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academia's concept of merit, and especially the way it frowns upon those who it deems meritless, is deeply nauseating, and i don't think we call it out nearly enough

i say this a lot, and i get a few people (mostly those who've never felt what it's like to have academia hold a knife to your throat) who agree with me, but then go right back to coughing up perspectives like

  • people who struggle academically just need help learning study strategies
  • there's only so much we can do to help Those People who don't want to learn. some of them are just a lost cause
  • i'm glad we have weed-out courses. there's some people who just aren't cut out for this school

i might do a Whole Thing about this, 'cause it really drives me up a wall when i see so many toxic perspectives coming from leftists who otherwise are pretty good about calling out systemic violence

and i think there's a lot of people who can't quite make the connection between academia's merit culture and violence, because they've never really been in a situation where they were pressed up against a wall by it

@emi do you have an alternative model you like? A lot of the time my preference for violent systems is abolition but I’m not immediately on board with abolishing academia.

@emi Hmm, though, in thinking about it a second longer, abolishing academia isn’t really the thing to jump to. abolition of the academic concept of merit - of grades and tenure-review-boards and degrees and student ranking systems - there might be something workable there. I wonder if people learn well without those things. I’m sure someone’s studied it at some point.

@gnat for sure merit is the big one. I'd say key things are:

  • Removing degrees as a requirement to get a decent job. Lots of academic fields that could be taught as trades — Animation, CompSci, Design, and plenty more. Studying the theoretical aspects of these fields is really cool, but shouldn't be a requirement to participate in the trade.
  • Removing merit requirements from federal scholarships, and making college free in general. So many students only have access to higher-ed through merit-based scholarships, meaning their whole future can be taken away instantly if they are labeled as meritless.

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@gnat

  • Removing the stigma against people without degrees. This is something I see constantly from leftists and liberals alike. Even on masto, I've seen so many sneering comments and character judgements about people who only have a GED. I hope I don't have to explain why that's bad.
  • Removing internal barriers to access. Lots have been said about this already, but academia is geared towards hearing neurotypical ablebodied allistic white people. Everything down from the language to the assignments creates barriers for people outside of this narrow wedge. As long as this is the case, academia will always be a huge contributor to inequality and injustice.

I could go on, but I don't have the energy to type up a 10 toot thread atm, and these are some of the most significant factors
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@emi meanwhile, politicians here want to be even more punishing to people who fail a few classes in their first year of uni 🙃

@emi (even though the guy whos backing this law took 8 years to obtain his degree. absolute clown show, this country)

@emi that's a whole lot of ableist, classist bullshit, probably coming from neurotypical white rich people?

there's also the "i thought we had this conversation already, were you not listening?" factor, of classist gaslighting and social climbing, where people will just agree with you to make you shut up, instead of understanding anything you're saying.

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