Is Commonsense Really Common?

Kumashiro would argue that the idea of ‘commonsense’ is what everyone should know, which is the default answer that most people would agree on. However, what is deemed as commonsense can be different according to one’s perspective, as it all depends on one’s culture, values, gender, race, socioeconomic class, experiences, background, and many more. That being said, commonsense cannot be universal. People are used to their own ways of thinking and routines, and they would think that those viewpoints and behaviours are considered as commonsense. Although it is not truly ‘commonsense’ to them, newcomers are expected to learn what is ‘commonsense’ in the new culture they reside in, whereas those commonsense is known by locals and seen as ‘norms’, as the locals have been raised with those ‘norms’. This implies that it might be easier for newcomers to question the commonsense because the locals consider it to be normal, while not even considering to question. Also, commonsense is practiced repeatedly, which makes it hard to recognize and challenge it, as it comforts people.


It is important to pay attention to commonsense because it helps us feel comfortable to question our ways of thinking, and intentionally allow this to happen. Due to the fact that those ways of thinking that we are used to, the ‘norms’ in other words, “privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, age, and other social markers” (Kumashiro, 2009. p. XXXVI), it must be questioned and challenged with various viewpoints. By challenging what is seen as normative, we would become able to broaden our views toward the differences among people, and feel comfortable to accept those differences while embracing the diversity, which is a key to pursue anti-oppressive education.



Kumashiro. (2009). The Problem of Common SenseIn Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI.


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