An imagined community is a socially constructed community because it is constructed by the imaginations of its members that believe they belong to that community.
This cultural text is a music video that explores what it would be like if the Disney princess, Belle, lived in a “ghetto” African American community. The ghetto is an imagined community that has been popularized through pop culture. Most of the famous Hip Hop artists grew up in the “hood” and have talked about their experiences of growing up in these imagined communities. Todrick Hall, the director of this film has included racism and the hegemonic idea that approves the racism. (This also ties to Blackface because the audience was not bothered by the show and the theatrical make up.) The imagined part of the ghetto community is the stereotypical lifestyle of the African Americans, the way they dress, talk, treat others, etc.
The imagined community of the ghetto is often taken in a negative way. If the people living in theses communities have imagined themselves in the stereotypical types of ways, is it their fault that they are seen negatively? Or did our hegemonic ideals allow us to poke fun at their differences to make their imagined community seem negative?
Paul Robbins defines hegemony in “Lawn People” as “the pervasive power to turn enforcement into something that appears to happen “spontaneously.” Ideologies work through hegemony by consent.
This cultural text is a video of a high school student, Jeff Bliss, confronting his teacher about the ways she teaches the class. His argument is that the teacher isn’t trying hard enough to actually teach her students and that she shouldn’t expect them to learn by simply handing out packets/assignments. He argues that to her, her job as a teacher may only mean just a paycheck, but for him it is “(his) country’s future and (his) education.” The American Educational System has evolved into a system that tests student’s abilities and knowledge with one non-universal standard. This standard creates exams and the exam scores students receive define their intelligence. So, all teachers focus on is training their students to think and grow their knowledge in ways to score well on these exams rather than in ways to help their original imagination and intelligence to grow. Rarely are students put in an environment where they are free to learn the way they naturally do. Meaning, every other student that thinks and learns in a different standard is considered falling behind. This has caused students to study and work hard to abide to these standards so that they can succeed and move forward in life. This educational system is taken in as common sense meaning it is hegemonic in our culture. Jeff Bliss argued that, “there’s kids in here that don’t learn like that.”
People like Jeff Bliss have seen beyond the hegemony of the American educational system. So then, when and how will our ideologies evolve to help us see against our common sense and in whole, act together to move forward in our educational system today?