Their argument that conscientization can actually solve anything is a settler move to innocence that avoids concrete action towards decolonization.
Tuck and Yang, 12 Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, State University of New York at New Paltz; University of California, San Diego; “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol. 1., No. 1, 2012, pg. 19 //bghs-ms
Fanon told us in 1963 that decolonizing the mind is the first step, not the only step toward overthrowing colonial regimes. Yet we wonder whether another settler move to innocence is to focus on decolonizing the mind, or the cultivation of critical consciousness, as if it were the sole activity of decolonization; to allow conscientization to stand in for the more uncomfortable task of relinquishing stolen land. We agree that curricula, literature, and pedagogy can be crafted to aid people in learning to see settler colonialism, to articulate critiques of settler epistemology, and set aside settler histories and values in search of ethics that reject domination and exploitation; this is not unimportant work. However, the front-loading of critical consciousness building can waylay decolonization, even though the experience of teaching and learning to be critical of settler colonialism can be so powerful it can feel like it is indeed making change. Until stolen land is relinquished, critical consciousness does not translate into action that disrupts settler colonialism. So, we respectfully disagree with George Clinton and Funkadelic (1970) and En Vogue (1992) when they assert that if you “free your mind, the rest (your ass) will follow.” Second it turns the case – causes net more oppressionTuck and Yang 12 (Eve-professr at State University of New York at New Paltz, K. Wayne- University of San Diego, “Decolonization is not a metaphor”, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol 1,No. 1, PP. 1-40, decolonization.org/index.php/des/article/download/18630/15554)
For the past several years we have been working, in our writing and teaching, to bring attention to how settler colonialism has shaped schooling and educational research in the United States and other settler colonial nation-states. These are two distinct but overlapping tasks, the first concerned with how the invisibilized dynamics of settler colonialism mark the organization, governance, curricula, and assessment of compulsory learning, the other concerned with how settler perspectives and worldviews get to count as knowledge and research and how these perspectives - repackaged as data and findings - are activated in order to rationalize and maintain unfair social structures. We are doing this work alongside many others who - somewhat relentlessly, in writings, meetings, courses, and activism - don’t allow the real and symbolic violences of settler colonialism to be overlooked. Alongside this work, we have been thinking about what decolonization means, what it wants and requires. One trend we have noticed, with growing apprehension, is the ease with which the language of decolonization has been superficially adopted into education and other social sciences, supplanting prior ways of talking about social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches which decenter settler perspectives. Decolonization, which we assert is a distinct project from other civil and human rights-based social justice projects, is far too often subsumed into the directives of these projects, with no regard for how decolonization wants something different than those forms of justice. Settler scholars swap out prior civil and human rights based terms, seemingly to signal both an awareness of the significance of Indigenous and decolonizing theorizations of schooling and educational research, and to include Indigenous peoples on the list of considerations - as an additional special (ethnic) group or class. At a conference on educational research, it is not uncommon to hear speakers refer, almost casually, to the need to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or “decolonize student thinking.” Yet, we have observed a startling number of these discussions make no mention of Indigenous peoples, our/their1 struggles for the recognition of our/their sovereignty, or the contributions of Indigenous intellectuals and activists to theories and frameworks of decolonization. Further, there is often little recognition given to the immediate context of settler colonialism on the North American lands where many of these conferences take place. Of course, dressing up in the language of decolonization is not as offensive as "Navajo print" underwear sold at a clothing chain store (Gaynor, 2012) and other appropriations of Indigenous cultures and materials that occur so frequently. Yet, this kind of inclusion is a form of enclosure, dangerous in how it domesticates decolonization. It is also a foreclosure, limiting in how it recapitulates dominant theories of social change. On the occasion of the inaugural issue of Decolonization: Indigeneiiy. Education, & Society, we want to be sure to clarify that decolonization is not a metaphor. When metaphor invades decolonization, it kills the very possibility of decolonization; it recenters whiteness, it resettles theory, it extends innocence to the settler, it entertains a settler future. Decolonize (a verb) and decolonization (a noun) cannot easily be grafted onto pre-existing discourses/frameworks, even if they are critical, even if they are anti-racist, even if they are justice frameworks. The easy absorption, adoption, and transposing of decolonization is yet another form of settler appropriation. When we write about decolonization, we are not offering it as a metaphor; it is not an approximation of other experiences of oppression. Decolonization is not a swappable term for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. Decolonization doesn't have a synonym. Our goal in this essay is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization - what is uasettling and what should be unsettling. Clearly, we are advocates for the analysis of settler colonialism within education and education research and we position the work of Indigenous thinkers as central in unlocking the confounding aspects of public schooling. We, at least in part, want others to join us in these efforts, so that settler colonial structuring and Indigenous critiques of that structuring are no longer rendered invisible. Yet, this joining cannot be too easy, too open, too settled. Solidarity is an uneasy, reserved, and uasettled matter that neither reconciles present grievances nor forecloses future conflict. There are parts of the decolonization project that are not easily absorbed by human rights or civil rights based approaches to educational equity. In this essay, we think about what decolonization wants. There is a long and bumbled history of non-Indigenous peoples making moves to alleviate the impacts of colonization. The too-easy adoption of decolonizing discourse (making decolonization a metaphor) is just one part of that history and it taps into pre-existing tropes that get in the way of more meaningful potential alliances. We think of the enactment of these tropes as a series of moves to innocence (Malwhinney, 1998), which problematically attempt to reconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity. Here, to explain why decolonization is and requires more than a metaphor, we discuss some of these moves to innocence: i. Settler nativism ii. Fantasizing adoption iii. Colonial equivocation iv. Conscientization v. At risk-ing / Asterisk-ing Indigenous peoples vi. Re-occupation and urban homesteading Such moves ultimately represent settler fantasies of easier paths to reconciliation. Actually, we argue, attending to what is irreconcilable within settler colonial relations and what is incommensurable between decolonizing projects and other social justice projects will help to reduce the frustration of attempts at solidarity; but the attention won’t get anyone off the hook from the hard, unsettling work of decolonization. Thus, we also include a discussion of interruptions that unsettle innocence and recognize incommensurability