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Coping with class in science

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 658
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6325.658

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  • RE: Coping with Class etc

    Addendum to my previous email:
    I also think the author is mixing apples and oranges. Class is NOT the same as ability. The latter is I think a pre-requisite for success, whatever one's path to acquiring that ability may be. The former is a ticket to exclusivity, choosing one's cup of tea, shall we say.

    For example one of my children, due to circumstances beyond my control, is growing up in a manner very different from my and my husband's "class" upbringing. However he learned to read and write in an accelerated manner and instinctively understands fundamental mathematical concepts and prefers to do mental math. Whatever "class" he chooses to identify himself with, his innate abilities should be a guarantor of his success in a society that nurtures talent and focuses on productivity.
    As an academic, the esteemed professor writing this article must answer the question of whether he revels in the reward he has reaped for his innate abilities that he nurtured with his hard work, or whether he is unable to get over feeling gauche because of his accent. Were we to have to spend all of our social and professional efforts to protecting the feelings of such individuals, I fear we will be losing the plot completely.
    And by the way, I recommend he wear a woman's garb for at least a day, just for some additional context!

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Coping with Class etc

    There are so many things wrong with this article!
    The author, who is a FULL PROFESSOR, wants us to feel sorry for his past self.
    As a frame of reference, I am an unemployed female who immigrated all the way from my country of origin, exclusively to achieve success in the sciences, and let me clarify that the reasons for my unemployment are completely irrelevant. As an anecdote, to provide context, I started my first position with a stipend of $300 a month, having come from a background where sleeping on the floor was a fun vacation with relatives in the village who lived the simpler, bathing in the river, drinking from the cow's udder life.
    He has made no case that it is actually easier for persons of one background or another to succeed, emphasizing quite clearly that it is focus and determination that lead to his success, in effect making the case that the academy is class blind. His skin was obviously thick enough to not let the joke-making or self-doubts induced, hold him back on the way to professorship.
    He cites the support of his partner who has a similar background as his. While this a perfectly natural choice in a human context, he isn't making any strides in crossing his imagined class barrier.
    As a mother whose biggest fear is all the inventive ways in which my very bright young children can be held back, I find this article to be another version of the "he who speaks loudest gets heard" hegemony.
    The r...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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