Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Trouble with Hegemony

I was rereading some of the school work I have had to do this semester and I came across something that stood out to me. In a chapter review exercise, I had paraphrased part of Gary Howard's We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools as saying:

"Hegemony creates truth and does so without self-criticism."

I want to reread the original passage because, since this is a paraphrase, I don't know to what extent this is Howard's idea and to what extent I read into the original work. What jumps out at me in this though is that the above statement really seems to encapsulate the trouble with hegemonies of any sort. Even Noam Chomsky has said that the US is the "greatest country in the world" while acknowledging some of the grievous acts that it is committing. The problem with a hegemony - any hegemony - is that no matter how benevolent it may be, it is creating its own truth and is doing so without self-criticism. The great problem with hegemonies is not that they have faults, of course they have faults, the problem is that they are so often blind to them.