Kumashiro and Common Sense

Kumashiro does define common sense as the things that everyone should know, however her definition does go deeper. In a traditional sense, we look at common sense through a very biased sense, and it is usually through the dominant culture, or whiteness. What Kumashiro is saying is that common sense will be different based on one’s culture, their understanding of life, and upbringing. Kumashiro reveals her experience of teaching in a Nepali village as a Peace Corps volunteer, and how the villagers appeared to be taking common sense for granted. That was when she realized, common sense is not so common for everybody. There are many contributing factors to what we know and see as common sense.

The biggest example I can take from my own life is my brother. He has FASD, and that disability is often characterized with one’s inability to have common sense. Since reading this article, I have realized I will no longer use that definition to describe him, because this article has showed me that we all have common sense relative to our individuality, and that common sense is more personal then it is universal.

In defining what Common sense is, I have already begun to delve into why it is important. I would like to further examine how common sense is important by looking through the lens of inclusion. The issue I personally have with the current definition of common sense is that it puts everybody in a small box. It constricts those that may think differently or may be unable to reach the standard of what has been established as common sense. Those who have disabilities are not less then or unable to have common sense, nor are they less smart then others. We tend to value and see only a narrow range of possibilities, and the way common sense is perceived is often exclusive and hurtful to those who have different perspectives, and those who have disabilities.

I personally believe common sense goes hand in hand with values. Therefore, it is important to recognize varying beliefs on common sense. Just because someone does not value the same thing as someone else, does not mean their perspective is lesser than what the majority perceives as common sense. I personally have a gearing disability. Therefore, a lot of what I believe to be common sense is not what the majority would claim is common sense. If we define common sense as the things we think that everyone should know, then of course, my definition is going to be different because my life experience is different.