Missing the Point

A neighbor of mine is a chronic alcoholic, cared for by  people hired by his family who shop for him, clean his place, and check up on him when the neighbors complain about the trash, the noise the in the middle of the night, the cigarette butts.

And every reader of this blog would recognize the family name. In a heartbeat.

So I sigh deeply when I read yet more class stereotypes, in this newsletter (resurrected this week by its editor in response to the Henry Louis Gates incident) that offers advice on how to handle classroom discussions in which class differences arise, such as discussion  about terror in one’s life and a wealthy student speaks of scuba equipment malfunctions while the “lower class” student tells of his father being arrested for drink driving.


What about the terror of the pink slip, or an industrial accident, or your financial aid check being delayed?  Or the terror of being stopped for Driving While Poor.

When we still have faculty for whom, it seems, it’s news  that “Not everyone goes skiing in Switzerland on vacation,”  “or has been to the Louvre or the Met”, we have our work cut out for us.

And newsletters like this – no matter how well intended — aren’t helping.

One thought on “Missing the Point

  1. Jeanne August 13, 2009 / 5:59 pm

    I’m struck dumb by the “further reading” list. It includes books published in 1984, and 1995 (and none more recent), and a ten-year-old academic article. WOW. They couldn’t find anything more recent, or are they only looking at members’ book and articles lists? How about Lubrano’s book about his experience straddling class cultures? That at least was in THIS CENTURY.

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