Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Daily Radical

In an effort to keep up yesterday's momentum on book revisions, I am limiting today's blogging to pruning, adding links and what I believe is a phrase originally arising at New Kid on the Hallway: "random bullets of crap." (Thursday update: I'm told these random bullets were first named by Ianqui.) So without the bullets (which, as an anti-war Radical, I will pretend is a gesture towards ideological consistency -- OK, I admit it, I don't know how to do bullets), here goes:

Added links are: Mary Dudziak's Legal History Blog, Adjunct Whore's Narratives, and that terrific medievalist squadratomagico. Why no one else? I told you -- I'm trying to keep up momentum! And I am generally lazy about links.

A small bit of happiness and political progress has come our way in Shoreline. The Board of Aldermen voted Monday to provide official identification cards to illegal immigrants so that they can identify themselves to police, open bank accounts, get driver's licenses and function like the law-abiding people they generally are: read about it here. Police in Shoreline (a legendarily uneven lot who are dealing with a federal corruption probe at present) are already operating under instructions not to question people they stop about their immigration status, which helps them investigate crimes and protect everyone from felons on the loose. This new law will give people living here illegally the basic tools to protect themselves from violence and exploitation, although -- for those small people who seem to view this as a free ride for the undocumented -- they will not be protected from poverty, hard work, lack of health care, poor housing and low wages. Despite this, already there are howls going up around the nation that our city is providing a "safe haven" for immigrants. Well, yes. And what are we trying to keep immigrants safe from? Violence by people who are already citizens who stalk, beat, torture and rob them, knowing that an illegal immigrant keeps a lot of cash around (no bank account) and will not call the police or testify against them if the police are called (threat of deportation.) And employers who promise to pay workers and then don't because the workers are entirely powerless. You see why in Shoreline the status of illegal immigrants does not appear to be precisely the ethical issue it is cracked up to be in Arizona.

Honestly, I have never understood why illegal immigration was such a big deal anyway. Why *not* let everybody come? It certainly made the nineteenth century interesting.

Anyone see that our very own Dean Dad now seems to be a regular featured columnist (blogumnist?) at Inside Higher Ed? I learned this by checking the "referrals" on my site meter, which I do regularly to see where I am being picked up. I never claimed not to be a narcissist, fans of the Radical. This is not only good for Dean Dad -- he who is a smart cookie, entertaining and a great writer -- but good for academic blogging in general, if you ask me.

In a final note, did anyone see this article in the New York Times by Samuel Freedman about little Kevin Robinson of Doylestown, PA? Robinson is pictured at left, in a picture stolen from the Times. According to Freedman, Robinson got into a good college by basically doing nothing at all except minding his p's and q's. No test prep, no worries, no college essay written by his Mom. The moral of the story is: maybe refusing to stress out about getting into college is ok after all. How is it that, since I support the sentiment that college admissions should not be so stressful and that the kid seems like a sweetie pie, I find the story itself so noxious? I dunno. Maybe because I don't think that it is the fault of students, or even their parents (who should probably know better), that the college admissions process is so horrid. It is the fault of the colleges, Samuel. How about doing a story about a college that doesn't market itself as God's gift to higher education, and that admits most of its applicants so the students are not forced to market themselves as God's gift to higher education?

Such a crabby Radical. OK, back to the book.

23 comments:

GayProf said...

Well, MIT used to have an admissions officer who told students to take it easy and not stress over applications -- until it turned out that she had not actually attended school herself...

Susan said...

Nice bit about Shoreline and our occasionally sane Board of Aldermen, but you missed the historical bit: if you look at Shoreline's name, we've always defined ourselves as a "haven". But I'm with you on immigration. In addition to the historical perspective, I keep trying to figure out how they think they will manage to remove 12 million people from our society, many of whom have learned to fly under the radar quite successfully. Oh -- and they might find out that some of them are people we actually want, who contribute to their communities.

Anonymous said...

Just one of the things that bothers me in the immigration debate is a common argument made by many nativists: "My ancestors were immigrants too, but they came here LEGALLY."

Mine did, too. My grandparents, like hundreds of thousands of others who were fleeing the Mexican revolution, came to the US in 1915. But they didn't need any green cards or visas or work permits--no estinkin' papers--because the border was open until the early 1920's. All anyone had to do was walk across.

Crediting one's ancestors with some kind of post-hoc moral authority ignores this fundamental historical fact.

--Philip

Flavia said...

I heard the news about Shoreline on NPR the other day--it was so odd to hear news from that place, now that I'm in this place!--and was so pleased.

(And as a minor matter of blogiquette: I'm pretty certain that "random bullets of crap" and all its permutations originated with Ianqui.)

Tenured Radical said...

To whoever posted the comment that I deleted: first of all, that rumour is untrue in all its parts. Second, please do not do that again. It is extremely rude to ask incredibly personal questions -- that are, by the way, not your business -- out in public and anonymosly. This blog is not an open forum to ask me questions about my life and history, or about other people's personal business either, for that matter.

TR

Edward Carson said...

I just read the Gate Keepers and came to a very different conclusion about the college process and admission. I teach some of the best students in Houston; my challenge is showing them (more like lecturing them)how to work hard without stressing. I blame the commercial process of the college application game. I am amazed at how many wonderful colleges I have to convince my star students to consider. I just came across this blog. Great stuff!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I have a friend whose daughter just went through the college applications/admissions process. The daughter is at an expensive private school, the counselors get heavily involved, and there is apparently a lot of pressure. Apparently, seventeen year-olds are having breakdows left and right. I don't remember doing this (well, breakdowns over the financial aid forms, but that's another story), and I just don't think it's right.

Good luck on the book revisions. I'm in the midst my own revisions process. 15 months until the tenure file is due...

Notorious Ph.D. said...

::ahem:: That should have been "in the midst of the revisions process." Let's hope I proofread the MS better than I do my comments.

adjunct whore said...

the whole admissions thing is beyond disconcerting, as a professor and as a parent. not until higher education recognizes the irrelevance of standardized testing, especially since you need only pay for your scores through test prep, will this problem begin to be addressed meaningfully. my two cents, anyway.

squadratomagico said...

In terms of the admissions insanity: Somehow, I can't help but think that helicopter parents must be to blame. Wasn't it they who started the whole competitive escalation of extracurricular activities, complete with their own screaming on the sidelines of little league soccer games?

And thanks for linking!

ime said...

I encouraged my friends' children to just take a deep breath and realize that the interview runs both ways. Reframing the process and also participating in "informal" meet-ups with alumni before applying helped them deescalate considerably.

G.A.S. said...

I enjoyed reading your remarks about Shoreline as a haven of sorts and I agree that the immigration "problem" is completely overblown. Where I live (in the South) the Hispanic population is growing by the day and is upsetting the black / white "balance" of the state (in very interesting ways). At any rate, where I live is far from a haven for immigrant peoples. Nevertheless, one thing I'm wondering about the present and so-called "immigration bill" is the provision that "undocumented" workers would first have to return to their home countries before being awarded a legal staus here in the U.S. Given the credibility of the current administration (and of American itself at present), who would trust such a provision?

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