F*** Academia

December 12, 2017

It seems like it's been forever since I decided that I won’t be dedicating my life to making the people of our great white supremacist patriarchy understand how they are oppressing me. (It’s actually been a few months but when you know, you know.) Instead, I have decided to help give oppressed individuals access to social, economic, and political rights. At first, I understood this goal in a very abstract way. Now, I am beginning to see how it will play out in very particular ways. I see how this may play out in my career life. In particular, it means that I don't want to publish in academic journals. I don't want to go to academic conferences.

 

The idea of spending my life or any amount of time working to get accepted into journals makes me want to throw up. There are so many jewels in academic journals. (This isn’t a contradiction. I promise.) There are so many answers to questions that people have been seeking. The answers in question could save lives. They might even save the world. The answers aren’t always right but they do make people think. They do offer helpful insights. Sad thing is that regular everyday people don’t have access to those journals. Even if they did have access to it, it is written in elite gibberish so it would be hard for them to understand it. And because I cannot fathom writing for only an elite group to understand my work, I will not be working to write in academic journals. There is just nothing in me is excited about the prospect of writing so that barely anyone can read my work.

 

It’s not a coincidence that the main contributors to those journals are white people, more specifically white men. For centuries white men have contributed to academia (unlike men and POC, they had access to universities, books, etc). They’ve come up with some great shit. Since then, there have been phenomenal POC, women, and people from various religions, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnicities who have worked to shape and contribute to imperative discussions people have been having since the beginning of time. Yet, barely anyone knows about their contributions. No one knows about any of the work they have done. A lot of their work has been erased or re-framed to fit our white supremacist patriarchy. (And people wonder why our “democracy” sucks.)

 

In addition to all of this, much of the writing that I am concerned with- stuff about race, gender, and religion- have been crafted by white men. I know I said this before I am making a different point here so allow me to say it again.  We have a situation where mostly white men are writing about race and gender. I feel like I should repeat it again for any readers who have read to this point and don't see a problem. Given our racist education system, our income inequality issue, and the fact that academia is racist, not a lot of minorities get accepted into prestigious institutions. Hell, not a lot of minorities get their PHD’s. So we have a situation in which the discussions about these race and gender are being spearheaded by white men. They direct the discussions about race in the classrooms. They are the one's accepting whose work gets put in the academic journals. And because many of them are racist, bad things happen.

 

 I would love to think that the white men who are writing about oppression or taking classes on the subject are compassionate and empathetic people. I guess it’s possible to say they are and still say that they don’t know shit about being a member of a minority group. (And because of this they often allow for transphobic, racist, sexist, and xenophobic things to be said. Also, they often accept wack assumptions about what it means to be a minority.) I guess it may be possible to say they are good people and still say that all of the issues I have been talking about have been problems for centuries now and the shit they have worked on has yet to trickle down to the “common man.” If it is “trickled down” it is done in such a way that the message is lost or misinterpreted. And not to mention, ain’t shit changed in academia really. We still have a situation where white people are making mad money off of saying racist things. POC are still a minority group in academia. White people are still using the plight of minority groups as a zinger for their writing. Literally. That is our only purpose for them. They write bull shit about us and then treat us like shit in our regularly every day lives. They will take their white kids out of "inner city" schools. They will write about us, they write about our "plight", make money off of it, and when black people move in their neighborhoods they move out to somewhere "better." I could go on and on.

 

 

What I’m trying to say is that I refuse to spend my time, energy, and money working to get into conferences where mostly white speakers presenting papers on sexuality, race, and and gender. I refuse to work my ass of writing for white people to deem my writing about race and gender to be legitimate to them. I can’t spend my life working so they can accept my ideas- which I pride myself on and which holds a part of my identity. In other words, I will be damned if I will spend my life working to get white men to love me and my ideas.

 

 

 

Do I believe that academic writing can change? Yes. Do I believe that I can somehow work to fix the system? Possibly. I wouldn’t be going to graduate school if I did not think so. However, I am not hopeful. Thankfully, I am only going to graduate school because I know that there is much I need to learn. There is so many books that I need to read. Graduate schools have amazing library databases. The professors there have dedicated their life on the topics that I am interested in. Graduate school is obvious a great resource. Could I change my mind about this in the future? Yes, I am open to someone proving me wrong. For now I will work my ass off to make complex and insightful ideas accessible to my commonwealth. I will work on writing for the public.

 

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