Universities increasingly call upon employees to educate campus community members on diversity, yet the experiences of these educators are rarely addressed. Via scholarly personal narratives, a team of diversity educators at a predominantly White research university shared their experiences facilitating diversity trainings while attempting to maintain self-care, including their processes of (a) navigating resistance through intersectional identities, (b) proving legitimacy as diversity educators, (c) experiencing burnout, and (d) validating and supporting each as other cofacilitators.Yeah, it has to be hard to be a Morale Conditioner, when the Enemies of the People reject the notion that they have committed a thought crime. Now, let's translate: "scholarly personal narratives" means "we compared notes at a coffee house on the nasty frat boys who mocked us, then summarized the discussion using longer words." "Proving legitimacy" is harder now that we find ourselves at Compass Direction State or Rural County Community than it was at, say, Oberlin or Evergreen State or Kenyon. ("I am glad Kenyon students try their best not to offend one another, but it has begun to undermine our education.")
Burnout happens when students will not have their education undermined. But that's not how the Morale Conditioners see it. "[B]urnout is caused by diversity educators’ 'consistent exposure to various microaggressions' from unruly students, [author Ryan] Miller explains, noting that microaggressions have been conceptualized by some scholars 'as forms of assault and torture.'" He continues, "Diversity educators also grappled with feeling 'not qualified' and the constant desire to 'prove their legitimacy to others,' Miller notes, suggesting that senior administrators could counter such sentiments by paying diversity educators higher salaries and giving them more 'recognition.'" Yes, a leather jacket and a small pistol would come in handy, or perhaps some medals.
A statement from Kenyon is germane. "Freedom of expression applies to views and ideas that most members of the college may consider mistaken, dangerous, or even despicable." But being a Morale Conditioner means you can think of your captives as deplorable.
The answer to dangerous ideas, dear reader, is more dangerous ideas.
For one: In two thousand years, did we get these things right?
Are the Morale Conditioners attempting to squelch discussion by calling ideas "problematic," or some invented -ism or -phobia? Are the Morale Conditioners still engaging in privilege-shaming or in thoughtless constructivism? Are they inadequately prepared to handle the difficult questions? If so, they should be fired, not offered pay increases.
Informed unruliness. I like the thought.