Looking beyond the lense

Within my schooling I was taught to view the world with a view that was very eurocentric. We never talked about other cultures, and I don’t remember there being any representation within any of the books we talked about. I think one of the best things we can do to unlearn these biases is to acknowledge that we have them and educate ourselves in areas that we might not know about. Acknowledging that we don’t have to know all the answers and that there is more than one correct answer sometimes is a great start to undoing our common sense. 

Growing up I can’t really remember any single stories from my childhood that really affected me the way that Chimananda talked about it. But then again this is due to the white privilege I behold. Even though I am part Cree my skin is white and my eyes are blue. I grew up in a white community and mostly white school. My mom taught me about my Indigenous culture but mostly I grew up feeling white. I once thought that my ability to braid was because I was part Cree, and Indigenous people wore their hair in braids a lot. I wonder if I thought this because it was one of those single stories I learned about as a child. The only Indigenous representation I had as a child was Pocahontas and she wore her hair in a braid. There were no books read to me or supplied to me to read about being part Cree and part white, that part of my identity was never embraced. As educators it’s our job to make sure students are feeling represented.

3 thoughts on “Looking beyond the lense

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  2. Bushra Burki

    Hey, Nikki. I agree in how you said that students should feel like they are being represented. That is essential to a child’s self-esteem and confidence in the workplace, or anywhere else in the world they find themselves in. I’m really sorry that your education was overwhelmingly Eurocentric to the point where you felt more white than Cree. I think that’s why teahcing Indigneous content is so important. It gives everyone in the classroom of what Canada is and what it represents. The Canadian history should not start in the 1700 or 1800 when white settlers came in and began fuctioning as a society. It should start far ealier and incorporate Indigenous Peoples into it, and then validate them as a people who had a society. When they, then, learn of colonization, they will understand what that word actually means and why it was such a horrific thing for Europe to do.

    Reply
  3. Kennedy Glascock

    Hi Nikki,

    My education was also very eurocentric. We read and viewed very few works that came from the viewpoint of someone other than the classic “white older man.” Chimamanda’s video and many of the other lessons in this course are helping me understand the danger of this. I found it interesting that you “once thought that [your] ability to braid was because [you’re] part Cree, and Indigenous people wore their hair in braids a lot.” It made me realize that even though I myself am white i still have theses same false perceptions of different races. This combined with Chimamanda’s video helped further my learning of the danger of false narratives.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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