Your weekend Public Service Announcement: Colorado has snow, bears.

Y'all come back now when the airport reopens!

Y’all come back now when the airport reopens!

Why, Denver Post, why do you bother with these “news” stories?

Hungry bears emerging from hibernation.
It is snowing in Colorado.

More later today, because apparently drizzle and snow have shut down Denver International Airport and much of this entire state, so what else can I do but stay at home, put a pot of soup on, and get my blog on? Continue reading

Race, sex, and voting rights in American history: again, the longue durée

Memories of 2008!

Deez nuts!

Hillary Clinton, running against a white man for the Democratic nomination, loses the support of white men.  But in the end, does it really matter?  When her opponent was a black man, she won white men by a country mile.  This says more about white men’s prejudices than it does about Hillary Clinton.

In any case, I’ve been frustrated by the tendency of the political media to treat white men as though they’re the real voters, the real Americans, and the rest of us as though our votes don’t really count the same.  It’s seen as “inevitable,” somehow, that Clinton wins non-whites and women of all ethnicities, whereas it’s a real achievement for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump–two white men–to win a majority of white men’s votes.

Why does the white man insist on voting with his peen?  That’s unsanitary, as well as disgusting identity politics. Continue reading

“Some say” Clinton is “dishonest.” Will it stop us from voting for her?

Clinton2016Considering that we know that the more competent a woman is perceived, the less liked she is, should we really be surprised that a lot of Americans think Hillary Clinton is “dishonest?”  I’m not.  It’s better for a woman running for president to be seen as competent and unlikable rather than incompetent and likable.

Who’s voting to make Hillary Clinton his or her daughter, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, the Virgin Mary, Pope of Rome, or Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox church?  I think she’s running for president.  I’m not sure people’s suspicions about her honesty will make a difference.  Do we want someone to be honest in her dealings with Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, or Mitch McConnell?  Or do we want her to execute multiple mindfracks while playing twelve-dimensional chess in order to pursue the best interests of the United States?

(Have these people never watched House of Cards, in either of its 1980s or 2010s versions, or even the goody-goo-goo West Wing, sacre bleu?) Continue reading

The Big Sleep

Cookies! Because cookies!

Cookies! Because cookies!

Hey, why the long silence on this blog?  Long story short:  I’m reviewing the copy-edits of my book manuscript, AND it’s the end of the semester, AND I’ve been so discouraged by the news of yet another mass murder in the U.S.A. on the heels of our latest in Colorado, not to mention the pure heroin-grade hate and fear that’s being mainlined into our politics these days, that I haven’t had the energy or the inspiration to write anything meaningful.

(Does anyone have a Naloxone shot for the body politic?)

I’m just busy, and sad, and so sorry.  So very sorry. Continue reading

Who’s telling who to STFU at American universities? Observations on teaching at a HWCU.

cupofSTFUAh, yes: freedom of speech. What some really mean when they evoke it is, “my right to have my say and not have you talk back,” like all of those crybabies who have cancelled their appearances at commencement ceremonies in the last few years because not every student and faculty member greeted their future appearance on campus with hugs and cocoa and slankets.

If you really believe in liberty of speech, then stop telling others to STFU.  In my view, the people who are being criticized most vigorously for speaking up lately at Yale and the University of Missouri are all too often quiet about their experiences, silent on campus, and eager not to draw attention to themselves, and it’s these students whose voices we need to listen to the most.

Too many people have zero imagination about what it is to be African American or Latin@ on a historically white college or university (HWCU) campus. But everyone who has ever attended or taught or worked at a HWCU knows that African Americans on HWCUs are viewed with suspicion just for being there, let alone when they try to unlock their own damn bikes or organize a protest about their marginalization.

I teach at a HWCU in Northern Colorado, a place that is increasingly Latin@ but has very few African American residents.  In my classes, my experience with non-white students in general, and African American students in particular, over the past fourteen years is that they go out of their way to be polite, inoffensive, unobtrusive, and try not to call attention to themselves in any way.  Their efforts to try to fly under the radar and evade notice grieve me, even as I think I understand their interest in remaining quiet and unobtrusive.  I work to offer a non-white perspective on history constantly, but I don’t know if I’m making it better or worse for my non-white students (or if they even care.) That’s the reality of attending a HWCU for the majority of black students in the United States:  working hard to get your degree, trying not be noticed, not taking up much space or speaking up in class. Continue reading

Insert buzzword-filled garbage headline here.

Satire worthy of Jonathan Swift on the future of higher education op-ed generating machines over at The Tattooed Prof (Kevin Gannon)  Go read:

Cutting-edge overgeneralizations culled from evolutionary science tells us that we’re hardwired to meet these existential threats via a combination of fight-or-flight response and provocative thinkpieces. American Higher Education stands at such a moment now, a disruptive juncture to end all disruptive junctures. At the end of the day, it will be the Innovators who preside over the College of the Future. And they will be joined by the Humanities professors who are brave enough to ignore the nattering nabobs of pedagogy and cling tenaciously to What Made Us Great. Both groups will win, or neither will. That’s the nature of Disruption. 

Continue reading