Journal Week 3 - Individual Experiences with discrimination

I encountered a lot of sexism and classism growing up working class in a wealthy suburban school district. They compounded each other. Even the most obnoxious administrators and counselors at least conceded that working class boys could benefit from education, the same was not believed of we girls. "You don't need physics to have babies!" quoth my principle when refusing to approve my schedule. "You are cheating and I'm giving you an F." said my history teacher when I wrote for a "what would your life have been like in ancient Greece" essay that it would have been short, given that I only survived birth because doctors had worked out a few months before that blood transfusions could reverse the effects of Rh Factor incompatibility in newborns. And that I was an oldest daughter, who would've been pretty much guaranteed to be exposed, a victim of infanticide, even if I had survived birth. And my academic counselor's observation that "You won't need those college track courses to work at [local factory] so why take them?"

How many Descartes' and Curies have died young picking cotton too slowly and being whipped to death? How many Shakespeares and Angelous have spent their lives mopping floors and writing poetry in secret if they even got the chance to learn reading and writing? How many Beatrix Potters and Mileva Einstein-Marics are still not given credit for their mathematical and scientific accomplishments, regarded as "sounding boards" instead of collaborators, amateurs instead of professionals, incapable of serious intellectual endeavor and valued only as sexual or nurturing peons based on their gender alone?

I am not claiming genius, or comparing myself to those beacons of knowledge. I'm just questioning how much better off we would be, locally and globally, if institutionalized racism and classism and sexism and materialism weren't still the order of the day.


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