frustrations

01Mar10

I have moments like this every few months, where I look around at the people in my program, I roam through the blogosphere, and I wonder what the hell I’m doing in a field where people think so radically different from me. Not in a productive sense or in an intellectual sense but in a humane sense, I guess. I have a strong standard of how it is that one treats people, one that academia fails to meet on a daily basis. It’s not mean-spiritedness, per se, but it is a distinct lack of concern, complete ignoring of the ways people are abused in academia daily. It’s a system in which people who benefit claim the system’s fine, for the most part, because they happened to be fortunate not to get stuck in the crossfire. Well, that’s just not good enough.

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3 Responses to “frustrations”

  1. I’m sorry for your frustration! I know how you feel and wonder myself at how so many people can be so blind. For instance, we have no PoC in my program (that I’ve met, there may be some ABDs somewhere) and when I mentioned this once no one else in the room had even noticed. Granted, African Americans don’t make up a very high percentage of my state’s population, but grad schools draw from a pool of non-residents too! No one I know has ever mentioned that our recruitment strategy should change to better address diversity. Our faculty is pretty diverse (in terms of women and minorities), but our grad student population is not. I wish there was something I could say to ease the frustration!

  2. 2 thefrogprincess

    Ah, no worries, THE. I should have known better than to wade back into the academia/job market conversation that happened in January. But I’m still struggling to work out how it is that two groups of people insist on talking past each other and, in particular, why it is that faculty members (mostly all tenured) are so determined to negate any possibility that there are problems at every level of academia. There is nothing that irks me more than the “shut up and take it” mentality. Maybe I was naive to think that my time was valuable and that time spent pursuing a PhD should, in most circumstances, get me a job in the field. I know that’s not the reality but I refuse to accept that it’s fine for the countless of un- or underemployed PhD holders out there.

    Moreover, I’ve never understood the mentality of “things worked fine for me, therefore it’s your individual situation, nothing we can do about that.” With the exception of my particular situation, I’m in a department and at a university that largely does things well and I’ve benefited immensely from that. That does not preclude me from looking outside my own experience and noting what is and isn’t fair.

  3. 3 thefrogprincess

    One last thing, though: it’s becoming increasingly clear why there are so few large-scale changes in our profession. Somehow everybody’s bought the line that it’s all okay and they pretty effectively tune out any suggestions to the contrary by talking us down.


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