When, oh when, will I get rid of the “female chip on my shoulder” and stop being such a goddamned anti-racist feminist–you know, someone who believes women & PoC are people, and worse yet, acknowledges structural bias (some of which has quite recognizably aided me in my life)?!?!?!?
My latest column on Slate is about how in the corporatized, adjunctified university, nobody knows what to call their instructors anymore, and so it’s important for said instructors to spell it out and be patient when they forget (and, also, to make sure the disrespectful know when they are being disrespectful, intentionally or not).
I, personally, prefer “Dr. Schuman” in most contexts (I didn’t spend 7 years in Evil Graduate School for nothing), but “Rebecca” if the institution has a first-name policy (such as the Pierre Laclede Honors College!). If a student calls me “Rebecca” off the bat, that doesn’t actually bother me personally, because I see us as two adults conversing. What bothers me is “Miss Schuman” or “Miss Rebecca,” in which case they best be getting ready to do some pirouettes (there’s nobody I love and respect more than a dance teacher, but I have not earned that particular title!). And, of course, there’s little worse than a sneering “Ms. Schuman,” of the sort Brian Leiter likes to dole out. Sometimes my students try to just call me “Schuman,” and I also stop them there, explaining that that is reserved for true friends only, and I cannot be friends with people I grade. But the point of the piece is that there are so many ludicrous rules right now (that vary from university to university), that it is definitely up to us to name ourselves and then correct (and in some cases, correct and correct and correct).
In the piece, I also discuss Katrina Gulliver’s recent (and hilari-tragic) missive in IHE about super-informality, and Will Miller’s largely tonedeaf response–and in said discussion, issues of privilege and white maleness are raised; the invisible knapsack is both alluded to and linked. BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS REAL. However, it is but a part of the story’s argument, not its whole thing.
— Mister Bubba T. Bubb (@Mister_Bubba) March 13, 2014
— UnabashedProgressive (@UnabashedProg) March 13, 2014