Providing justice for marginalized groups through framework lenses. Theoretical strands of social justice discourses linked to specific radical movements are rarely seen in educational settings. Justice-oriented theoretical viewpoints, according to Kathy & Silvia (2011), arise more directly from fields such as women’s studies, sociology, and ethnic studies.
Educators, on the other hand, use these other disciplines to inform their research and teaching in the field of education. When educators claim a social justice orientation, they draw on a variety of discourses, including feminism, queer theory, anti-oppressive education, cultural studies, post-colonialism, globalization, and critical race theory.
Just for the purpose of this study the marginalized groups whose theoretical framework we shall examine includes the Critical Race Theory, Queer/LGBTQ Theory and the Feminist Theory.
The term “queer theory” refers to all perspectives on gender and sexual behaviors that exist outside of heterosexuality and challenge heteronormativity. The term heteronormativity was coined to describe the knowledge systems and behaviors that promote heterosexuality as the dominant and normal sexuality, resulting in the persistence of sexual and gender disparities in numerous social institutions.
In his scientific work on lesbian and gay male sexualities, De Lauretis (1991) used the term queer theory to try to break down the constant use of categories and labels that stereotype and damage those who are marginalized, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. De Lauretis stressed that to improve comprehension of human variability, this idea holds a more fluid rather than fixed definition of gender and sexuality.
Pinar(1998), on the other hand, believes that introducing queer theory into educational settings is effective because it “challenges the reproduction of sameness, difference, and patriarchy.” We work to educate the same(sexed) as exemplification, solidification, and mobilization of difference in many ways. As a result, incorporating queerness into the educational experience requires breaking the silence surrounding sexual identities, knowledge, and ideals that have long been oppressed in society.
Feminist theory is not an anti-male theory that focuses on male dominance and masculine attributes such as competitiveness and control but activist of this theory queries the conventions about privilege and access.
Feminist theory, according to Gedro and Mizzi (2014), disrupts the use of categories that position one gender as normal, natural, and neutral (male) versus another gender as oppositional, subjected, variant, and inferior (female), thus making “man” a natural category and “woman” existing only in relation to man.
Feminism is thus founded on the claim that gender is a social construct based on biologically possessed sex at birth. As a result, feminist scholars aim to deconstruct gender biased and patriarchal gender practices.
According to Ruth (2001), scholarly publications on feminism classified theories into three categories: liberal feminism, radical feminism, and socialist feminism. According to radical feminism, women’s subjugation stems from their sexuality.
This was argued that violence, sexism, objectification, and social institutions such as medicine and religion control women’s bodies; as a result, they argue that ending gender oppression requires the abolition of patriarchy and compulsory heterosexuality, as well as increasing women’s control over their bodies in terms of sexuality, childbirth, and motherhood.
Liberal feminism represents classic feminism, concerned with human rights and egalitarian views (Ruth, 2001). This school of thought contends that men and women share a shared humanity that transcends their procreative distinctions, and that women should not be treated differently than males in the eyes of the law or regarded as inferior. In terms of education, employment, and other positions of authority, they should be given the same possibilities.
Socialist feminism views capitalism as the originator of social classes, therefore distorting social interactions (Ruth, 2001). Gender inequality is rooted in capitalism, according to Marxist and socialist feminists. Capitalists and individual men, they argue, take advantage of women’s unpaid reproductive labor within the household. They assert once more that the collapse of capitalism will mean the end of patriarchy.
Critical Race Theory
This theory’s central premise is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not only the result of human bias or prejudice, but also of legal systems and policies. According to some sources, critical race theory is based on five fundamental tenets, which are briefly discussed in the following lines.
To begin with, racism is normal, not abnormal—it is the way society operates, and it is the common, everyday experience of most people of color in America (Delgado &Stefancic ,2006). One of the key trademarks of CRT work is the inclusion of race as a central component of scholarship. Despite claims of a “post-racial” America, CRT experts argue that white supremacy is an inextricable part of American life (Ono, 2010).
The second principle of CRT is interest convergence, which states that civil rights triumphs for black people can only be achieved when white and black interests coincide. The majority “status quo” formulates “common sense beliefs,” according to Bell’s theory of interest convergence. As a result, the majority’s views oppress the minority group. To put it another way, interest convergence is the idea that whites will allow and support racial justice/progress to the extent that it benefits them (Bell. 1980).
The principle of storytelling and counter-storytelling was assumed by CRT in its third tenet. These focus on showing how specific narrative telling is used to silence certain cultures and individuals, particularly people of color. Critical race theory attempted such reforms by producing testimonios, or narratives written by persons of color. These “counter-stories” contradict mainstream cultural and personal narratives that reify people of color’s marginalization, giving voice to the racial minority’s experience of racial segregation and other forms of discrimination.
Fourth, according to the CRT idea of “social construction of race,” race and races are products of social cognition and connections. Races are social categories that society invents, manipulates, or retires when it is convenient. They are not objective, inherent, or fixed, and they have no biological or genetic basis. (Stefancic & Delgado, 2006).
Hartlep defended his position by citing examples of socially constructed race in American history, such as the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case, in which the United States Supreme Court declared that “Negroes,” whether free or enslaved, were not citizens; or how, in 1935, the American congress passed two laws that denied nonwhite minorities Social Security and barred them from unions (Hartlep, 2009). Finally, the fifth theme of CRT, the notion that whites have actually been recipients of civil rights legislation.
Implications to the Evaluation of Education Programme in Africa
To ensure that evaluation of educational programmes in Africa does not relegate some groups while benefitting some; there is a greater need to identify all the individuals/groups who the programme concerns. The implication of this study in the evaluation of education programmes in Africa are thus stated:
- The theoretical lenses examined in this study requires that the initiation of any educational programme requires the cognizant of the cultural and social context in which the programme will take place, this is to ensure that no unit of the lager social framework is left out of the consideration.
- The organization of the school curriculum should capture the pluralism of the society whose needs the curricula intends to serve.
- Again, the choice of theory on which to base the evaluation study is another area to apply this study in evaluation of education in Africa. The evaluator being aware of the power inequities and the diversity of social background inherent in our school system should employ a transformative theory in determining their impact on the program outcomes. This creates room for an open acknowledgement of the existing power and how those without power can gain access to the lines of communication. This acknowledgment could be used as a basis for discussion to change conditions so that the probability of a repeat occurrence of marginalization is reduced in the African school system.
- Identification and involvement of the stakeholders from each of the identified group in the evaluation process is another essential implication of the study. This is to understand their interests and expectations hence engaging them in reviewing the educational objectives and development of the evaluation questions that will guide in probing the efficiency of the programme.
- The African nation has proscribed LGBT in any form of it, yet the diverse ethnicity and the culturally relegation of women is still found among us today. The education system should be arranged to reflect the opinions/views of those in these groups. Mernten (1999) proposed in this regard, the use of an inclusive model of evaluation that can address the tension between what is needed to accurately represent the experiences of marginalized groups and the traditional canons of research that emphasizes the search for truth, objectivity, credibility, and validity, all the
- The evaluation questions, methods/ strategies for data collection should be suitable to all the members of the target population. This entails the avoidance of languages/ statement that may be offensive to one group hence making them to withdraw far from the reach of the evaluator. In such case the intended data from such individuals about the effectiveness of the programme will be lost.
Recommendations on Provision of Social Justice for The Marginalized Groups
The study has identified and briefly examined three theories of marginalized groups: Queer/LGBTQ theories, Feminist theory and Critical race theory. Based on the ongoing, the three theories under study are all critical theories, focusing on reflective assessment and critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures, thereby liberate people from the ideologies/assumptions that enslaved them.
Gedro and Mizzi(2014) was in this line of thought hence they posits that, the Queer and Feminist theory both interrogate the role of gender at the individual level, at the sexual/relational affiliation level, at the organizational level, and at the societal level. Both existed to challenge the power structure that excludes minority groups. While critical race theory challenges the racism situation as it prevails in America.
To ensure that the society apportions fairness and equity to the individuals for whom these discourses were made, there is an imminent need to see the world through their own views; and this is exactly what this study has done. Consequently, the study forwards the following recommendations
- To achieve the social justice for these marginalized groups, there should be a critically pluralist and democratic, transformative perception of the society in which we live in terms of sex/gender as well as race.
- Since viewing through the lenses of these theories, need arises for promoting a non-normative/non-dominant of heterosexuality and patriarchy over other differential sexual orientation, hence acknowledging the fluid nature of sexuality.
- Furthermore, those individuals in the LGBTQ group or people of color shouldn’t be perceived as lesser human beings, to avoid inflicting psychological injury upon them. Also, individuals in the minority sexual group shouldn’t be stigmatized nor be disallowed from parting in the existing power structure.
- Finally, though the legislative act in Africa has putting those in minority sexual group in a tight corner, yet a programme can be created to assist them to blend into the perceived normal orientation by the African society, thereby having a positive attitude towards them.