I hate the way I’m more racist when I’m tired

When I’m tuckered out I am SO bad at not being racist… I do that thing where I get people of the same race/gender/height/bodyshape/hair color mixed up with each other.

And then I do that embarrassed white woman thing where I turn bright red, make up excuses, then keep apologizing way after the time that it’s appropriate to be apologizing. I understand that just makes it worse, but I cannot stop!

Most of the people I know are polite about it. Except this one prominent economist who I keep getting mixed up with the same guy, usually late at night the same day of the same conference… he thinks it’s hilarious and now makes a point of asking me who I think he is (I haven’t gotten it right yet, mainly because I know the other guy by name because he works in my field but I’ve actually seen the other guy more often). I deserve that, though I can’t remember his name right now (whereas I can remember the other guy’s name…).

And I could make excuses that I’m pretty bad with whites too (which is true– I mostly identify people by their height and hair color), but it’s far worse with non-whites.  I’m terrible with names.  I’m terrible with faces (but not terrible enough to believe I have that medical thingy where you can’t recognize faces… I do recognize faces of people I know).

And I know it’s not just me.  I know there’s tons of research showing that when we’re tired or have too much cognitive load one of the first things to go is correcting for implicit biases.  But it’s still pretty excrementy of me.

All of this is to say, I wish I were either less implicitly racist or I were always less tired!!!!!

(And yes, I know that some people are going to say that this post is just making things worse because it makes the problem all about me.  You know, like white women do.  [Because nobody ever says that about white men; they always get credit for just trying.]  But at that point I throw up my arms and say, “I think I am going to ignore that and take a nap.”)

link love in our ongoing series

… our ongoing series of F*ck the police.

U.S. police as an extension of slavery and white supremacy.  The police love racist dudes who shoot unarmed black teens.  The police ALSO hate Hispanic people as well as black people (warning: violence).  F*ck the police right in the irony.

I don’t know that the first part of the article is correct (there are dangers to confronting the advisor), but the rest of the advice is SPOT ON.  (Men: Don’t do this.)

How to be a better secretary even though that’s not your job title.

Depressingly few books on sale at Powell’s 20% off we need diverse books YA sale.  (Not an affiliate link.)

An old post, but NK Jemisin discusses her science fiction she shouldn’t be shelved in the African American section.

hiring managers, throw away your codpieces!!!

What could possibly go wrong?

Wisconsin used to be such a great state.  WTH is going on there?

This just in:  Media reports comments taken out of context in the media.

The posthumous Terry Pratchett will be a Tiffany Aching.  (not orderable yet!)

Leigh doesn’t want kids or early retirement, but saves anyway!

Nzmuse with another great post in her “loving your work” series.

This was me earlier this week.

I will buy this book when it comes out (also not orderable yet.)  BCN back on the air 6/15!

Jon Stewart notes how quickly the media devolved into misogyny with Caitlyn Jenner.

my daycare mommy used to make pice bach

stack exchange, not just for programming questions

the last panel is something I would say

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL

One space or two?

Books on teh wimmenz

If you liked Lean In (or thought it didn’t go far enough!), here are some other books you may enjoy:

Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian (we <3 Valian’s work, referenced here)

Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman’s Guide to Surviving in the Academic World, by Paula Caplan, who is an awesome writer of things.

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth

Women Don’t Ask. (Ask For It)

Failing At Fairness (#2’s not such a big fan of this, but go ahead and read) (also there’s a sequel out, which neither of us has read yet)

Women of Academe: Outsiders in the Sacred Grove (old but still good)

Claudia Goldin’s Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office (which #1 is less a fan of — a lot of this advice is outdated and just wrong… it’s one of those advising women to be more like men books based on zero research, even though the research-based norm now is advising men to be more like women!).

I have What Works for Women  on my to-read shelf.

Who’s got more recommendations for us?  Let everyone know in the comments!

link love

First ted talk on abortion (also check out the abortion myths slideshow at the bottom)

chilling stanford article (discusses rape and reporting retaliation)

in our ongoing series of F THE POLICE (disturbing picture)

On a plate

dickipedia:  ted nugent

It really is the devil’s underpants.

Pockets and patriarchy

Why we need erasers, I mean history.

Octavia’s brood

zomg gail carriger’s fashion blog I will read IT ALLLLLL

News is what someone wants suppressed.  Everything else is advertising.

may possibly be true

case for and against homework

that’s full professor notorious to you

Hide and seek cats

How misogyny keeps women down

I just wandered onto econjobrumors because a prominent female economist who I like a lot was quoted on a blog post with school designation different from the one I last knew her to be at and I wondered about it.  So I googled.  Big mistake.  Now I feel really really dirty.  It reminds me how horrid and misogynistic most of economics is, at least when people are allowed to post anonymously.  Jeez.

The thoughts through my mind as I first read through the thread about her tenure denial and everybody bashing her were, gee, I’m glad this mob doesn’t know I even exist.  I’m glad I wasn’t working at a top 5 school.  I’m glad I didn’t write that popular press book that she wrote (that I could have written, but probably could not have published, and was very glad that I didn’t based on the backlash I read just on the Amazon reviews).

I don’t want to stick my neck out because I don’t want the mob to find me.  I’m happy being less than the top because I see what happens to outspoken women at the top.  I’m glad I’m not at a top 15 school where I would have been punished for having a baby before tenure.  (The things I hear from my friends at those schools always make me glad to be someplace more supportive.)

But as happy as I am with my non-star status, I wish it weren’t that way too.  I wish I could be more like her… I mean, I’d rather be more like Amy Finklestein, who I hope that nobody says anything bad about ever, but my true self is a bit more like this other woman.  If I hadn’t had self-confidence beaten out of me or had that extremely scary brush with infamy in middle school and if I’d had more privilege (and if I were a little smarter and more organized and a little less careful), I might also have the opportunity to stick my neck out and have internet mobs come after me because they didn’t like my opinions or attitude or my success.  I would be even more brash and more self-confident and more willing to tell people what’s right or wrong than I am now.  Things we aren’t allowed as women, when men with those characteristics get early tenure at Harvard.

If I were less weak.  If the world were a better place.  If I were male.  Then I would be less scared of true success.  Less scared of being a big fish in a big pond.  My ambition would have no limits.

But given my constraints and the way the world is… I’m pretty happy where I am now.  Valued by my colleagues and administration.  Making a small name for myself in my area of study.  Answering interesting questions.  Reading the occasional romance novel.  Having time for an anonymous blog that isn’t usually about economics (except that it sort of always is).

But wouldn’t it be nice if men and women had the same opportunities for success and balancing life?  And women didn’t have to be thankful that their mediocrity protects them from the mob?

Ask the grumpies: Recommendations for post-maternity leave

Slightly Anonymous asks:

My department is writing a policy for what they do to support new parents post-parental leave.  I’m on the committee that is supposed to come up with this.  I think this is great:  if somebody misses a year or a semester with a new baby, then it makes sense that they might need some time or extra support to come back up to speed.  But what should our committee recommend?

I’m wondering if you or any of your readers have ideas?

I’m at a UK university, which means that academic staff at my university are either on short-term temporary contracts — think postdoc — or have permanent positions.  In most UK universities “lecturer” is the equivalent of “assistant professor with tenure.”  At my university there is a 1 year probationary period before your job is officially permanent, but passing probation is pretty much a formality.  There is still stress about being promoted, but much less than what comes with trying to get tenure in a US university.

Being in the US and not having been at coastal or ultra-prestigious schools, our own experience is pretty pathetic.  That whole “missing a year or a semester with a new baby” thing … not something we’re used to.  In my department we’re still trying to get something consistent in place that doesn’t involve begging other people in the department to cover your classes for a couple of weeks after the baby is born.

Off the top of my head, all I can think of is adding a year to the tenure clock for those without tenure, but that is mostly irrelevant in the UK context.  Surely someone out there has a better idea of what best practices are?  #2 has only seen terrible practices.  My poor poor colleagues.

Grumpy Nation, please weigh in with your suggestions!

Ask the grumpies: Dissertation Student from Hades

Stacie asks:

I have this student. She is a PhD student and she gets under my skin! Several months ago I could tell things were not right between us as she was very combative and defensive in class. I tried various ways to figure this issue out in class to no avail. I finally asked for a meeting and honestly felt blind-sided and rail-roaded by her response. When I tried to discuss her behavior, she was quick to retort how she wasn’t the problem, it was me and began to recount my failings [update:  failings were that Stacie is “cold and distant”]. It honestly caught me off guard and I didn’t know how to respond. I ultimately tried to diffuse the situation and talk about how we would work together in the future. I did find out that other students definitely see problems in her behavior in various classes, but have yet to find another professor who will vouch for this. I’ve asked and they say they have no problems with her, but then I hear other students talk about how much this student is being difficult in their classes… (this also drives me crazy!) I talked to my Chair whose overall response to most things seems to be “oh well” so that didn’t really help.

I am really having a hard time keeping my cool around this student who continues to be defensive in class. I am definitely having trouble “teaching others how to treat me” – probably because I don’t like conflict, try to be “nice”, and don’t have great one-liners at the ready to respond to student behaviors.

Yes, I am the newest faculty member, one of the only young females in a mostly senior, male faculty, and have been told I’m the most “human” of any professor we have. (I used to think this was a good thing, but now am not so sure.)

I was wondering if you could help me with how to think about this issue or some phrases I could use regularly with this kind of thing with students or other things I can do to survive this kind of issue. I have a feeling this won’t be my last student who challenges me like this, but I don’t want to always worry or over-think these things. I honestly have some great students, but this one student is the only one I can think about! It drives me crazy!

Well, we don’t have any great advice on this particular student.  Avoiding her completely would be awesome, but it sounds like that might not be an option. Mostly, it sounds like you need a mentor who has handled PhD students at your school for a while and has tenure. They can give you suggestions for the circumstances.  It also sounds like you’ve tried in vain to find such a mentor, and that really sucks.  We’re sorry you’re not getting more support on this.  :(

However, you can also look outside of your department.  Seek out the following resources: 1) talk to the head of the teaching development center at your school, whatever that’s called. (Or teaching & learning, or teaching & Faculty development, etc.) They exist for things like this! 2) talk to your faculty ombudsperson, as they may know more resources and probably have seen similar situations in the past. 3) attempt to get mentoring informally from senior colleagues — if not in your own department then in other departments. You could talk to other people who supervise PhD students, members of the student’s dissertation committee, the Director of Graduate Studies for your department, or the Dean of the Graduate School (or someone in their office). Take them to coffee and ask for advice. It’s good for the future to be friendly with these sorts of people anyway. 4) Outlast the student. Unfortunately this also takes time.

In terms of how to prevent these kinds of things from happening in the future with other students, Teach like a champion is an invaluable resource with tactics that really do work. It isn’t quite as much help for what to do after a problem has started, but it’s great for setting up a professional environment where problems won’t start. We have some posts on teaching tactics from it that you might find helpful if you want to get a taste while waiting to get it from the library.  Maintain control of the classroom, and very strong personal boundaries. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

Update:  That is an incredibly gendered complaint.  Professors are allowed to be cold and distant and setting boundaries and having a personal bubble helps immensely when you’re a young woman professor.  If you didn’t have such a bubble, students would be complaining about something else because they would perceive you as unprofessional.  There’s no way to win.  Allowing space and distance is the way to go because it isn’t so time intensive or emotionally challenging, even if you get punished for it.

Getting grey hair is also good for reducing student challenges. And experience is great for not letting obnoxious students get to you so much. But those strategies take time.

In the mean time, hopefully the academic part of the Grumpy Nation will chime in with additional suggestions.  We’ll also try to get a signal boost from Historiann to get her always helpful readers.

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