Reading books (especially if the only books you are reading are from the viewpoint of Western Civilization) and getting a formal education (with a western Civilization world lens) is NOT the key to freedom.
Hell, they are not even the key to getting a good job anymore.
The keys to freedom are:
- Reading stories, especially novels, from a variety of viewpoints.
If every fiction story you read, has an individual hero, that’s a hint you are in Western narratives. Read something from another culture. There are multiple narratives different cultures use in fiction, that don’t include “the hero’s journey.” There is the “group journey”, “the divine journey”, “the story where the point has nothing to do with the journey.”
2. Getting an education not only from formal school.
Be sure your education is varied and comes from more than what you learn at a formal educational institution. Aquire knowledge from your family, artists, strangers, and all the multiple sources of knowledge!
If everyone who is considered “smart/wise” during your education is White and of European descent (Plato, Aristotle, Plato, Marx, Voltaire), that’s a clue you are in Western narratives. Learn about the numerous contributions of non-White people to the world.
3. Being able to interact/assimilate/survive with diverse groups of people and environments.
For the last 200 years, code-switching meant non-White people, needed to learn how to be White. As the world becomes more global, so will the skill of code-switching. POC, non-native speaking immigrants, in particular, have an advantage on success in our new global world. POC have been forced, in order to survive, to assimilate to environments not native or comfortable to them. It sucks, but, as the world changes, it a skill that is providing an advantage.
4. BEING ABLE TO CRITICAL THINK.
My mother would have me argue a position until I was mentally exhausted and felt I had “won”; and then, she would say let’s switch sides. I, then, after all the work and preparation I had done on the one side of an argument, had to be prepared to argue against myself! Abortion, Christianity, War, Gun Control, Slavery, Capitalism, Communism, just about every topic in the world, I was required to be able to argue for and against; instantly! Now I see how that helped me tremendously as an adult. Before I decide how I feel on an ideological position, in my mind and usually through some research, I know the opposing position and could articulate well-enough to defend it. That is why it took me so long to declare myself a Socialist. I knew all the arguments against it and had to feel strongly enough that I was well-versed in other types in governments, and knew the short-comings of Socialism, and was okay with them, to say, “I am a Socialist.”
Right now, I am doing the same with my children. When we talk about the Revolutionary War, they have to argue not just for the Americans, the British. I make them present arguments of the Revolutionary War from the side of the French(the major funders to the Americans), the Native Americans, the enslaved Africans, the Spanish(the majority landowners of the “Americas”), the rich Americans, and the poor Americans! All of those groups have a different narrative, with both good and bad points. In order to be considered “educated” in our family, you have to be able to articulate multiple viewpoints AND identify the viewpoint & critique of the “school version.”
That’s how you get free.
Regurgitating stuff people told you, will never free you to do anything other than what the authors/teachers want you to do.
“the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” – Audre Lorde