Sunday, March 8, 2015

How Privilege Works. From

What We All Should
Be Writing.
Over the winter break, an ambitious young reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Stacey Patton, got the idea for a new column in that magazine’s “Vitae” section.

Patton, dear reader, is one of the bright young faces in the new journalism. A staff writer for The Chronicle, she also contributes regularly to The Root, to Dame, to the Washington Post, and to Jezebel. With a PhD in History and an accomplished memoir chronicling her coming of age in an abusive adoptive home, Patton embodies both the alt-ac career path we are trying to spotlight for graduate students and the tradition of African American public intellectuals most prominently represented by Jelani Cobb, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Brittney Cooper. She is a hard-working survivor, a black voice with great promise, and, to those who know her, a clever humorist.

“Dear Student,” the column that Patton produced, was pure, straightforward satire. Good, bad, or otherwise. More softly echoing “College Misery,” it featured a rotating group of faculty voices, each sarcastically responding to an imagined slight from a hypothetical, abstract, entitled student. “Let’s say,” one prompt read, “you get a note from a student who you’re pretty sure is making up a story about a dead grandmother. How would you write back?"



  1. Wow, SHOUTOUT!! Way to go, team!

    I get this a LOT, as I'm sure we all do. I have a stock phrase for any story. Kid in the hospital? Grandma dead? Internet went out? You passed out in the woods for two weeks? Your partner broke up with you? Whatever students tell me, true or false, I always say this:

    "I'm sorry to hear that."

    Simple, and as sympathetic as the receiver wants it to be. Then I continue by reiterating my lateness policy, holding them responsible, and explaining that they can take the week to recover / sober up / go to the funeral / whatever and just lose X points. After a certain date, I no longer accept late work, but there is usually a short period of grace they can use for these absurd stories.

  2. Wow. Now there's an argument. An actual, nuanced, supported argument, one that maintains a strong point of view of its own while recognizing the existence of other, supportable points of view. It both effectively critiques the earlier column and serves as an example of more productive argument about some of the same issues.

    I also like his advice to [graduate] students.

  3. I'd back Dr. Patton over Dr. Stommel for not only a successful career, but also one that positively affected society, any day of the week.

    1. yeah, but I bet more students think Dr Stommel is the "cool prof!" And that's what matters, right?