The problem with making it in academia is that you don’t make it unless you play their game. Sadie wrote to me that she has a friend who has to play that game and wondered if we could help, but help in a judo-esque way. That is, what Sadie would like is to have her young friend write a serious, clever essay that respectfully turns the inequality trope on its head (since the young woman does want to get into the program), and that politely exposes the fact that liberal policies create the worst inequality:
I was a baby-sitter/caregiver/extra pair of helping hands/mentor/confident to a little girl many years ago. She’s almost 20 now and at home visiting with her parents for winter break from college. The poor thing applied to Columbia for a summer internship in her field, healthcare. She called me and asked me to help her with an essay idea.
Silly me, I asked the obvious, “about what?”
Chrissie: It has to be about inequality.
Sadie: What inequality?
Chrissie: Any. Local, national, global that is about race, sex, money….
You get the drift… Chrissie got the sigh and Columbia is still Columbia.
The exchange was brief and we’ll pursue it when I see her later on this weekend. In the interim, I tossed out the idea that a child born to a single mother by choice set the stage for a basketful of inequalities. Her silence can be best summed up as a “huh” – she either didn’t get it or doesn’t yet know the world is not flat. If you have any ideas for an essay or would like to ask your readers, I sure would appreciate it.