Sunday, October 12, 2014
I don't mean this as a joke. I really want to know what a worker is supposed to do when the main obstacle to faculty solidarity is that one group really seems to believe that they are superior or inherently more valuable and deserving than another group when such evidence does not exist. The consequences of internalizing inferiority are no better, as workers are gradually broken down psychologically and emotionally in order to survive in this two-tiered toxic environment; they often become shadows of themselves and will remain this way until they can either escape or take matters into their own hands to the astonishment of their no-betters.
I look at it this way: if a team of volunteer firefighters runs into a burning house to save the occupants and finds one group of people closest to the flames, trapped and choking while another huddle of people are in a cooler corner where there is still breathable air and freedom of movement, can we honestly argue the firefighters must first run to the safer bunch and hand them bottles of chilled water, making sure they are okay and happy before fetching the others?
If the answer is, 'Of course not, we must first rescue the people about to burst into flames and then the others,' then why is it that when we apply the same logic to college campuses we find tenured and full-time faculty members arguing that their needs come first before adjuncts experience any sort of equality? Is it just a sad attribute of human nature that we can't see past our own self-interest? The bulk of the labor force are the occupants closest to the fire. I can see someone bringing up the help the stronger ones so that they, in turn, can double the rescue attempt, but that discounts the likelihood that the occupants closest to the flames, if they survive, will remember every extra second they had to wait for their empowered colleagues to do the right thing.