Parker Parent and Philosopher Jacqueline Scott Returns to Parker

Loyola University Chicago Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair Jacqueline Scott, PhD returned to speak with juniors about the concept of “meta-oppression,” the feeling that comes from being oppressed—a weariness from a lack of change. The juniors connected the concept with their work in U.S. History and the legacy of Reconstruction, as well as in their Civic Lab groups, in which they work with marginalized communities.

Scott explained the difference between people’s social identities—how society views individuals through race, class, gender, etc.—and lived identities—how people view themselves. Often, these two ideas can be at odds, and the pressures of society can lead to feelings of shame and a sense of “homelessness,” where someone belongs if they don’t fit society’s narrative of who they should be. This feeling of despair can add to the feelings of “meta-oppression” and questioning their self-worth.

To push back and interrupt “meta-oppression,” Scott emphasized the importance of seeing and affirming others for their lived identities to help align those with their social identities. Doing so leads toward more supported and diverse identities and expands people’s social imaginations, the options for the ways people form their lives. Forming communities where people can proudly be their authentic selves is vital in sustaining a healthier society.

Scott said, “You have to repurpose and revalue validation. Move on from people you can’t win over, and get validation from people who will expand your social imagination.” When a student asked what to do when you can’t find the support you are seeking, Scott responded, “You don’t find it, you create it. Create your own supportive group.”

Parker is grateful to have parents in the community like Dr. Scott, who are willing to share their expertise and expand student learning beyond the classroom.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.