My unwavering commitment to the equality of all people, to dismantling the hegemony that has kept so many oppressed for so long, is my raison d’être. Nothing is more important to me than using my role as a member of the intelligentsia to give voice to the voiceless and fight for the uplift of all people. Nothing, that is, except for my own individual success as a professor, competing with countless others for even the most modest achievement in academia.
In case anyone was wondering, this is what a feminist looks like. I am here to push back against the toxic masculinity that abounds in higher education.
The future is female, and I will defend any woman whose dignity is threatened by misogyny. Unless she has even the slightest chance of getting approved for tenure before me, in which case I will criticize her for having a baby while on the tenure clock, make fun of her clothes, and do just about everything possible to undermine the legitimacy of her scholarly pursuits.
Alice Walker said, “Activism is my rent for living on the planet,” which some of you may already know if you have passed by my office door and seen this quote posted there. I see my teaching and writing as a clarion call to all to fight for justice and an opportunity to remind everyone that Black Lives Matter. Until an African American colleague is applying for the same research grant as me, in which case, I feel fine saying she got to where she is only because of affirmative action.
I believe in non-hierarchical, student-centered education. Mine is a lifelong endeavor to empower those who take my courses. Except when they correct me when I misgender them or file for disability accommodations. In either case, I lose my shit entirely like a preschooler throwing a tantrum on a playground, because even the slightest inconvenience to me is absolutely intolerable, no matter how reasonable or necessary.
All of my research is focused on one thing—solidarity. Really, I see myself as a representative of the proletariat. Marx said, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” and friends, my abilities allow me to perform an alliance with working people while actually clinging desperately to my own precarious privilege. Perhaps voting for socialists or supporting union efforts to organize adjunct professors so they can have health insurance and don’t have to live in their cars might be effective in deconstructing capitalist tyranny. Or I can have the custodian fired for taking out the trash in which I’d accidentally placed my annotated draft on the Gramscian influence in contemporary activism.
Some may say that my work in the academy epitomizes noble sacrifice, but I am totally humbled to have a seat at the table of ideas and live a life of intellectual inquiry. And I can’t think of a purer expression of that humility than incessantly bickering over my own piddling fixations on intradepartmental status and prestige. I am proud to have dedicated my life to clawing for the scraps thrown to us by administrators who are pushing for an increasingly corporatized university system.