Academics: Educate and #Resist

Academics: Educate and #Resist February 7, 2017

In the face of fascist antics, we need to play to our strengths in order to resist. For academics, that means bridging the scholarly/popular divide, and doing so intelligently.

Yes, I had my dissertation made into a scarf.
Yes, I had my dissertation made into a scarf.

I follow Dr. Jennifer Gunter on Twitter, and I practically cheered aloud when I saw this piece of hers: Why It’s Your Duty to Share Accurate Health Info on Facebook. In it, she describes the personal experiences that led her to write a book – and subsequently a blog – on her medical specialties, to help bridge the gap. Ironically, the rest of the piece is behind a paywall, but the message is clear: if you’re a health professional, it’s incumbent on you to share your knowledge with the world, in the era of “fake news” and similar BS.

I’ve written about academic blogging as activism, and how my allyship is expressed a lot through writing and education. This is in large part because I know how I handle conflict, and it’s not always emotionally good for me to be in intense face-to-face situations all the time (though I like to think that if I ended up there, I’d make the best of it and hopefully make a difference).

Fellow scholars, educators, and writers, I entreat you to follow Dr. Gunter’s example and do your part to educate your little corner of the internet. Do it once a week, once a month, once a day… I don’t care what the frequency is, but we need subject experts with credentials to weigh in on topics that impact everybody.

This can look like a lot of things. I mean, I drew on my knowledge of sexual health and my experience living in Indiana  to point out that (now Vice-President) Mike Pence helped create a large HIV crisis in Indiana…which few people outside the state know about, apparently. I’ve got a platform here at this blog, so I’m doing what I can.

I gave a talk at an Indianapolis event about how gender isn’t a binary. Now it’s available to view online.  It’s a small thing, but basically I have a PhD in “let’s talk about how gender looks across different cultures and their folklore.” I’m a subject expert here, and it boggles my mind that more people like me aren’t called in as expert witnesses in the various court cases related to bathroom use, gay marriage, and more.

It might take some time and effort, but our voices should be heard. We should be a part of the national (and international) political dialogue. I know it runs counter to the isolationist ivory tower rhetoric, but this shit is important, especially in light of the terrifying anti-intellectualism that’s growing in American dialogue.

Let’s do this. #Resist.

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