After Katia’s lecture, we were asked to reconsider our autobiographical assignments and respond to the following question:
What hidden messages are now visible to you in what you could offer as your autobiography? For example, what does it mean that you did not address your gender, or your sexuality or your racialization as important or constitutive of your identity?
The simple answer to why I did not address these is because I occupy positions of privilege in these areas. I am a cisgender woman, I am straight, I am white, and I am middle class. I can think of my own identity as being somehow untouched by my experience as race/classed/gendered/sexed because of my privilege; however, I am really challenging myself to change that!
Kumashiro writes that “our lenses of analysis demonstrate why it is that we often desire making sense of the world in only certain, comforting ways” (pg. 41). I demonstrated this by writing about how my experiences have changed me, grown me, and helped me develop my beliefs about education – making sense of my experiences in very comforting ways. I did not, however, write about how my gender, race, class, or sexuality shaped those experiences, although they definitely did.
It’s hard to recognize how these things shaped my journey because I have been trained not to see my privilege. We have these regimes of truth/normalized lies engrained into our common sense, and they obscure the benefits we gain through privilege. Katia has challenged me and now I am challenging myself to ask what my privilege made possible/impossible in the experiences I talk about in my autobiography. More to come on that later!
Finally, Kumashiro writes, “hidden lessons demonstrate how it is that oppression can play out in our lives unnoticed and unchallenged” (pg. 41). Therefore, I am working to bring those hidden lessons front and centre. I must recognize how my privilege shapes my experiences so that I do not inadvertently reproduce oppression.