False Generosity - Paulo Freire - Pedagogy of the Oppressed

in his incredibly popular 1968 book

pedagogy of the oppressed Brazilian

educator and author Paulo Freire he

discusses the concept of false

generosity he writes the oppressors who

oppress exploit and raped by virtue of

their power cannot find in this power

the strength to liberate either the

oppressed or themselves only power that

Springs from the weakness of the

oppressed will be sufficiently strong to

free both any attempt to soften the

power of the oppressor in deference to

the weakness of the oppressed almost

always manifests itself in the form of

false generosity indeed the attempt

never goes beyond this false generosity

of charity which targets the symptoms of

an unjust society

examples include donating to shelters

for the homeless or creating a

foundation to eradicate malaria false

generosity isn't false because it

doesn't help people it can and often

does save lives rather it's false

because by addressing symptoms rather

than underlying causes it functions to

maintain oppression in contrast free air

a says true generosity consists

precisely in fighting to destroy the

causes which nourish false generosity

further where false charity constrains

the fearful and subdued the rejects of

life to extend their trembling hands

true generosity lies in striving so that

these hands whether of individuals or

entire peoples need to be extended less

and less in supplication so that more

and more they become human hands which

work and working transform the world

false generosity maintains oppression it

maintains the reliance of the oppressed

on the oppressor it is dehumanizing true

generosity attempts to create the

conditions for liberation the oppressor

feels good about their false generosity

so they're motivated to sustain the

system in which their false generosity

is necessary and their generosity itself

functions to do this free area rights

further a psychoanalysis of oppressive

action might reveal the false generosity

of the oppressor as a dimension of the

latter's sense of guilt with this false


he attempts not only to preserve an

unjust and necrophilic order but to buy

peace for himself this is why

billionaires create nonprofit

organizations through which to funnel

their money organizations which they

fully control they must be sure that not

a single cent is allocated to true

generosity this is why Elon Musk is

eager to donate 1 million dollars to the

team trees campaign this generosity does

nothing to threaten the systems of

oppression from which he profits in fact

it functions to perpetuate them donating

to climate causes is a safe but false

generosity for billionaires they need a

healthy climate so they may continue its

exploitation and so those which they

oppress may survive and may continue to

rely on them false generosity charity to

alleviate the symptoms of exploitation

will never be a long-term solution only

true generosity poses a real threat to

the oppressive systems and we must

understand that the wealthy elite have

no interest in truly dismantling the

exploitative systems from which they

benefit true generosity would seek to

eliminate exploitative labor relations

it would seek to eradicate systems of

production and distribution that rely on

the destruction of the environment it

would seek to liberate and to ensure the

survival of all living beings it would

be inherently anti-capitalist as just

one example

Bill Gates stunts at the TED conference

in 2009 is now well known now malaria's

of course transmitted by mosquitoes i

brought some here so you could

experience this will let let those roam

around the

auditorium a little bit there

there's no reason only poor people

should have have the experience while

the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


undeniable progress towards the

eradication of malaria it does nothing

to threaten the perpetuation of a social

order in which access to basic health

care is so drastically unequal the

villain Melinda Gates Foundation saves

lives no one questions that but it is

false generosity and as such it will

never be a long-term solution to an

unjust social order Bills words

themselves are revealing upon releasing

the mosquitoes he said there's no reason

only poor people should experience this

and the efforts of his foundation focus

on the elimination of the experience

rather than the poverty itself it's time

we stop celebrating billionaire

philanthropy in terms of the quantity of

wealth they donate and instead

scrutinize the quality of their

donations it doesn't matter whether they

donate ten billion dollars or one dollar

what matters in Prieta Ray's term is

whether their generosity is true or