Group Identity (Part Five)

I don’t seem to have photos of me teaching, but here is a staged photo of me grading papers (while on the phone??) for an article about my writing.

This is the fifth installment of a series of essays on group identity on college campuses that comes from a speech I gave back in 2007. You can find the firstsecondthird, and fourth here. I will continue discussing what happens with a fixation on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

This installment continues with the discussion of the detrimental impact group identity has on the relationship between faculty members and students. The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. 

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Group Identity (Part Four)

Another not-very-good photo of me speaking at a conference!

This is the fourth installment of a series of essays on group identity on college campuses that comes from a speech I gave back in 2007. You can find the firstsecond, and third here. I will continue discussing what happens when the educational system develops a fixation on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

The fourth installment begins with how group identity damages relationships between faculty members. The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. 

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Group Identity (Part Three)

Not the best photo of me, but here I am during a presentation!

This is the third installment of a series of essays about the impact of group identity as practiced on college campuses (You can find Parts One and Two here). It is an expansion of a speech I gave back in 2007. In this installment, I will continue discussing some of the dangers of fixating on group identity, problems I saw playing out 15 years ago. And these problems have only increased since then.

The speech is rewritten in the indented sections, and I interrupt periodically with my current comments about what I wrote so long ago. I begin with some examples of people seeing themselves as part of a group rather than as individuals.

So here goes!

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The Damage Wrought by Group Identity on College Campuses

Today starts a multi-part series on some of my experiences as a college professor. I found an old presentation I gave in 2007 called “The Damage Wrought by Group Identity on College Campuses.” In this series, I will be breaking down that speech, providing some background information on my points, and updating my thoughts on the topics discussed.

This introduction is the first installment.

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My Grandmother’s Legacy

Helen D’Arcy – my grandma!

In 1994, the Northridge earthquake tore apart the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. And I happened to live less than a mile from the epicenter. I lived with my boyfriend in a 400 square foot… house. Well, it wasn’t exactly a house. It was a small converted, one room clubhouse for a single tennis court on the property. The kitchenette was so small that we had to keep the refrigerator outside. But it was perfect for two people that owned little to nothing.

But the one piece of furniture of note that I did have was a china cabinet given to me by my grandmother.

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The Zipper

For a moment, all I wanted was to be a kid again. To have no fear. To live in the moment. To scream out loud. To ride…the Zipper.

Every year, the local parish where my children attended preschool throws a fall festival, complete with carnival rides, a silent auction, and goofy games. One year, winding our way through the crowds, I saw towering above the horizon, a ride I recognized from my own teenaged years: the Zipper. Lost for a moment in the past, I am desperate to ride it!

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Enemy of the People: Our Justice System

I love jury duty!

I know. Nobody loves jury duty. (Perhaps I should have been a lawyer…) So I suppose it is not surprising that I was captivated by the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. I actually took a break from my writing to watch gavel-to-gavel coverage, captivated not only by what happened in the courtroom but also by live commentary given by a wide variety of lawyers. 

The last time I watched a trail on TV was the OJ Simpson murder persecution, as KTLA in Los Angeles televised the entire trial. At the time, I was what people called a “freeway flyer,” a college instructor with adjunct positions at four different colleges across the city. So my hours were irregular, giving me the opportunity to watch much of the trial.

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Death Waits, Patiently

He took one last drag on his cigarette before putting it out in the small glass ashtray that he held in his hand. It was chilly outside, and he wanted to get back in to catch this week’s episode of Survivor

He had been smoking for… what? Since he was in the army. That was when he was 22. So, for 65 years? Yeah. 65 years. There were a few years when he put the cigarettes away and switched over to cigars. He didn’t mind the cigars, but despite the constant pressure from his wife and children to quit smoking, they quickly decided they preferred the Pall Malls to the stench of the cheap cigars. So he easily made the transition back.

His doctor hassled him periodically. His brother, who smoked a pipe, had died of lung cancer. But every time his lung scans came back clean, even the doctor had to back off. 

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Untold Stories of Black Homesteaders in South Dakota

Home on Blair Homestead

A large part of Clara’s Journal focused on women whose lives defy the popular narrative, whose stories of bravery, resilience, talent, and success are so often left out of our national discourse. 

And it turns out that a story I missed, a story also ignored, was that of the thousands of African Americans who homesteaded in the Great Plains in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

One of my favorite parts about writing Clara’s Journal was the research: the books, the websites, the journals, the newspapers, ancestry.com, the phone calls, the emails, the family papers. And one of my favorite parts of the research, of reanimating lives from the past, was discovering how many of our assumptions about the lives of so many people are simplified to an inaccurate caricature.

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Taking a Chance on Life… Again

It was the summer of 2001. There were five states that I had yet to visit: Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Maine. Growing up, our family took a yearly two-week vacation, camping in the tent trailer my dad proudly bought at Sears for $800, as he would brag to anyone who would listen. So I was able to knock off a lot of states before I reached 18. 

Travel was in my bones, and just like I assumed I would go to college, that I would get married, and that I would have kids, I always assumed I would travel with my family. I had decided long before I had my children that I was not going to be someone who couldn’t go anywhere or do anything because they had kids.

The man I married was not a traveler. As a couple, we had travelled very little since we met and married. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and truly believed it was such a great city that there was no need to go anywhere else. How I made the decision to marry someone who did not share such an important part of how I saw life is a question I’ll have to explore another time.

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