I’m just becoming familiar with Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Friere and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed and was writing to Bill Siemering this morning, sharing some thoughts, sharing some here.
I’ve been thinking about love as the anchor for social change. Radical love. I’ve been inspired by Hodari Davis, program manager at YouthSpeaks, and also the writing of Paulo Friere who Hodari turned me on to…my colleague Adriana Gallardo shared references. And also Ken Banks’ ideas about what motivates change. You wrote about him in an email to me some time ago. I believe we need to be more forthright in claiming love as central to the change we seek. Friere wrote (from page 6 of his book)
Cunningham (2004) delineates between what she sees as false love” and “real love” to suggest that: real love involves radical action… When we choose real love, we refuse to work within the system. We don’t play by the The Rules. In real love, we choose to speak not in the language of competition and violence, but in that of cooperation and compassion. The language of real love is simple and straightforward. It begins with self-acceptance. Once we begin to remove the superficial measures of beauty, success, and what’s considered ‘good and normal’ from our lives, we start to move towards accepting people in all their flawed glory…Real love can be as simple as a glass of water (p. 37). Darder (2002) embraces a similar philosophy by asserting that love can be an anti-oppressive force used to resist exploitation.
and another something from Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, excerpted from Maggie Nelson’s book “The Argonauts”…
At the same time, there is something affirming and clarifying in what Hillary Clinton said recently when speaking to a gathering of #BlackLivesMatter. “I don’t believe you change hearts,” Clinton says. “I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.”
What I know now, what defines this moment in time on the path I’m on, is the combination of audacious love, and smart social engineering — which is an extension of that love. This is what makes change.
… we know that transformation comes from the outside. We were very deliberate in pairing you – an outside, lead collaborator with an ‘inside’ ‘station producer. Our independent lead producers are coming from the outside — they are working for AIR— to introduce disruption to the dominant order at the station. They are change agents….”
Today, a most extraordinary day at MIT’s Open Docs Lab where our new Localorians assembled with the AIR team and assorted guests to plan for how they’ll take on the challenge of inventing a new public media. Youth Speaks National Program Director Hodari Davis talked “radical love,” and we invited Beth Altringer and Lilian Taylor from Harvard’s Desirability Lab to provide tools for how to build in new spaces. And in my remarks to our producer, I spoke about how they should begin to build new models that would inspire others across public media…that would endure over time. I acknowledged the discomfort they were experiencing as they entered new and unfamiliar territory in physical, psychological, creative space, Here is a transcript. And you can watch the full session with Hodari, including the Q&A with our producers that followed here
In the Margin of the Other is a free form radio show I began producing in November 1988 on WMBR, MIT’s all volunteer radio station. It’s taken various forms as I’ve adapted to what the rest of life and work require. Inspired by my college economics prof’s adage “everything happens in the margin,” I find that this “secret world” I’ve maintained consistently over so many years has evolved into a rich and unexpected source for many of my ideas and approaches in my more public work.
I’m lucky to have Richard H. Lawrence maintaining my archive in his woodshop in Albion, ME, spinning show cassettes according the seasons. He and Sama also grow fruit and vegetables and other interesting things.
More recently, I’ve begun editing and uploading selected programs at the request of various friends and colleagues who want to listen. With nearly 2000 hours accumulated, perhaps I will eventually create a stream! For now, you can download a bunch here, or listen some shorter clips on this site. You’ll let me know you’re listening, right?