Less Liberal in the Liberal Arts

By September 19, 2017 61 comments Permalink

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter once dismissed me as “a novelist no one has heard of and also teaches creative writing at CUNY.” The former aspect of the ad hominem attack worked on me because, yeah, well, you know, she was right (Doh!); the latter part, poor phrasing aside, probably played much better with her far-right audience since nothing screams elitism (and irrelevance as a result) like college professor, from the Northeast no less. While this anti-academic stance is in large part a result of the decided lack of intellect on the far right, we in higher education should be careful not to give merit to such denunciation. The idea is not to appease the likes of Ann Coulter; it’s to take the higher road that higher education requires. In order to do that, we should check our liberalism at the classroom door.

College instructors often engage their students in matters beyond the course focus and their own academic expertise. The logic being that educators on the highest level are generally informed people with the authority to speak on matters beyond their official authority. Classrooms are also often spaces where conversations about the world at large take place; current events can be threaded into practical lessons. We are tasked, especially in certain disciplines such as the Liberal Arts, with helping young minds make sense of the real world so they can transition from adolescence into informed citizens of a democracy.

Too often, though, we must admit, professors use classrooms as platforms to express personal feelings about matters dear to their compassionate hearts and personal worldview. The podium becomes a soapbox to voice subjective opinion about politics and social justice and various cultural matters. This is understandable, especially in such a fraught political environment, but we as educators should remain objective in the classroom to allow our students to process the information at hand and form their own opinions without undue influence from an authority figure. We want to foster critical thinkers, those who consider all sides of a matter in a logical and thorough manner to form their own reasonable conclusions that are consistently challenged.

We don’t have to hide our personal beliefs; those beliefs should not be at the forefront of our discussions. It’s not about us; it’s about empowering students to think, but too often we let our passions and personal convictions lead the conversation and, as a result, undermine learning outcomes and the mission of higher education.

Obviously, the 800-pound gorilla in every classroom is Donald Trump. And while the limited time available for non-specific subject instruction would leave little ability to even brush the surface of this amorphous phenomenon, there’s also other – suddenly more quiet – matters worthy of discussion, like the complicated issues of white privilege or Southern history or racial profiling or immigration or modern feminism or American exceptionalism (my topic that set off Ann Coulter) or what Kanye did this time.

Whichever issue comes up, we can help our students make sense of them and these complicated times and allow their participation as citizens to be informed by their balanced education, not inspired by the personal passions of their professors and the grievances we may want to voice in the classroom (as tempting as it might be).

I often imagine that there’s a student in my class whose father watches Fox News. I wouldn’t want that student to feel like her father or her father’s beliefs are under attack; I wouldn’t want that student to think that I think her father is immoral or unintelligent or an asshole; and I most certainly would not want that father to think his child is being influenced (possibly at their expense) by some liberal elitist pushing a political agenda. I’d want that father to think his child is being educated, not indoctrinated.

I’ll save my personal opinions for parties with my elitist friends and opinion pages.

Published on Huffington Post: Less Liberal in the Liberal Arts

61 responses to “Less Liberal in the Liberal Arts”

  1. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  2. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, as well as the content!

  3. I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about onceper week. I opted in for your Feed too.

  4. I’m really inspired along with your writing talents and also with the format to your
    blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did
    you customize it your self? Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a nice blog like this one
    these days..

  5. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I
    can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m
    not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

  6. Every weekend i used to visit this web site, as i wish for enjoyment, as this
    this web page conations in fact nice funny information too.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on download minecraft
    pc. Regards

  8. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources
    back to your webpage? My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

  9. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to
    make a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  10. g says:

    Can I just say what a relief to discover someone that actually understands what they’re talking about on the
    web. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of your story.
    It’s surprising you are not more popular because you definitely have
    the gift.

  11. g says:

    I believe that is one of the most significant information for me.
    And i am happy reading your article. However want
    to commentary on some normal issues, The web site taste is ideal, the
    articles is truly excellent : D. Good task, cheers

  12. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came
    to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  13. Are you prepared to debate more about this topic? I figure you might be downplaying some of your polarized ideas, but I would certainly like reading them 🙂

  14. hey there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up something new
    from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues
    using this website, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect
    your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much
    more of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again soon.

  15. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  16. I could agree more- and maybe I could!1!1! Haha

  17. Quality content is the crucial to be a focus for the people
    to visit the site, that’s what this web site is providing.

  18. Link exchange is nothing else except it is just
    placing the other person’s web site link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do same for you.

  19. Hi there, I check your blog daily. Your story-telling style
    is witty, keep up the good work!

  20. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  21. Very rapidly this web site will be famous amid all blogging viewers,
    due to it’s nice content

  22. Rebalmorn says:

    How Much Is Viagra Without Insurance canadian pharmacy cialis Acheter Du Clomid En Ligne Grossesses Multiples Finasteride Tab Internet Pharmacy

  23. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site?

    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast
    provided bright clear concept

  24. Hey very interesting blog!

  25. I’ve been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours today, but I
    never found any fascinating article like yours.

    It’s pretty price enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the web will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  26. hi!,I like your writing so so much! share we keep up a correspondence extra about your
    article on AOL? I require an expert in this space to resolve my problem.
    May be that’s you! Taking a look ahead to look you.

  27. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after
    checking through some of the post I realized it’s new
    to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back

  28. Rebalmorn says:

    Cialis 5g Buy Clonodine Without Rx Kamagra Deutschland Levitra viagra online Buying Azithromycin 500mg Cialis Online Us Keflex Doseage Strep Throat

  29. It’s going to be end of mine day, however before
    ending I am reading this great piece of writing to improve my knowledge.

  30. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who
    aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after
    your heart.

  31. Rebalmorn says:

    Propecia Ovulation Filtre Baclofen kamagra 100 mg Verapamil 240mg Without Prescription Cialis Levitra Im Vergleich Online Pharmacy India Tamoxifen 20 Mg

  32. Quality posts is the crucial to invite the users to
    pay a quick visit the website, that’s what this
    website is providing.

  33. tinyurl.com says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find
    things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  34. Rebalmorn says:

    Levitra 10 Mg Efectos Secundarios Prospecto Cialis 20 buy viagra Calculations For Suspension Amoxicillin Buying Seroxat On Line Zithromax For Strep Throat

  35. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog is in the very same area
    of interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thank you!

  36. This excellent website really has all of the information and facts I needed
    about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  37. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I truly
    enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.
    I will make certain to bookmark your blog
    and definitely will come back in the future.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

  38. These are actually impressive ideas in regarding
    blogging. You have touched some pleasant factors here.

    Any way keep up wrinting.

  39. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching
    for plenty of fish dating site

  40. Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to find out some additional information.

  41. Rebalmorn says:

    Generika Cialis п»їcialis Amoxicillin 250 Mg Cephalexin And Mao Inhibitors

  42. natalielise says:

    Very good article. I will be experiencing many of these issues as well..

    natalielise plenty of fish

  43. smore.com says:

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specially the last part :
    ) I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular
    info for a long time. Thank you and good luck. natalielise plenty of fish

  44. pof says:

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was
    entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t
    imagine just how much time I had spent for this info!

  45. I was able to find good information from your content.

  46. I just like the helpful info you supply to your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again right here frequently.

    I am relatively certain I will be informed a lot of new stuff proper right here!
    Best of luck for the following!

  47. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable
    job and our entire community will be thankful to you.
    pof natalielise

  48. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she keeps the image of a user
    in his/her brain that how a user can understand it. Thus that’s why this
    post is perfect. Thanks! plenty of fish natalielise

  49. roblox hack says:

    Thank You for this.

  50. I like this website its a master peace ! Glad I found this on google .

  51. skin swapper says:

    I enjoying, will read more. Cheers!

  52. I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while.

  53. I got this website from my pal who shared with me about this web site and now this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative articles or reviews here.

  54. Highly descriptive post, I loved that bit.

    Will there be a part 2?

  55. Ha, here from bing, this is what i was searching for.

  56. insta haxor says:

    I have interest in this, cheers.

  57. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard
    on. Any tips?

  58. stays on topic and states valid points. Thank you.

  59. I was looking at some of your articles on this site and I believe this internet site is really instructive! Keep on posting .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *