I reckon being a postdoc on a non-tenure track these days doesn’t feel in the slightest like being part of an elíte. You work godawful hours for poverty-level pay, are subject to abusive workplace politics, and face one frustration after another in doing what you sunk yourself several hundred thousand dollars into debt to be able to do: learn, think, research, and teach. It’s a sick system getting sicker, and Learning Writ Large suffers as bright, enthusiastic and talented young adults leave academia in droves.
But there’s just something nasty about using the Kerner Report as a metaphor for a class divide among a group of people who have something 90 percent of their fellow residents in this country will never have. Many progressive academics would shy away from calling negative paper review a “lynching” or comparing a declined grant proposal to “getting raped.” Aside from politer language, I don’t see how comparing the class struggle between tenure-tracked and non-tenure-tracked postdocs to a sweeping summary of the effects of 400 years of genocide and racism is any better.
No, PhDs are not the downtrodden proletariat
January 8, 2014 by blue milk