Saving Ourselves From Teachers


(This is my response to the email I got from the advocacy group, DILA, about an Ilongga teacher raising the roof for her students' ability to acquire the competency needed for a Tagalogized mindset. The details in that teacher's position are found below for everyone's reference. This response has been circulated to DILA as well. A Agcaoili, Nov. 8/09)

This is a kind of a repartee to the position of the Ilongga teacher who uncritically praised her students for their borrowed abilities to use a language beyond her Ilonggo world. I can hear her: 'Ang galing-galing na nilang mauto sa Tagalog." Yes, 'mauto' not 'matuto'. Scratch the surface of her arguments and you see the argument of WIKA and all the agents of that group. 

She is one teacher whose credentials have to be won by acquiring the same credentials of the colonizer. 

Hers is a veiled statement of a colonized, who having gained ascendancy because she can now 'talk back' in the language of the colonizer, who now says with pride, Hey, hey, I am good. There is breast beating here for a dramatic effect. 

At our Nakem Conferences, we have met them. 

We have probably more in the Ilocos due to the proximity of the Tagalogista center. 

But we have been checking them, these upstarts who, having gained the competency of the oppressor, is now playing the role of the oppressor in a subtle, tacit way. 

These kinds of people, like 
Saul of Tarsus who became Paul as soon as he realized the truth of salvation--and for our case, it is the salvation of our peoples--that teacher of something she does not understand herself needs to be blinded by the light of our cause so that with that light, they will come to see a better truth again. 

Think of teachers as agents of ignorance and social injustice and oppression and you have it in that teacher. 

Should she stay in the classroom in the first place? Does she have the moral ascendancy?

Ah, well, she can claim her fundamental right to her ignorance. Then again, seriously, she should really go Socratic this time around. That great guy has said it all that we need to learn as teachers and as cultural workers and as advocates of freedom and justice: we examine our life and good would follow suit, and when good would follow suit, we could say life is worth living. 

At the Nakem Conferences, we tell our teachers to their faces what they need to know and remind them that they have no right to multiply their ignorance via their educands. Fair is fair. Educands pay to get knowledge, not stupidity. 

Her case is pathologic of an ideology we call monoculturalism. At its extreme, it is called linguaphobia. 

Both monoculturalism and linguaphobia are forms of cognitive incapacities, if we broaden the meaning of what human cognition is, particularly that cognition that relates to liberatory practice. 

Doctors of mental health in this advocacy group could confirm what these are. I am certain Jed Pensar can tell us what happens to the psychological/ psychiatric make-up of people like us, to teachers like us who should know better, but sees only the world opened up by the statist center of power but never seeing the world our own languages could reveal. 

Think of internal colonization/ neocolonization and its stranglehold over all of us coming from non-Tagalog languages and cultures. 

The decolonization history of Africa is replete with these challenges. We ony have to read the account of Fanon to learn a lesson. Remember "White Masks, Black Skin"? 

Here is the trick: Tagalog masks, Ilonggo skin. And we can go on and on with other languages including my own: Tagalog masks, Ilokano skin. 

Or remember Fanon's "
The Wretched of the Earth?" Here is the situation that we must see, and now: we have become wretched, and one of the reasons why is that we allowed this to happen by allowing that teacher  to convert us to her cause. There are more of them in Bacolod, I am sure. Or in Silay City

Sartre helped out Fanon; so did Camus. And that guy Constantino who talked about our being 'miseducated' because we are 'spokening' in da 
American English, ha! There, Constantino commits that blunder of a center, he becoming a spokesperson of that center as well, even if he did not intend to do so. 

Nevertheless, we can revisit him and use him to remind those Tagalistas that Rizal's caution on the 'language' issue cannot be construed immorally as referring only to his Tagalog which, he could not use to put together his "Makamisa" the novel. 

The decolonization history of South America is replete with the same lessons: we need only to read Freire and various authors, from literature to our faith obligations (read: religion, christianity, salvation history). 

We will meet many of those--tragically, we should warn ourselves--and from the ranks of cultural workers like your teacher who has become a spokesperson of ignorance. And as a spokesperson of that abominable tyrannical ideal we call Philippine monolingualism and monoculturalism. 

We are worried about all those animals and plants going extinct and we never worry about the generations of knowledge accumulated by our various peoples through their languages going with the wind.

Even the argument of that teacher seems to be not founded on the real argument of the advocates of our multicultural lives as a 'state of affairs' in this country, and cultural pluralism as a regulative ideal for all of us. 

I rest my case with this teacher. Somebody has to quickly convert that teacher to our cause. What about giving her a blinding light to jolt her to her senses? She is coming from nowhere, indeed!

One final question for that teacher--and please let her see this: Can she say the same about her students raising questions and discoursing in their Ilonggo that equally reveals a redemptive Ilonggo world? Pray, tell, Why did she leave that out?

Or does she ever know about this?

A Agcaoili
Nakem Conferences

--- On Sat, 11/8/08, litogo <
litogo@binisaya. com> wrote:

From: litogo <
litogo@binisaya. com>
Subject: [DILA] An unthinking Ilongga.
DILA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Saturday, 
November 8, 2008, 4:02 PM
http://www.thenewst 2008/08/27/ bien.lumbera. and.his.crusade. for.wikang. filipino. html

"The brisk questioning from students and teachers who spoke in very  laudable Filipino made me ask myself: Why is there still  such  hostility of some of our countrymen (notably our Cebuano  brothers) to  the use of Filipino as 
national language? The Ilonggos have  learned to  use Filipino with aplomb and dispatch, and I am proud of  them." 

I would leave JED on chastising his own sister.---Lito

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