Inclusion versus exclusion

Following on the post just before this one:

I would love to hear your story about feeling excluded in an academic or work context.  It’s pretty certain that others would too.

Let’s stick to cases whether gender/race/disability can be said plausibly to play a role.  And let’s also recognize the   positive.  Have you had some vivid case of feeling very included, against your expectation or perhaps in contrast to your being a member of an under-represented group.  Or perhaps you are a member of the dominant group, but you were suddenly invited to see things from a very different point of view.

If your story doesn’t make it clear, you might give us some idea of “your position.”  Are you a student?  The youngest person in the office?  Or someone further along who has become invisible.  Or suddenly revealed as visible and important after all?  These anecdotes might get repeated at least in discussions in academia, so please let us know if the context is academic or not.  Don’t feel you have to identify the field.  Anonymity might be quite important if you plan to spill some beans.  It will be respected.

Why do women students leave a male-predominant field?

An NSF sponsored study has looked at two factors influencing women to stay in – or  drop out of – engineering, which, like philosophy, is a predomiantly male feel.  They are:  self-efficacy and a feeling of inclusion.  Self-efficacy is about feeling oneself capable of setting and achieving goals. 

One thing that is interesting about these two features is that professors can help at least some with each.  They are also factors which, through perhaps workshops, a sponsored philosophy club and so on, a department can address.   At the same time, there will be a lot of ways, one suspects, that leave women students feel they have less control – including negative stereotypes and an absence of women in the curriculum – that may be below the radar of many or most profs.  Similar factors, along with some additions, will surely be impacting ethnic minorities and disabled students.

It might be interesting and even fun to get students together to discuss the many things  sending the message that  women can’t do philosophy. 

Obviously, feeling self-efficacious and feeling included are not the same things, but some factors affecting one may well affect the other.  But what about factors affecting inclusion that are independent?  What do you think?

You have to draw the line somewhere

I’m not going to list what  you can get away with in Texas.  Let’s just note instead that it isn’t  everything.

Abraham Urquizo, 35, a visitor from Jamaica, N.Y., was arrested this week at Salsa’s Mexican and Seafood Restaurant on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston after twice using the [F] word to berate his girlfriend, officials said.

A Galveston police officer overhead the conversation in which Urquizo was reported to have said, “I can’t believe you’re so (expletive deleted) stupid” which was followed by “what the (expletive deleted) were you thinking.”

The officer, eating his dinner nearby, took Urquizo outside to caution him about his speech , said Galveston police spokesman, Lt. D.J. Alvarez. The restaurant’s manager then stated the use of the word had offended him and asked the officer to do something, Alvarez said.

The officer arrested Urquizo on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Urquizo could not be reached for comment, but he has since pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offense. The judge assessed his punishment as the hours he had already spent in jail prior to the pleading.

Was the legal problem just his use of that word in public, and not the fact that he was berating his girlfriend?  That is how it is reported, but one can hope that  his target was part of what led the policeman to action in this case and sustained the charge of disorderly conduct.  Thus:

While the word is vulgar, disrespectful and in poor taste, constitutional scholars such at T. Gerald Treece, an associate dean at the South Texas College of Law, believe “criminalizing” the word is a violation of free speech.

Such a word has to “excite violence or an immediate disruption, where people feel they are forced to leave or not participate in an activity” before police action would be warranted, he said.

State law says the use of abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, which causes an “immediate breach of peace,” meets the definition of disorderly conduct.

Perhaps, we can hope, verbal violence toward your partner can constitute a breach of peace.