The president of a local university was doing “listening tours” — having get-togethers with small groups of students, faculty, campus workers. The idea is to get feedback on what the school is doing well, what it could be doing better, get suggestions for improvement, and so on. On one such tour a campus worker, whose son had recently graduated, complained that her boy was not able to find a job. Thinking (possibly) that the alumnus had specialized in art history or some such, the president asked what his major was. “Marketing,” he was told. The president was surprised. “That seems odd,” he started, “there are plenty of opportunities in New York or L.A. or — ” “Oh no!” responded the campus worker, “I don’t want him to move! When would I ever see him?”

The university is in a small town in a rural county in Pennsylvania. The campus support staff is mostly local White folks with families that have been in the area for generations. Moving “out of the area” means more than an hour’s drive away. People complain about the lack of opportunities, by which they mean fewer jobs suited for people who never bothered to study in high school; speaking in an educated manner means “talkin’ smart” and “makin’ people feel ign’rant.” The country is in a “crisis” on the southern border, and Congress needs to “shut up and let the Pres’dent build his wall, dammit!”

I, sadly, feel very little compassion for these people at this point. Sorry.

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Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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