Monday, February 23, 2015

Today in YPIS

-Students at NYC private schools are studying their own privilege, reports Kyle Spencer. The obvious: if unearned advantage were a problem for private schools and their supporters, private schools would cease to exist. The students would switch to the public school system, where everyone's on 100% financial aid, and where rich kids can't help but be exposed to kids less rich than themselves. (Also: remember that private schools, at least last time I checked, are including Asian and Asian-American students in their "non-white" figures. The counting goes otherwise in commentary on the city's public schools.)

But here's the most interesting bit:

Educators charged with preparing students for life inside these schools, in college and beyond, maintain that anti-racist thinking is a 21st-century skill and that social competency requires a sophisticated understanding of how race works in America.
This tells us either a) that the entire privilege-acknowledging project is actually about further perpetuating privilege, or b) that it needs to be sold as such to skeptical parents who'd otherwise protest, and who are indeed sending their kids to private school in order to perpetuate family privilege. I mean, who's to say the people running the workshops don't wish these kids were in public school? More investigation is required...

-Anatomy of a YPIS cycle: Blogger calls out obliviousness, only to be called out for own obliviousness. Jessica Coen brings Jezebel readers' attention to the leaked cover letter of a job applicant (unnamed, thank goodness). In the cover letter, the applicant uses his or her past experience working in a bridal salon to explain why he or she would be right for a crime-victim-advocate-type position. Coen frames this in terms of bridal-industrial-complex obliviousness - how insensitive that someone would conflate stressed-out brides and actual, you know, victims.

But no! The commenters point out that Coen herself is oblivious to how job searches, especially entry-level ones, work. You have to draw connections between the work you've had and the job you're applying for. Is it really such a social-justice move to make someone feel bad for using a retail job as a stepping stone to a do-gooder one?

But so it goes in YPIS. It's a conversation that takes place among people all of whom are interested in calling out obliviousness. But once that's the thing you're doing, people will be hyperaware of your obliviousness.

-How's this for the first-world problem of the day? The running sneakers I like the appearance of are never the ones that actually fit well enough to go running in. Note: it's not the flashy colors I object to, but the way they're inevitably combined.

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