and gender is irrelevant. I also disliked the class system as we should be judged on our merits, not by where we went to school or how much money you have.

The work I’ve done in my ECE 325 class on anti-bias education, has been difficult and yet rewarding. This class has made me realize I’m human just like everyone else, and because of this I have biases I need to work on. Classes at the university challenge my ‘common sense’ and help me to open my heart, acknowledge my biases, and overcome my negative emotions. I have grown as an individual over the last two years; I’m kinder, more giving, more forgiving with others and myself.

Our readings at the University of Regina are powerful, as they show me different perspectives; they challenge me, make me question, and analyse myself. The internal conversations anti-bias literature stimulates is tough yet worthwhile. This literature pushes me forward to a new level of understanding and makes me more open and accepting of everyone around me.

Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

We all have biases as they are part of our unconscious; biases help to shape the way we see the world. We need to look at our biases and see what truth lies buried. We need to examine the lenses we see through and realize there is danger in seeing things with a “single story”. The “single story” shows one aspect of the truth and we need to challenge it.

The major story present when I was growing up was that boys were better than girls. Boys were smarter, faster, and stronger, and always got what they wanted. As a girl I had to accept the fact, that boys were superior, it was the way of the world; this truth was in my home, family, and at school. I never liked this “single story” and always fought against it.

The truth that matters is the truth in my heart. I am now learning different views on my life’s volume of stories and see the vastness and inter-connectivity of people, places, and environment. I knew I was strong, brave, and bold and with a deeper understanding of myself I can bring a richness to others and help unlock their “single stories”.

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