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No. of Recommendations: 7
Yesterday, I was sitting on a hearing panel and we had a student in front of us who did something really, really stupid. She lied by omission by not disclosing that she had attended another school. She got financial aid at the other school and when she came to our school, she had used up pretty much all of her undergraduate allowances. A question came up regarding what she should do, and more to the point what we should do with her. The school was pushing for sending her packing for 2 semesters, which would have required re-applying for admission, and she would have to provide the necessary documents from the previous school to do that. She sat in front of us, crying, breath hitching in her chest, begging to be allowed to go to school.

The kicker: she was kicked out of a small private university for not paying all of her bill. They are holding her transcript hostage until she pays what she owes.

I suggested that perhaps she should step away from school, make some money (she already has an Associates degree), and then, once her debt is settled, come back and complete her degree with us.

The Chair of the meeting told me "No offense, but as a white woman, you really have no idea what it is to be told you have to delay your school plans. It's not as easy as "go back later". Her assumption was that my decision to work my @ss off to send my husband to school while delaying my own education was a choice I wanted to make, rather than one of necessity. Some background:

I am the product of a broken home. Dad left when I was 8, died when I was 13. Stepdad came along a year later, but we never had the kind of money that would be considered a "comfortable" living. We had a roof over our heads and I had generous grandparents who ensured that roof didn't get repossessed.

DH and I met in junior college, married young, and I worked full time to put him through to a PhD. Then, I went to school full-time for a year in my 40s before taking a job to continue to help ends meet. I got an Associates degree in 2004.

I am now in my final year of my bachelors degree program. I work 40 hours a week and take 10 hours of course credit. Next semester, I'll get a break and only have to take 9, while still working 40 hours a week.

My oldest daughter took one semester of college, dropped out, and has had several children along with a divorce and remarriage. There are times when I have to help her out with her expenses (electric, rent) when her husband doesn't get overtime at his job. She recently started working a 2nd online job to make about an extra $500-$1000 mth.

My 87 year old mother just endured bankruptcy, she's trying to keep her chin up over it, but she's wrecked and has no additional income beyond her social security and a small oil and gas royalty.

So yeah, I guess I have no idea what it's like to have to make hard decisions. I understand that I have no idea what it's like to be a minority, but holy smokes, I do understand being broke.

LWW
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No. of Recommendations: 3
So did you/will you tell the chair how wrong she was in her assumption, in the interests of open communication on racial issues? Or just let it lie?

My son, who is newly in the work force (at least beyond the "starter" jobs in high school), comes home some weekends and tells us about how some coworkers say things to the effect that "he could never understand" certain issues, being a white kid. That may be true to some degree, perhaps, but that assumption is in itself sort of racist. Mainly, it seems sad that when we really need honest dialog about race in this country, some are so ready to shut it down, either with comments like the above, or the denial that there is such a thing as "white privilege."
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So did you/will you tell the chair how wrong she was in her assumption, in the interests of open communication on racial issues? Or just let it lie?

We had limited time, so I just left it. If we had more time I might have clued her in. The other woman on the panel with me assumed (incorrectly) that when I said I was in my last year of coursework that I was working on a PhD. She looked genuinely shocked when I corrected her (I'm getting my BS in Criminal Justice. Be the change you want to see, right?).

I completely understand that I will never know what it's like to be Black. I'm white. However, through intersectionality, I do understand what it's like to see someone promoted ahead of you, or being offered less money for a job because your boss trusted that you were "too nice" to be "aggressive" in your salary demands. Or even have it suggested that you got your job because the boss needed to hire a few more skirts.

Speaking of which, isn't it interesting that if a man stands up for himself and asks for more money in a job interview or when looking for a raise, they call him "confident" and "assertive", but if a woman does it, she gets labeled "bitchy"?

Tell your son to hang in there. It's probably going to be a bumpy ride over the next few years, but hopefully, there will be meaningful dialog. I'm seeing it in campuses all over the country.

LWW
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Well there are many different types of privilege:
white privilege, male privilege, economic privilege, etc.

So to say
as a white woman, you really have no idea what it is to be told you have to delay your school plans.
with
as a white woman, you really have no idea what it is to be a woman of color
is a false equivalence, and fairly presumptive.

This (as you know) is also being discussed elsewhere.

To take that further, being successful NOW in no way reflects on how easy or hard the path was to get there (regardless of demographic background.)

peace & privilege
t
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Most all folks live their lives in the circumstances they find.

Shouting to the sky about the unfairness of the world generally gives
people nothing more other than sore throats.

Howie52
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No. of Recommendations: 0
We had limited time, so I just left it. If we had more time I might have clued her in.

I think, by saying Nothing, you did Nothing, an injustice.

After a long time of seeing corporate injustice I developed a technique of saying " WE should reexamine these circumstances and have a Proper discussion on it". This does not accuse the Authority or the Corporate Decision but says "Did you REALLY want to do THAT?"

I have to admit it was mostly ineffective, but cued in others that the Policy was wrong, and you had one vote against if you needed it in the future.

Much better to present an opposition before the vote than to sit there.
jC
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