Sunday, January 23, 2011

Voices (quotes)

Rarely is it that I read something these days that makes me go, "Wow, that's exactly what I would say if I had the vocabulary for it." bell hooks's Teaching to Trangress is two-decades old, but has some really good insight on class, race and the kind of progressive spaces that are supposed to be inclusive:
In the privileged liberal arts colleges, it is acceptable for professors to respect the "voice" of any student who wants to make a point. Many students in those institutions feel they are entitled -- their voices deserve to be heard. But students in public institutions, mostly from working-class backgrounds, come to college assuming that professors see them as having nothing of value to say, no valuable contributions to make a dialectical exchange of ideas.
That pretty much mirrors my college experience and has become a leitmotif for my life. I never felt that my voice deserved to be heard, or when I did, I felt I had a tenuous hold on the little credibility I managed to gain. I simply didn't belong. I spend more time criticizing the progressive, especially feminist, blogosphere that I do actually participating in it, and looking at the lack of parity, it's easy to understand why. There's been no isolated incident that led me to that conclusion, just a general sense of frustration.

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