Surviving the $675,000-question: Clinton’s Cultural Studies Primer

One cannot begrudge Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s earning power. She’s a productive, tough, smart, political leader. Her genuine expressions of gratitude appease supporters. She donates to charity and pays taxes. However, Sec. Clinton’s honest answer to a tough question from CNN’s Anderson Cooper about accepting a $675,000 speaking fee from a Wall Street firm undermines all of the goodwill earned through a lot of hard work.

She gave an honest answer at the beautiful Derry, NH Opera House. Now, she must work harder to win back the public’s trust. Many voters consider income inequality a crucial issue this campaign season.

Sec. Clinton must use her knowledge and her skills to ameliorate the scourge of income inequality in the United States of America. Madame Clinton must create and announce a plan to end income inequality, reduce the student loan burden, and strengthen subsidies for students, and caregivers who have left the work.

Imagine this. What if every voter and potential voter were to share his or her most recent W-2 with Sec. Clinton? Would the reality of income inequality become more tangible to her?

Can Sec. Clinton demonstrate affinity for the precarious — and mostly female — part-time English professor trying to live on $11,051.48 a year in a city where average rent on a one-bedroom apartment is $2,011?

Candidates with fat paychecks touting practical solutions to complicated economic and social problems cannot appear to rationalize income inequality.

But wealthy political leaders who solve the problem of income inequality win the nation’s trust, and The White House.

 

Want to Create a Safer World? Create a Safer Classroom

Recent events in Mali, Paris, Beirut, and Nigeria focus our attention on the problem of extreme brutality perpetrated against innocents. As politicians debate policy proposals for dealing with terrorism abroad, scholars, community leaders, and students should not forget the importance of creating a culture of care in the classroom. 

Mainstream media seems to have forgotten about the South Carolina teen girl who suffered mistreatment and humiliation in front of her peers and her male teacher in a classroom. 

Also forgotten — the Texas teen attacked after leaving a pool party. The latter incident did not occur in a school setting, however the incident was witnessed by the girl’s peers and adults, including males.

It is important to revisit the space of the classroom where kids interact and form relationships that exist both inside and outside of the institution. Does the classroom space as a site of safety fit into the American narrative of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Educators and policy makers may reflect on how students’ affective classroom experiences impact their life choices. 

Research questions:

  1. How does witnessing violence in a school setting impact young people’s vocational and avocational choices? 
  2. Are kids who witness abuse of other kids in school more likely to choose authoritative jobs, or uninvolved   jobs (meaning jobs where they do not typically engage in boundary-setting with peers and subordinates)?
  3. Is someone who witnessed classroom violence more likely to become a leader or a follower?

This Month in Racism, Rape, Killings, and Torture

How, not when?

How will America solve the problem of inhumanity? What can humanities scholars do to change the culture of abuse?

Is this really only America’s problem? Or is the apparent fact that dozens of countries allowed the U.S to place secret torture prisons in their counties a matter of a global abuse of power?

Hollywood. This problem of global state-sanctioned torture needs a big finish.

The culture of abuse, reflected in our institutions, endangers what we hold so dear, freedom.

The higher education community must pay attention to the alarming societal trends of marginalization, ostracism, and brutality at the root of rape-killing-torture culture. This culture, eerily Fanonian, with ties to state violence, must change. Before change happens, the American education industry must reflect on its ties to state violence, as this Chronicle of Higher Education article on a sociology professor whose dad was a Nazi, reflects.

Fanon writes:

“The Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.”

As, Fanon notes in Black Skin, White Masks, societies react strangely when confronted by the Other. Think of the revelation of weeping CIA agents witnessing intentional violent acts perpetrated against other humans suspected of wrong. These acts, outlined in the 500-page summary of the “enhanced interrogation” (torture) of those held in U.S. custody post 9/11, reveals tears shed by those hired by the U.S. government, with US. tax dollars. Weirdly, the salaries of good people who give a damn about others may have funded international state-sponsored torture produced by psychologists trained at U.S. institutions of higher learning.

We must ask: Does the American Psychological Association approve of the state-sponsored torture carried out by PhD-holding psychologists? Are college students being taught the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were detailed in the #TortureReport?

If anything of what we have learned from the U.S. Senate Torture Report is true, then let the tears rain down; all of us should weep. Then, and only then, can the work begin to repair the damage caused by the neuroticism of segregated society.

How can we expect America’s youth to thrive in a system that is only just beginning to come to terms with a legacy of trauma?

How?

How can we expect America’s talented to thrive in any man-made system that dismisses them simply due to circumstance of birth?

What Can Hollywood do?

This problem of gross abuse of power may be solved by the Hollywood entertainment industry. Hollywood exports culture. Hollywood can export reconciliation.

Hollywood power players may atone by exemplifying the qualities of humility and empathy desperately needed today.

Hollywood can integrate.

How can Hollywood become more inclusive and accepting of others so as not to perpetuate racist, sexist, classist, and segregationist tropes? Look at the recent Sony e-mail hack to see racism on display.

How can Hollywood address rape and celebrity culture?

Bigwigs of America, PhDs of Academe, your silence and your secrecy is killing us. It is time for you to take responsibility.

Yes.

America’s elite must solve the problem of rape, racism, killings, and torture. Self-reflection, truth, and reconciliation matter.

Elites must work to repair society.

When elites start working they will ask themselves how is it that they have allowed PhDs to run secret torture chambers, or “enhanced interrogation techniques” programs, then maybe we will have the kind of change desperately needed, today.

Stop Racist Praxis

Racism infects American politics, as this article in The Atlantic outlines.

Time for change led by the perpetrators of ostracism has come. Society is fed up with dumb rationale for promoting the bullshit of bigotry, whether it manifests in rape, torture, state violence, or Sony executive-emails.

Gender and Education

Boys and girls of color are often singled-out by teachers when discussion of tone, attitude, and classroom behavior becomes their issue of concern. As this New York Times article suggests, girls sometimes need to go to court to fight against tyranny.
Rape and black man’s subjectivity

One article by The Times Picayune’s Jarvis DeBerry even referred to the Cosby rape allegations and the struggle for black men’s sovereignty in the same article.

Race and income inequality

Here is a link to a Pew study on income inequality.

When Torture is What It Is: Torture

Human Rights Watch reports specific definitions of torture.

Jenna McLaughlin of Mother Jones reports that what ever ideas the public may have had about what it takes to land a job as a CIA interrogator, in the end, all it takes is an a attitude of carelessness.

Scholars who torture in the name of America must be interrogated, not tolerated. Hollywood executives who delight in social exclusion must realize the limitations of their own humanity and practice empathy through reparations. Law officers reduce their self-worth when acting with malice. Educators dismissing students for no reason perpetuate the cycle of hopelessness familiar to the ostracized.

How much of this inhumane treatment will the average person tolerate? Elites must prepare themselves to answer this question.

Society does not need elite guilt as much as it needs elites to assume responsibility and rectify problems for which they are responsible.

Age of Alterity: Age of The Other: The Critical Pedagogies Working Group Panel and Worshop for the 13th Annual CSA Meeting in Riverside

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Taylor, G. (November 26, 2014). “Age of Alterity: Age of the Other,” conference poster.

 “Under leadership we have been made to despise our own possibilities and to develop into parasites; by service we may prove sufficient unto the task of self-development and contribute our part to modern culture” (p. 119).

~ Carter G. Woodson

The Miseducation of the Negro (1933, 2000).

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