Sorry for the click-bate-y title, but this is kind of really important. While tuition is going up, the people actually doing the teaching are being severally underpaid. What follows are some particularly upsetting excerpts:
Over three quarters of college professors are adjunct. Legally, adjunct positions are part-time, at-will employment. Universities pay adjunct professors by the course, anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. So if a professor teaches three courses in both the fall and spring semesters at a rate of $3000 per course, they’ll make $18,000 dollars. The average full-time barista makes the same yearly wage. However, a full-time adjunct works more than 40 hours a week. They’re not paid for most of those hours.
“It’s completely insane,” he said. “And this isn’t happening just to me. More and more people are doing it.”
“We have food stamps,” said the anonymous adjunct from Indiana. “We wouldn’t be able to survive without them.”
“Many professors are on food stamps and they go to food donation centers. They donate plasma. And that’s a pretty regular occurrence,” Merklein told Salon.
“As soon as they hear about you organizing, they go on the defensive,” Merklein said. “For instance, at my community college, I am being intimidated constantly and threatened in various ways, hypothetically usually. They don’t like to say something that’s an outright direct threat. … They get really freaked out when they see pamphlets around the adjunct faculty office and everyone’s wearing buttons regardless of what professional organization or union it is. They will then go on the offensive. They will usually contact their attorney who is there to protect the school as a business and to act in an anti-labor capacity.”
The most telling phrase in Merklein’s words are “the school as a business.” Colleges across the country have transitioned from bastions of intellectual enlightenment to resort hotels prizing amenities above academics. Case in point: The ludicrously extravagant gyms in America’s larger universities are home to rock climbing walls, corkscrew tracks, rooftop gardens, and a lazy river. Schools have billions to invest in housing and other on-campus projects. Schools have millions (or in some cases “mere” hundreds of thousands) to pay administrators. Yet schools can’t find the money to hire more full-time professors. If one follows the money, it’s clear that colleges view education as tertiary. The rigor of a university’s courses doesn’t attract the awe of doe-eyed high school seniors. Lavish dorms and other luxuries do.
Anyone going to college now, consider organizing for your faculty. They are at risk of being fired for it, you are not. The university might be more willing to listen to students demanding the education they are paying for. Make noise for the people making your degree possible.
If you are touring colleges, ask what percentage of the faculty are adjucts. Ask what they are paid.
If you are not in a position to do these things, there are two petitions in the linked article to sign.
and honestly if you can read about shit like this and still be against unions I don’t know what to tell you.
This post is for the July Carnival of Aces.
In this post I will be working from the definition of compulsory sexuality proposed by Lisa Millbank:
Compulsory sexuality refers to a set of social attitudes, institutions and practices which hold and enforce the belief that everyone should have or want to have frequent sex (of a socially approved kind).
Millbank provides a thorough discussion of many aspects of compulsory sexuality, most of which are beyond the scope of my post, so I encourage readers who are interested in serious feminist discourse to read her whole post.
[I]t seems clear that compulsory sexuality in its capacity as assumed universal sexuality (that everyone must be sexual) marginalises and erases asexual identities. If everyone is sexual then asexual people do not exist, or have simply not yet found the right context in which to be sexual. [Emphasis in original]
Asexuality is a sexual orientation defined by lack of sexual attraction. Asexuality is also a sexual identity. Not all people who are asexual by orientation will choose to identify as asexual. To me, the choice of an asexual identification is a statement about how we relate to the larger heterosexual world and also how we relate to other groups that experience different kinds of sexual attraction. Asexuals are not necessarily “not sexual” (some asexuals may be sexually active) but our choice of identity is a statement that we do not relate to sexuality in the same way everybody else does. To say that there is such a thing as “compulsory sexuality” is to state that we feel our way of relating to sexuality is not acknowledged, understood, or accepted by the larger society and that we feel pressured by that society to adopt norms of sexuality that do not make room for our lived experiences.
Compulsory heterosexuality and the context of asexuality
As Millbank points out, in our society compulsory sexuality is specifically compulsory heterosexuality (also known as heteronormativity). Non-heterosexual orientations, identities, and behaviors are socially disapproved to varying degrees and are not considered equal to, nor are equally privileged as, heterosexual orientations, identities, and behaviors.
However, it is not as simple as gay/lesbian vs. straight. One of the topics I post a lot about on this blog is biphobia. Biphobia is prejudice or hatred against bisexuals that is specific to their bisexuality. Notable features of biphobia include erasure of bisexual identity, marginalization of bisexual individuals from both straight and gay/lesbian spaces, and stereotypes of bisexuals as being confused, greedy, or promiscuous because they are attracted to more than one sex or gender. If you’re not familiar with biphobia or would like to learn more about how it works, I encourage you to read my posts on this topic.
In recognizing biphobia as a real phenomenon, we are acknowledging that compulsory heterosexuality not only disadvantages homosexuality but that it also has embedded in it the assumption that all people should be attracted to only one sex or gender (monosexuality). When bisexuals are true to themselves by having partners of more than one sex or gender or by otherwise expressing or demonstrating the multiple nature of their sexual attractions, they are still disadvantaged against and marginalized by the heterosexual majority because they are not monosexual. To put this another way, choice of bisexual identity is in part a statement that a person does not relate to sexuality in the same way that monosexuals do. Neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality makes room for this person’s lived experience of their own sexuality.
Talking about the assumption of monosexuality can be controversial. Since gay and lesbian people are monosexual, it is possible for them to engage in biphobia, that is, to be prejudiced against bisexuals in the ways mentioned above. This does not mean that bisexuals are “more oppressed” than gay or lesbian people, nor does it imply that gay and lesbian people are equally privileged to heterosexuals. It simply means that there are multiple ways in which heterosexuality is privileged and that some of these affect gay and lesbian people more and some affect bisexuals more. Because there are multiple systems of dominance, almost everybody is privileged in some way compared to some other group of people, even if they are disadvantaged in many ways compared to majority groups.
This brings us back to asexuality. I use the term “acephobia” to refer to prejudice against asexuals that is specific to our asexuality. Some people use the term asexophobia instead; since the obvious parallel formation to homophobia and biphobia, aphobia, is ambiguous in meaning, we need a different word. Some manifestations of acephobia include erasure of asexual identity, marginalization of asexuals from heterosexual and LGBT spaces, and stereotypes of asexuals as confused, prudish, emotionally frigid, and similar.
In recognizing acephobia as a real phenomenon, we are acknowledging that compulsory heterosexuality not only disadvantages homosexuality and bisexuality (note that asexuality is actually a form of non-monosexuality; neither “multiple” nor “none” is equal to one), but that it also has embedded in it the assumption that all people should be sexually attracted to somebody. When asexuals are true to ourselves by not having sexual partners or by otherwise expressing or demonstrating our lack of sexual attraction, we are still disadvantaged against and marginalized by the heterosexual majority because we are not sexual in a recognized way.
Talking about acephobia is even more controversial than talking about biphobia. Since gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are all sexual in a recognized way (experiencing sexual attraction), it is possible for them to engage in acephobia and to be prejudiced against asexuals. This does not mean that asexuals are “more oppressed” than gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, or that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are equally privileged to heterosexuals. It simply means that there are multiple ways in which heterosexuality is privileged and that some of these affect gay and lesbian people more, some affect bisexuals more, and some affect asexuals more.
This finally brings us back to the question of compulsory sexuality. While gay and lesbian people may focus their critiques on the privileging of heterosexual orientation, identity, and behavior (since this is what affects them most) and bisexuals may focus their critiques on the assumption of monosexuality (since this may be what affects them most), asexuals may focus our critiques on compulsory sexuality because this is often what affects us most. Again, this does not mean that any of these are more or less important than the others, nor does a focus on the area that affects you the most mean that you deny the other areas. By each of us working against the aspects of compulsory heterosexuality that affect us most, together we can tackle all of its manifestations and be successful in overturning this harmful social system.
Compulsory sexuality and asexual experience
So what does compulsory sexuality mean for asexuals? Above, I said many asexuals feel that
our way of relating to sexuality is not acknowledged, understood, or accepted by the larger society and that we feel pressured by that society to adopt norms of sexuality that do not make room for our lived experiences.
While each individual person may experience this differently or give emphasis to different elements of what they experience, and remembering again that some asexuals are sexually active, Millbank’s definition of compulsory sexuality as “the belief that everyone should have or want to have frequent sex” is a view shared by many asexuals.
An excellent post on this topic is The Culture of Hypersexuality and the Erasure of Asexuals and Nonsexual Love by outlawroad. I recommend reading the whole post, but I will share a few excerpts here:
…Everyone who has entered or completed puberty is assumed to be sexually active and interested in sex because that is what the majority considers to be exclusively and definitively “normal.” …
…Openly asexual characters in media are almost nonexistent. When a character is implied to be asexual, there is also an ongoing problem of characterizing them as sociopathic, socially awkward, unattractive, strange, cold, distant, uninterested in love or romance or friendship, and finally, as “curable” by the magical healing properties of sex…
…The whole of this situation often leads to feelings of extreme isolation, loneliness, depression, hopelessness, despair, anger, resentment, and betrayal in people who are sexually inactive (especially asexuals) and/or aromantic…
…Because we are socially conditioned as a society to view all emotional connection and romantic feelings as being inherently sexual in nature, this can also lead to a person’s confusion about their own feelings and relationships with others…
Thus, many asexuals feel a profound sense of exclusion from social norms about sexuality, we may be regarded by others who know our sexual orientation (or who see its expression in our conduct or words) as abnormal, even as “freaks”, and we may come to feel ourselves “broken” or damaged in some way. These feelings, incidentally, are compounded by the invisibility of asexuality. I personally was 31 years old when I first learned that asexuality existed. All the time before that, I thought that my lack of sexual attraction and lack of interest in sex was just something strange about me. To feel both alienated and alone can be a terrible experience for some people, especially young people.
Compulsory sexuality as a feminist issue
Compulsory sexuality is also something that is gendered. Our society expects that every person will fit into one of the two allowed gender roles, female and male. Society enforces beliefs about how these genders are allowed to act, even how they are presumed to be, and these beliefs include expectations about sexuality. Male Asexuality and Its Challenge to Masculinity by The Thinking Asexual explores the expectations placed on men (defined for the purpose of this essay as those assigned by society to the male gender role) in regard to sexual activity and how asexuality goes against these norms.
The situation for women (defined for the purpose of this essay as those assigned by society to the female gender role) is more complex and I will explore this topic for the remainder of this post. The trick is that there are two different sets of expectations for women when it comes to sexuality. This is often known as the virgin-whore dichotomy.
The virgin-whore dichotomy is often presented as “all women are expected to be virgins, and if you’re not a virgin you’re treated as a whore” but it is a lot more complex than that. Some women are expected to be virgins and in our society these are typically white, middle-class or upper-class women. Women of color and working-class or poor women are often depicted as hypersexualized and may find that men (especially white, middle-class or upper-class men) expect them to be sexually available whenever these men want. It is also worth noting that while certain classes of women may be expected to be virgins, what is actually expected is that they will be virgins until marriage and that they will marry. We might instead call it the wife-whore dichotomy. The expectations on wives are a topic far beyond the scope of this post, but we can restate the wife-whore dichotomy as the expectation that some women (often white and/or middle-class) should be sexually available only to their husbands while other women (often non-white and/or working-class or poor) are expected to be sexually available to, or to make a sexual display for, all men (see also this discussion). Neither of these traditional gender roles allows for women to refuse throughout their lives to make themselves sexually available to any man. Both lesbians and asexual or other celibate women fall afoul of this expectation.
Lisa Millbank identifies sex moralism as the force that governs the “wife” role and compulsory sexuality as the force that governs the “whore” role and a large section of her post is devoted to analyzing how these two forces interact with each other and with forms of feminism that oppose them.
It is also worth noting that some feminists (including Millbank) feel that since the 1960s, social expectations for white, middle-class women in the West have changed and that compulsory sexuality may be winning out over sex moralism as the dominant expectation for most or all women. Read Millbank’s post if you are interested in learning more about this view.
I am not going to engage that debate here so I will simply note that society’s expectations for the female gender role vary by race and class, and may differ by community and historical period, but that some amount of sexual activity is expected of all women and that asexuality goes against these norms.
Compulsory sexuality is a vast, complex topic and I have provided only a brief, limited exploration here. It is one element of compulsory heterosexuality or heteronormativity and is the aspect that may affect asexuals the most. It applies to both men and women, but in different ways because of the different gender roles our society enforces. It may be experienced in a different form depending on your race and social class or socioeconomic status. But as a pervasive, hegemonic force it does apply to everybody and that is something that asexuals may be uniquely positioned to interrogate and challenge. I also believe that asexuals can and should lead the way in developing and promoting alternatives that are inclusive and affirming to everybody and I hope that my blog may contribute to this in some minuscule way.
Author note: Since this essay was published, I made three minor edits for the sake of clarity in phrasing.
Huh! How come I never reblogged this…?
Comedian and journalist Stella Young is tired of people telling her she’s an “inspiration” just for getting up in the morning. In a hilarious, hard-hitting, and thought-provoking talk at TEDxSydney, she explains why.
An eighth grade student from Weaverville Elementary School got a detention slip for sharing his school prepared lunch Tuesday.
Kyle Bradford, 13, shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria.
Bradford didn’t see any problem with sharing his food.
"It seemed like he couldn’t get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn’t really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn’t eat it," said Bradford.
But the Trinity Alps Unified School District has regulations that prohibit students from sharing their meals.
The policies set by the district say that students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.
Tom Barnett, the Superintendent of the Trinity Alps Unified School District says that hygiene issues also come into play when banning students from sharing meals.
"We have a policy that prohibits students from exchanging meals. Of course if students are concerned about other students not having enough to eat we would definitely want to consider that, but because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals," said Barnett.
Bradford’s mother Sandy Bradford thinks that her son did the right thing by sharing his lunch. She also believes that it isn’t up to the school to discipline her son for good manners.
“By all means the school can teach them math and the arithmetic and physical education, but when it comes to morals and manners and compassion, I believe it needs to start at home with the parent,” Sandy said.
Bradford says that he would definitely share his lunch again if a friend wanted a portion of his meal.
Kids can’t share now? Or trade lunches? What the actual fuck is happening?
I think this article is talking around what the actual issue is.
The student who was “given a cheese sandwich” and “couldn’t get a normal lunch?”
That’s how schools handle students whose families can’t pay their lunch bills. They’re required to give the kid something, so they get a slice of processed cheese between two pieces of white bread. Cheese sandwich.
All those stories about the kids who went through the lines and then had their trays taken away and dumped in the trash in front of them because their account was $5 in the red when they got to the end of the line?
Those kids were given cheese sandwiches.
This isn’t about allergies. I guarantee you that kids at those tables are swapping food all the time. It’s part of the school cafeteria experience.
If the second kid was allergic to the burrito, we’d be reading a different story.
It’s because this kid undermined the system that is supposed to punish students for their parents’ “negligence” (poverty).
Taken from this article:
These aren’t isolated cases, either. Here’s a recap of the most recent honor roll of American public school cafeteria douchebaggery:
- An elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah reportedly seized between 40 and 50 students’ lunches on pizza day and threw them all in the garbage when the kids got up to the register and couldn’t pay because their account balances were either low or empty. Students all over the cafeteria were broken down in tears. I’m sure that made for a great learning environment.
- Remember the most important meal of the day? A 12-year-old Dickinson, Texas boy’s breakfast was thrown in the trash right in front of him at his middle school because his account was short a whopping .30 cents. The breakfast itself cost $1.25.
- Around 25 students at a Massachusetts middle school were forced to throw out their lunches or refused lunch entirely because their accounts were empty or they could not afford to pay. An employee from the school’s on-site lunch provider reportedly gave an order not to provide lunch to students with overextended credit or empty accounts. At least that employee was later put on leave. “I’m pissed that when there are people in prison who are getting meals, my daughter, an honor student, is going hungry,” one father remarked.
- A New Jersey elementary school threw a 10-year-old autistic boy’s lunch in the trash because of an unpaid account…despite having already done so before. “It’s between the parents and the cafeteria. It’s not between the child and the lunch lady. Let the kids eat their lunch,” the boy’s mother told a local news station.
- The middle and high schools in Old Town, Maine have a “no pay, no food policy” that Superintendent David Walker says students, like the 11-year-old denied food because his mom hadn’t paid his account, should be able to understand. “Students are old enough to take responsibility for their lunches” by middle school age, said Walker. You know, because apparently 11-year-olds can suddenly get jobs in this country to afford their lunch at school.
- Over 40 elementary school students in Kentucky were denied a full lunch during state testing week. One student’s account was short $1.15, which the mother told a news station she paid online as many schools require the night before, but the funds hadn’t been processed by lunch time the next day, so her fourth grader spent all day upset and left school crying at the end of the day. Luckily a good samaritan showed up to that school and donated $56 to pay up all student lunch accounts so no more kids would have to go without a full lunch (which isn’t even that large to begin with in this country) during state tests.
- Worse, apparently students at some schools across the state of Minnesota are actually branded with “Money” or “Lunch” stamps across their hands when they are late on accounts as a message to parents to pay up. Yep, they are actually branding children with the scarlet letter of poverty if they cannot afford their lunch, so the child will have to walk around school for the whole entire rest of their day branded and a walking target for ridicule by other children because they are poor or the parents forgot to put money in their children’s accounts.
I’ve personally had the same type of situation happened to me before in which lunch has been thrown right in the trash in front of me when I didn’t have enough money for lunch, and was given an alternate meal of lesser quality. I hadn’t even realized how disgustingly perverse that was at the time because of how it was normalized. Shaming the poor, and even depriving children of food has become normalized. This is especially a problem in conservative states where funding for education is low and funding for things like football stadiums and other less important things is high. Public schools need to be providing students with free meals, which can’t be done without the proper funding as well as the proper allocation of funds on the part of schools and school districts.
This weekend, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that prohibits “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses from being used to escape murder charges.
All over the country, murder charges can sometimes be downgraded to manslaughter when a person claims they acted out of panic after finding out a person was gay or trans. (It’s especially common around the murders of trans women.) It perpetuates the idea that LGBT people are “lying” about who they are if they aren’t out to everyone, it attempts to justify murder, and it says that LGBT lives aren’t as important as others.
The American Bar Association has urged governments to end panic defenses, but with this legislation, California becomes the first state ever to outlaw them.
Current state law allows murder charges to be reduced to manslaughter if the killings happened in a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.
But under the bill, approved by the Assembly last month, defendants would be barred from using their victims’ sexual orientation or gender identity to support such a defense.
Read that again: California is the first state ever to say that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is no excuse for murdering them. The first state ever. Wow, have we got a ton of work to do.
Boom goes the gay dynamite
African-American Girls & Women Killed By Police: Speak Their Names. See Their Faces. Know Their Stories.
There is this false myth going around that Black women are not victims of police violence. I believe the myth exists because quite frankly the media, social justice organizations and we the public tend not to focus on it. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hope this post will make all of us change our minds. Here are the stories of some of the Black women and girls killed by law enforcement:
Pleasant Grove crash claims life of second person | AL.com (Heather Parker)
Family grieves after loved one killed in crash with APD (Jacqueline Culp)
Pedestrian Killed on I-95 in Florida (Laporsha Watson)
After Cleveland shooting, cities restrict police chases(Malissa Williams)
Elderly Woman Shot & Killed By Hearne Police Officer (Pearlie Golden)
Former Pa. trooper pleads guilty in fatal accident (Robin T. Williams)
Friends: Woman killed by police was nonviolent | Las Vegas (Sharmel Edwards)
The NYPD’s Poor Judgment With the Mentally Ill | Village Voice (Shereese Francis)
Harrisburg woman identified as victim in police SUV crash (Shulena S. Weldon)
$2.5M settlement in shooting of Lima woman by police officer (Tarika Wilson)
Texas Police Admit Officer Shot & Killed Unarmed Woman (Yvette Smith)
Journalist and artist Shirin Barghi has created a gripping, thought-provoking series of graphics that not only examines racial prejudice in today’s America, but also captures the sense of humanity that often gets lost in news coverage. Titled “Last Words,” the graphics illustrate the last recorded words by Brown and other young black people — Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and others — who have been killed by police in recent years.
On May 6, 2014, as I read through the morning’s incoming email, a Food Safety Alert from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing a “voluntary recall of mangoes due to possible health risk” from the bacteria Listeria caught my eye. This grabbed my attention because at the time, a handsome sunset-hued mango, purchased several days before at my neighborhood market in Portland, Oregon, was ripening on the kitchen counter.
The FDA notice explained that the recall covered mangoes “shipped to retailers and distributors in limited quantities within five (5) US states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Jersey and Texas).” It included a link to photos of PLU stickers for the mangoes covered by the recall. One of the two matched the PLU sticker on my mango.
I wondered: Was it possible that some of the mangoes shipped to California had ended up in Oregon?
As I learned, the answer is complicated. It turns out that tracing produce from kitchen counter back to its grower involves information that is far more difficult to obtain than one might guess, as key details are often considered confidential business information.
What’s more, each type of produce may travel a different route from field to store. Still, what I learned applies to most whole fruits and vegetables you might buy. So let my mango be your guide.