The definition of an oppressive leader

Paulo Freire considered education a revolutionary process (Freire, 2002). He said, “The revolution loves and creates life; and in order to create life it may be obliged to prevent some men from circumscribing life.  In addition to the life-death cycle basic to nature, there is almost an unnatural living death: which is denied its fullness” (Freire, 2002, 171).  There are those men who define all of life’s parameters such that the receiver of his definitions has no valid thoughts at all, if those thoughts are in contrast to the definitions that he circumscribed.  There must be an action that disrupts his power and revalidates the receiver’s own critical judgment.  As long as a human being is under the guise of a powerful man’s life definition, that human being will never be free.  Freedom requires personal affirmation; when anyone seeks to circumscribe life, that person seeks to limit another’s personal life view.  There can be no creation when there is a limit placed upon the creative process and when any man defines life through limits, then there is no creation.

This is exactly Freire’s point, “Any situation in which ‘A’ objectively exploits ‘B’ or hinders his and her pursuit of self-affirmation as a responsible person is one of oppression” (Freire, 2002, 55).  Therefore, it becomes clear that any environment in which certain people have power, as in a teacher or pastor, and seek to stifle any group of people, then that educational environment is oppressive because, ““One of the basic elements of the relationship between oppressor and oppressed is prescription.  Every prescription represents the imposition of one individual’s choice upon another, transforming the consciousness of the person prescribed to into one that conforms with the prescriber’s consciousness” (Freire, 2002, 47).  Any group or situation can be seen as an educational environment.  Therefore, an oppressive leader (or educator) is one who circumscribes life and prescribes his methods for dealing with that life.

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