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Critical consciousness vital when taking on authoritarian professionals (everywhere)

The art used here to illustrate this may be viewed in as broad a way as possible. For this sample, we may imagine an intuitive teenager (whom has not yet fully been able to articulate critical consciousness, yet would very much LIKE to say/think what this indigenous spirit is thinking!). Any teenager (and likely many younger persons) when treated in such alienated ways (i.e. the “normalized” ways of many authoritarian professionals these daze) is really not much different from the prototype indigenous fellow human being in such a situation. Except that the youths do not yet realize that open rebellion, sustained, can bring about the sustained efforts to suppress such, via the same old very related colonialist mind-set, when perceiving “threats” to its monopoly.

Still, we critical thinkers know that there are grey areas to walk within, while avoiding the full weight of such colonialist/colonizer methods. (If you don’t get what i’m saying, that’s okay; whatever you get is all I’m aiming for; if you want to explore this line of thinking more, try globalization.icaap.org or http://www.kumtux.com )

Make no mistake, we whom have long been programmed with the alienated values and chain-of-command assumptions of “the real world” are really not much different from the indigenous of the world. It’s just that we have been mostly severed from any consciousness of the value of our intuitive dissent.

Those who would like to argue these truths, please at least read the text below (written by someone else), first! Thanks!

The piece that follows is an excerpt from a book whose title attacked prevailing conceptions about hyperactivity, but whose subtitle realized the importance of a broader analysis. It was located in the Appendix between pages 230 and 235 of a book entitled Myth of the Hyperactive Child: And Other Means of Child Control, by Diane Divoky and Peter Schrag; Pantheon, 1975. Since it’s so hard to find now-a-days, I’ve taken the liberty to share a short excerpt, below. Enjoy!

(note: I got permission to post this on my websites by Diane Divoky, a number of years ago)

Feel free to pass around!

“There are no assured means of resistance…Even the most comprehensive formal regulations assuring due process…are no guarantee against violations of privacy, subtle forms of manipulation or overt intrusions into the lives of children and their parents. As the techniques of control become more complex, “scientific” and “humane” –and as they become less overtly [noticeable]–resistance will become that much more difficult. Where the institution (school, police, court) acknowledges that the objective is punishment or deterrence, formal modes of defense –lawyers, trials and hearings –are regarded as necessary and proper; where the objective is said to be “treatment,” resistance becomes more difficult and the potential for manipulation more extensive. The rationale of therapy, education and rehabilitation almost inevitably clouds due process and individual liberties. It creates great opportunities for obfuscation (deceit) and mystification: claims of expertise and the invocation of special knowledge (or the use of sophisticated technology) are no less intimidating than naked authority. [imagine if they really were naked, heh!]

“There are, nonetheless, certain techniques and resources which have been used successfully in the past:

  1. 1. The beginning of almost all resistance is demystification. Ask dumb questions, and be bold. What do the words mean? Is the person behind the desk talking about a real disease or is he merely using pseudo-medical terms to describe subjective impressions of behavior, to excuse [ideological] failure, or to conceal institutional biases or demands [sometimes known as interests]? …What, if anything, does the test or screen really measure?…is [its] validation based merely on the biases of other “professionals” in other institutions?…What does the therapist ([or] teacher, counselor) know about the instruments he is using and why is he really using them?…Will [your] information lead to genuine…help, or will it merely produce [more] labels…[and] serve as a rationale for failure in the future? A series of such questions may quickly indicate that under the guise of the kindly counselor there is just another administrator concerned about order and management or a beureaucrat protecting his own flanks. Such a revelation may not be very reassuring…but it will at least alert all concerned parties about the nature of the “problem” they are dealing with.
  2. 2. Don’t let the old feeling of being a child take over when dealing with authorities… Don’t be brushed off or patronized. Agents of public institutions –welfare, police, schools, hospitals, courts –are often adept at patronizing or intimidating clients and at taking advantage of some primal feeling on the part of the client that he is The Child and that the [adult] sitting across from him is The Principal. (Or criminal and cop, patient and doctor, examiner and applicant, IRS agent and taxpayer.) If you are sitting in an office waiting for someone to interpret a record, open the file and read it. [but be careful, some administrators have been known to call the police when they’ve found a parent reading her own child’s file–maybe that’s not so bad if you don’t want your adult looking at such things…]
  3. 3. Get everything in writing –laws, regulations, directives. Do not take the explanations of adminstrators as gospel. Take notes, insist on seeing everything in writing and keep copies. A [negative] confrontation may not be necessary –nor is it [good for] the best relationship with [those who have power over you]–but it is important to remember that it takes two parties to create such a confrontation, and that the client’s fear of offending authorities is precisely the thing that many administrators count on when they try to patronize and intimidate Some school adminstrators seem to have a natural tendency to treat everyone as a child; in general the weaker their position, the more they will be tempted to bluster and bully.
  4. 4. Have as many [tools] available as possible. In [many places] there are [independent] community groups with some experience in dealing with [institutions]… The important rule here is to disregard ideology; the [ACLU] and the John Birch Society may sometimes be fighting the same battle…[and each may be able to assist you]

“MORE–but under construction)


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