Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Superbright? No Home Ec for You!
I am following Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court with interest. I think it is especially significant that she is reported to be pragmatic and open minded. Partisanship is the lethal logjam in our political system.
However in an article in today’s New York Times, there is an incredibly obnoxious quote from one of her former classmates at Hunter College High School that really got up my nose:
“There was no driver’s ed, there was no home economics, you didn’t learn to type,” said Jennifer Raab, the president of Hunter College, who attended the high school a few years ahead of Ms. Kagan, who graduated in 1977. “You were reading great books, and you were going to college. You were going to lead, you were going to give back.”
So to be a leader as a female you don’t type, you don’t drive and you don’t know how to cook?!?! Because you are too busy reading great books and thinking lofty thoughts? And doing those homey, girly things precluded going to college?
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
This from a college president?!?! Do you actually know any women?!? Oh Jennifer, your vision is so limited.
I have read great books while nursing a baby and cooking dinner at the same time. I have thought great thoughts while typing and driving (not at the same time). I went to college. And nursing school. And graduate school. I have been a leader in the business world and in private life. I have given back in ways that I choose not to talk about, because I believe crowing about them diminishes them. I have raised four human beings who will do much good in this world. Including one who may just be a Supreme Court Justice himself one day. So I don’t have to be, to borrow a phrase from my fellow blogger J.D. (An aside, President Raab’s biography on the Hunter College page states she worked for two of the nation’s most prestigious law firms; my son works for one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, Morgan Lewis. And I am not above being an obnoxious jerk about it either. )
The Times describes Hunter College High School as “a school of ultrabright girls.” Ultrabright and ultradeficient in life skills apparently.
I feel pity for a woman who sneers at other women who choose a different path and utilize different skills then she does. President Raab’s statement reeks of condescension and derision and is alarming coming from an educator. Perhaps it was taken out of context and I am doing an Emily Litella and I will have to end with a smiling “Nevermind.” But somehow I don’t think so.
Elena Kagan may be an outstanding choice for the Supreme Court. I wish her nothing but good things. But I have more respect for the accomplishments of women like me, anonymous single mothers who work multiple jobs while juggling a million responsibilities. Elena Kagan has only had to be responsible for herself for 50 years. Yet it is held out as an example of her single-minded brilliance that she would forget to turn her car off when she got out of it at night. I find that dead scary.
Thank God she never had children.
So Jennifer, I have to say, from a superbright but apparently underachieving woman, your implied values are truly disappointing. I hope yours are not a reflection of Ms. Kagan’s standards.