Our Way or the Highway

My understanding of Kumashiro’s definition of common is that common sensical ideas are the customs, values, ideologies, practices, assumptions, and expectations that a society has adopted that are socially acceptable, seen as what should be followed, and are practiced and reinforced in social institutions. They become automatic and unchallenged which ultimately leads to oppression because much of  “common sense” privileges one group while marginalizing others. In Education, there are certain standards of knowledge and skills which are, as Kumashiro argues, administered by people who come from already privileged circumstances and experiences. This limits the purpose of schooling, alternate perspectives, and anything that challenge the “common sense” which are are easily dismissed. As privileged members of a society, I agree with the fact that we abide to what we should be doing and should be thinking because of the social pressure to conform and the reliability of our own comfort. If everyone around you is acting and “doing” a certain way in a school, it would be hard and exhausting to challenge because we would be going outside of our comfort zone (check out the Asch experiment on conformity to peers as well as the Milgram experiment on obedience to authoritative figures). We have adopted the mindset that how we should be doing things is the right way and dismiss any challenging ideas which would most likely mitigate oppression. However, different dominate ideologies and values in education are silenced which is why we need to pay attention to common sense.

Oppression has become normal and I think it is pretty easy to be blinded by privilege to actually see what is going on. I know people who argue that we get what we put into it (meritocracy) and totally dismiss the idea that marginalized groups are victims of their circumstances. As Kumashiro puts it,  oppression is masked in concepts that this is the way things are suppose to be, and in order to fully understand the consequences of this, we need be aware and implement practical anti-oppressive strategies in our education system. Kumashiro outlines what these steps so I wont go into detail, but basically, educators have the opportunity to make a difference in shaping the perspectives of students and how they, as a future generation can view the world in an anti-oppressive way.

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