Friday, April 25, 2008

Not that I'm cynical or anything

I think teaching upper-class Texas students about labour history was one of the chapters in this dude's book, wasn't it?

Seriously, this is so familiar (not from teaching experience, but from every political debate I've ever had, anywhere) that it hurts:
The larger question here is how to teach labor history to students who have no conception of class issues. I tried to bring this up throughout the semester and put the history in a modern context, but clearly I failed because once we got to the present, the shit hit the fan. These students got real uncomfortable when it seemed that someone might be attacking their class privilege, accusing the books (and presumably me in the course evals that we did yesterday) of bias. Well, duh.

Yes, biased in favour of the poor instead of the rich, biased in favour of people who need help instead of the people who've always had it available. Blech.

There's a similar reaction when you talk about environmentalism, of course:

"Yeah man, save the planet. Stop global warming!"

"Well, you understand you might have to give up your car for one slightly less functional."

"Well, fuck that noise. Screw the polar bears!"

"Fine, keep the car.. electrics will get there eventually, I hope. Are you at least willing to pay more for beef and salmon?"

"Nope. What have you got that won't cause me to change my habits even slightly?"

"Uh... change your lightbulb?"

"Done. Woo! Problem solved!"

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