damnit, i have gone around and around with my academic friends, and i may have slightly estranged some because i am not part of their echo chamber. but here it goes, let’s see how many more people i can estrange!
flame suit prepped
the thing she did wrong was act unethically and lie in a position that requires spotless ethics. full stop, that is what she did wrong. fire her, don’t give her references, and move on.
the shitstorm about culture and ethnicity is what riles me up though. the concepts of transracial progress and positionality are great… when dealing with monolithic groups that act, think, and feel the same while being bound by common history.
but upon inspection they break down so fast. going through the original 1964 dissertation on positionality it becomes obvious to the reader that it is a zero sum game. an outsider cannot know the experiences of a culture. a culture can’t know the experiences of a subculture. a subculture can’t know the experiences of an individual. and the logical conclusion is an individual can’t know the experiences of themselves except in that slice of time. in fact, i guarantee you will see that play out in this case.
so while at a macro level it is a useful tool to use as a bulwark against appropriation, it has a limited lifespan. perhaps a few hundred more years, but at some point it will be irrelevant, as race relations will have got to the point that Irish/Italian/Polish have.
Two other points:
First, yes, you can culturally assimilate from a ‘more powerful’ group to a ‘more oppressed’ group, regardless of what your prof said. Whether it is bad is based on the positionality (tee-hee:D) of the individuals on both sides.
Second, positionality as a concept would be an excellent way to reinforce the Caste system! Since you are born in a caste, that is your culture and heritage, then of course you can’t move in between them! Why would a Brahmin ever want to be a Vaisya? He doesn’t have the same identity, heritage, or history. (this always pisses people off, since even sociology majors tend to forget that gasp India is also not a monolithic country with a monolithic culture).
She’s now fired and resigned, and it’s time to move on.