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Author Topic: The Absence of William Fulkner and Caroline Barr  (Read 24956 times)
marigolds
looks far too young to be a
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 1:13:55 PM »

I'm sorry you sound as though you are going through a genuinely difficult time, jane_rejected.  And yes, there are certainly plenty of high-and-mighty entitled faculty (often, but by no means always, found in the ranks of the older white male professoriate, who came up before the idea of diversity was a gleam in its daddy's eye.) 

From what I can glean of the situation (your post WAS confusing), it sounds as though you not only feel marginalized in this culture, but that you've had a serious clash with one of the older professors?  I hope that you (and everyone else involved) is safe. And I hope that the process of investigation/prosecution works and that justice is administered, whatever that may be.

Don't be chased away by snark.
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yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 2:08:56 PM »

No one is mocking the issue

Yes, they are mocking the issue*.  After all, how can someone tell how sensitive to be if we can't readily identify the groups involved instead of simply addressing the problem with being a fish out of water or dealing with crab pot (the other crabs pull you down if you try to escape; that's why crab pots in the market don't need lids)?

I am not mocking the issue.  I was mocking the discourse, I suppose, because I found it impenetrable.

All I can say is that your problem in the classroom, OP, however you address it, is not your only problem.

And that (pax Barthes) cryptography is a discipline, not a way of life.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 2:11:53 PM by yellowtractor » Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
macaroon
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 10:56:23 PM »


So, my intelligent friends, what should Kim do?

If Kim wants help, she should dispense with the confusing metaphors and just ask the question she wants to ask. 

Really, not being snarky, but I have no idea what you are talking about.   

Some of us HAVE had to get restraining orders on troubled students, but that's a mental health issue, not a diversity issue. 
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nezahualcoyotl
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2012, 2:32:30 AM »

I have no idea who Caroline Barr was. Yes, the original post is somewhat unclear (though the gist of it makes sense). But my gut feeling, for what it's worth, is that most of the complaints stem at least in part from the authors not being able to tell if the OP or the students belong to a group they feel they should support or not. My gut feeling is also that the OP resorted to "green" and "purple" simply to try to get others to comment on the merits of how she perceives the situation, rather than judge it on the basis of the ethnicities involved - some of the responses lend credence to the view that replies would indeed be based on the latter if she had written candidly.

... I'd also target you because you feel weak and easy to intimidate.

Yes, this is very common behavior. It is also cowardly.
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heynonnynonnymouse
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2012, 11:52:31 AM »

I had very little trouble parsing the original post, and even "filling in the blanks" if it was particularly important (though I agree with nezahualcoyotl that maybe it isn't, so much) but maybe that's because I have a lot of friends and colleagues in similar situations to the OP.

OP: It's hard to tell from your post, however, if your fears about students harassing you or even breaking into your house are reasonable to extrapolate from their aggressive behavior or based in less rational emotions feeding off of other circumstances. I would expect, in your shoes, simply knowing that some of your students resent you because you are Not Like Them shouldn't be surprising, unless you did not do your graduate work in the US. It sounds a bit like this was one incident that typifies a general feeling of unease you're having about not feeling support from the local community. The issue seems to be far more not having a social support system in your town and how that ties into racial issues than specifically *just* a diversity issue. I would suggest, if possible, speaking with a therapist, and also making an effort to become closer to colleagues and peers in your community, if indeed these are symptoms of a greater issue of isolation.
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012, 12:26:25 PM »

I had very little trouble parsing the original post, and even "filling in the blanks" if it was particularly important (though I agree with nezahualcoyotl that maybe it isn't, so much) but maybe that's because I have a lot of friends and colleagues in similar situations to the OP.

How do you know you parsed it correctly? The OP never told us the whole story in plain language. We have reconstructed what we think was the true story. But that leaves much room for error.

I too thought I had no problem parsing it, until I read the many different interpretations that other readers came up with. Perhaps I was right, or not.
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janewales
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2012, 12:47:25 PM »

I have no idea who Caroline Barr was. Yes, the original post is somewhat unclear (though the gist of it makes sense). But my gut feeling, for what it's worth, is that most of the complaints stem at least in part from the authors not being able to tell if the OP or the students belong to a group they feel they should support or not.


My goodness no, that's not what I meant at all. My confusion stemmed from the references to the FBI and the campus sheriff, as well as from what seemed like a mixing of the direction of the threat-- from a student? a group of students? From an unsupportive administration? I simply meant that without knowing who had done what to whom, it was impossible to offer useful advice.
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academic_cog
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WWW
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2012, 4:58:00 PM »

I have no idea who Caroline Barr was. Yes, the original post is somewhat unclear (though the gist of it makes sense). But my gut feeling, for what it's worth, is that most of the complaints stem at least in part from the authors not being able to tell if the OP or the students belong to a group they feel they should support or not. My gut feeling is also that the OP resorted to "green" and "purple" simply to try to get others to comment on the merits of how she perceives the situation, rather than judge it on the basis of the ethnicities involved - some of the responses lend credence to the view that replies would indeed be based on the latter if she had written candidly.

Caroline Barr was William Faulkner's mammy, if I remember correctly. But the title says that Faulkner and Barr are "absent," and I couldn't figure out the relationship between the title and the story of "Kim" within the post. Does the author feel like a caretaker figure who is not getting power and respect? Does the author feel like an isolated outsider, that the school community is somehow crushing her identity or sense of self? Or safety? I know that the fora has a lot of discussions about learning to "bloom where you're planted" or to hang on in a job until you can publish your way out of it, but I think that in some situations, if your very sense of self worth, of humanity, is being degraded, it can be a better choice to simply leave. I know of some people who have left academia entirely because of this.

Dear jane_rejected, I know you said you would not post on this thread any more, but please come back and try again --- some of us would be willing to give whatever advice and support we can.
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nezahualcoyotl
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2012, 12:18:10 AM »

I have no idea who Caroline Barr was. Yes, the original post is somewhat unclear (though the gist of it makes sense). But my gut feeling, for what it's worth, is that most of the complaints stem at least in part from the authors not being able to tell if the OP or the students belong to a group they feel they should support or not.


My goodness no, that's not what I meant at all. My confusion stemmed from the references to the FBI and the campus sheriff, as well as from what seemed like a mixing of the direction of the threat-- from a student? a group of students? From an unsupportive administration? I simply meant that without knowing who had done what to whom, it was impossible to offer useful advice.

I believe you, and I'm sorry if I came across as putting your response in that camp.
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'Education is like a venereal disease; it makes you unsuitable for many jobs, and then you have the urge to pass it on.'
-Terry Pratchett

I do solemnly swear to obey all the laws of thermodynamics.
prytania3
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2012, 1:04:48 AM »

I have no idea who Caroline Barr was. Yes, the original post is somewhat unclear (though the gist of it makes sense). But my gut feeling, for what it's worth, is that most of the complaints stem at least in part from the authors not being able to tell if the OP or the students belong to a group they feel they should support or not.


My goodness no, that's not what I meant at all. My confusion stemmed from the references to the FBI and the campus sheriff, as well as from what seemed like a mixing of the direction of the threat-- from a student? a group of students? From an unsupportive administration? I simply meant that without knowing who had done what to whom, it was impossible to offer useful advice.

Yeah, I got totally lost when the FBI entered stage right.
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burocrata
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« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2012, 4:20:41 PM »

The OP never told us the whole story in plain language. We have reconstructed what we think was the true story. But that leaves much room for error.

OP is William Faulkner. 

ZOMFG
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socktoday
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« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 4:29:21 PM »

I think from reading jane_rejected's posts on another thread that she is Asian and that English is not her first language; I think that the resentment she fears is that white students in a depressed area are angry that a "foreigner," particularly a woman, has a middle-class job while "real Americans" are unemployed.  I agree that the parable was difficult to read, but I think jane has had trouble on the boards in the past trying to articulate her issues, partly because of language and cultural barriers.  So I'm inclined to read sympathetically and to give her the benefit of the doubt as someone who is struggling with diversity issues and local culture while coming from the outside and adjusting to a new culture and language.

(Posting as a sock because of another thread, but saw this thread and wanted to comment).
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yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
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« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 4:45:12 PM »

I think from reading jane_rejected's posts on another thread that she is Asian and that English is not her first language; I think that the resentment she fears is that white students in a depressed area are angry that a "foreigner," particularly a woman, has a middle-class job while "real Americans" are unemployed.  I agree that the parable was difficult to read, but I think jane has had trouble on the boards in the past trying to articulate her issues, partly because of language and cultural barriers.  So I'm inclined to read sympathetically and to give her the benefit of the doubt as someone who is struggling with diversity issues and local culture while coming from the outside and adjusting to a new culture and language.

(Posting as a sock because of another thread, but saw this thread and wanted to comment).

All of this is possible (and I admit I had not checked her earlier postings elsewhere).  But I still doubt, on the basis of this post, that Kim/Jane's students' problems with her teaching are rooted in race, gender, or culture as such.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 4:46:05 PM by yellowtractor » Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
ellareese
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2013, 11:02:32 PM »

(Ignoring all other discussions and returning to OP)

OP: I can TOTALLY relate. Kim's story is very much the experience I had in my first job. I had friends in similar positions, many of us in small towns whose populations in no way resembled the urban centers where we'd been raised. It was a real shock, and very very difficult. We felt like we were brought there to check off some box, but that no one really wanted us there. Guess what? We all moved on after about 3 years under our belts and now laugh about the past over glasses of wine.

What do I think you should do? Hang in there. You are right, focus on conducting stellar research. Get out of there as often as possible (conferences, other travel) to keep your sanity. Know that something better is ahead. Don't worry about your alma mater; you want to be hired by the kind of search committee that digs deeper into a candidate's application to find quality people, especially if they can bring diversity to their college. As for teaching, focus on the students who appreciate what you have to offer them. When you walk into the classroom, pretend that they are the only ones in the room. As happened with me, some of them will come back to you many years later, when you have moved on, and tell you what a difference you made in their lives.

Good luck!

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