Philosophers from Poverty 2: Suggestions

The post, “Philosophers from Poverty,” is still growing, with a range of interesting, informative, and often moving accounts of the lives of philosophers from poor and lower class backgrounds. As that discussion continues, it may be useful to expand upon suggestions for how, if at all, we might alter our thinking, behavior, practices, policies, and the like, in light of what we’ve learned from it.

The discussion about philosophers from poor backgrounds began here in response to comments about the UPDirectory, by noting that class or proxies for it, such as “First Generation College Student” were not among the categories available. I followed up with the UPDirectory team about this. They considered the question and wrote back:

The UPDirectory focuses on the categories of gender, race, disability and sexual orientation. To allow for expression of greater intersectionalities, however, we have added a write-in for people who meet one of the main self-identification categories to indicate further information such as ‘economic hardship’, ‘first-generation college student’, ‘Muslim’, ‘atheist’, ‘full-time caregiver’, ‘single parent’, and so on.

We are a group of individuals who have worked on a volunteer basis to create a resource that we believe would be useful to the profession. We don’t pretend to represent anyone or the profession at large. We’ve done our best to balance competing considerations, but the result is necessarily imperfect. We welcome efforts by others to create resources that highlight other forms of social disadvantage.

I understand how some people might be disappointed about this, but I would urge commenters to refrain from excessively criticizing this decision and instead focus on offering constructive suggestions.

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