Of all of the readings this week, the most impactful for me was the Georgetown course design on Inclusive Pedagogy, mainly from an argument I’ve had with other white men. I’m a white man, and I have friends, acquaintances, and coworkers who are white men, and for a long time (up to and including now), white men didn’t and don’t want to acknowledge white male privilege. There are many reasons for that, and I don’t want to get into that argument in this blog post, but one of the reasons I think white men refuse to acknowledge privilege is because of certainty. There is this idea that with enough experience and knowledge, one can find objective truth and adopt those truths into their perspective, and, as if it were possible, by removing all subjectivity from their perspective they have more certainty that their perspective is the truth. Through objectivity you are more often right and everyone who has any subjectivity in their perspective is more often wrong. It’s ridiculous. This is all to say that any “objective” standards are not any more fair or unbias than any subjective standards, because the individuals setting the “objective” standards have no real way to prove they are objective.
A white male peer believes that universities should be exclusive. That through a merit based system the best education and best students will be produced, and means to create more inclusivity leads to weakness in that system. There should be more weed out classes. There should be higher standards for entrance into undergraduate universities and graduate school.
This perspective is so frustrating because it’s set in some certainty that any of level of a merit based system is set in an objective reality. Someone, or many, or hundreds of people are setting standards and they all introduce a level of subjectivity that brings it further and further from objectivity. I really appreciated reading the couple papers that the course design cited that inclusivity benefits all. And honestly, I think it makes the most sense. The more individuals that are involved in anything, contributing a range of perspectives, offer the clearest picture. Subjectivity compounded gets us closest to the truth, not a few people who are so certain of their own perspective it eliminates the incorporation or understanding of the perspectives of others.