There are phrases that are always untrue—”the revolution will not be televised;” “trickle down economics;” “one size fits al”l—and Americans love them. We love them regardless of education, employment profile, social or ethnic background. We’ll take direction from jingles: “see the USA in your Chevrolet.” One might add: “or else.”
In the Human Resources world nouns are also jingles: diversity and inclusion for instance. That diversity and inclusion are bulwarks rather than invitations never dawns on the HR crowd. Those of us who hail from historically marginalized groups know the fortress effects of language.
I”m now at the age when I’m thinking about the things I’ve championed but will never see when it comes to my work life. The American university will not soon be truly welcoming to the disabled or people of color or anyone who is branded as needy. Admissions is part of HR and HR hates the vulnerable. They cost too much unless you can monetize them as is the case with minority student athletes.
I joked one day with a group of disabled students and said “if they could make a profit off our presence they’d be eager to have us.” “Let’s all beg,” said a woman with a power wheelchair. “I’m blind,” I said, “I can sell pencils.”
So I have this vision that colleges and universities will become in the next decades post-embodied sites where the quality of ambition and desire are valued more than privilege or easy bucks.
I might as well say I believe the tooth fairy will bat third for the Yankees.