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One of the activities on Moodle for this chapter is about the presence of hegemonies within our culture today. For mine, I wrote about public schools as hegemonies and thought it would be fun to carry this conversation onto the discussion boards. Students within US public schools are conditioned through curriculum to believe that the dominant culture within the country is the superior one, and all others are inferior. From an early age, we as students are taught that assimilating to the ways of the European colonists was the only way to form a successful society since the conception of our country. Many students stand by the belief that they did not truly understand the importance of other cultures within our world until their educational experience was almost over, in the form of a class such as AP World History. However, by this point within our schooling career, it is too late to undo all of the signals we have received throughout our education that our culture is the dominant one, and it is left up to students to go out of their way to educate themselves otherwise. I acknowledge that all of us in AP Lit attempt to be exceptions to this rule, and are likely not as brainwashed as so many others within our society. But it is also inherently our job to look back and ask ourselves: how much did we truly pursue education on things which did not directly reflect back upon our own cultures, presumptions, and belief systems? The only way to combat this systematic conditioning of our minds into an “America-first” outlook is to actively take every piece of knowledge we are given within public schools with a grain of salt, while remembering that most injustices brought about within our country are crimes not of looking, but of looking furiously away.
The ideas that Hannah was bringing up really made me think about the "crime of not knowing" or simple ignorance as it is seen so often in our society that is constantly changing and shifting to accommodate those who are in control. Other than the school system and government controlling the students and the district mandates, there is still one clear cultural hegemony within public schools and that is the control by different "cliques" and peer pressure. You could walk into any high school and see MANY kids with air pods in, air force ones on. Why are so many people buying these products that are not particularly special in any significant way and are expensive? It seems that social trends are controlling high schoolers immensely these days. Some kids feel that they need to obtain items like these to simply fit in with the crowd. I find that rather interesting. Why is it, that so many kids have allowed others to determine what is right and what is wrong in terms of social acceptance. Why is it that kids with android phones are made fun of for having a perfectly functioning phone? (One that doesn't need radioactive mud from slave labor) It's almost as if there are social guidelines for what someone must wear, must buy, must have, must listen to, must appropriate and I could go on. There seems to be such a big sense of insecurity that many are afraid to step out of the shadows of monotony and truly show a sense of individualism. This force has grown so big in the last few years that people are starting to get made fun of for not having the LATEST model of iPhone or air pod. I believe our consumer society has something to do with it but a large part of it is also the intense social norms that have been put in place by teens in high schools.
I agree that the socialization of public education has both warped our perception of individuality and in part worked to suppress cultures other than the white American culture. For my writing on cultural hegemonies, I decided to talk about the controversial topic of religion. Although not all religion or religious practice is bad by any means, some certain religions or traditions can be harmful to those who don't fit the "norm" of the religion (i.e. different races, gender identities, sexual/romantic orientation). Adding on to the socialization of public schools, I noticed that different but similar effects can be produced in religious schools. My mom works in a private Christian elementary school, and I've picked up on some different things that promote conformity. The kids in the school sometimes get into talking about how being gay is bad, and the teacher doesn't necessarily disagree. The absence of a separation of church and education makes conformity into the religion possible, and potentially suppresses the traits of kids within the school.
I decided to take a very modern approach in Moodle when talking about hegemony and tried my best to relate the concept directly back to social media influencers. Cultural hegemony can be seen throughout Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and other forms of social media because of the culture that has developed throughout the last 10 or so years. Like-interests have made users come together in the most unexpected ways possible, but the part that really ties into hegemony is the following that some users have and the impact that these people have on the content posted by other "non-relevant" users. Kylie Jenner promotes Sugar Hair Care gummy vitamins, and then because of her following, other people buy this product in order to achieve the same looks. This is a very simplified version of what was written about on Moodle or the extent that I could go into about this topic in order to prove this point, but nonetheless it is a 21st century example of hegemony.
I thought the cultural hegemonies were very interesting to think about, contrary to what I saw others writing about, I chose to write about our parents. I said they affected us in ways where we wanted to please them so we do what we think they will like. I also mentioned in my post how they install beliefs in us from a young age which affects what we think and who we are today in one way or another. I feel like this hegemony affects some people more than others and is based on how close one is to their parents. I think this hegemony will exit for many decades to come.
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