Archive for August 2022


To be upfront about it, I’m coming from some 35 years as a college instructor/professor/administrator – not my primary occupation since 1986. There are so many changes I could rant about since my happy years in academia. I still experience feelings of coming home when I’m attending some event on a college campus.

But that’s not my topic today. Now I want to talk about what I would call false advertising – being sold a bill of goods – that a degree is the magic entry into a high-paying career. Yes, there is a correlation between obtaining the degree and financial career success. But the degree itself doesn’t hold the magic key. To put it bluntly, college was the place where people of some means to begin with met others with connections. It was the place of learning intellectual and interpersonal techniques that helped to find and keep appropriate and successful jobs. It was above all a place to meet the right people – to network. It was the place to go for advanced training to become a physician, dentist, lawyer … you name it. It was the place to go if you aspired to be a college professor.

Let me stop right here to point out that it’s extremely difficult today to become a tenured professor. Financial demands have emphasized the use of adjunct faculty, who, like me in my early years, could be hired to teach one or two courses at a fixed price if enough people registered for the course. No health care, or savings for retirement. No guarantee of an option for next semester. A far cry from the financial goals to which one might aspire. [I am forever grateful that I hit the field at the right time. Luck really.]

And the appeal of the college loans was to those of limited means, most of whom were ready to work hard to achieve the degree, often while working another job – to give the “right” answers on the test. At one point I supervised a PhD who took a job teaching a psychology course in an on-line degree program. The teaching was scripted, included a run-through of what should have taken four years to approach mastery, and distributed good grades if students could mark the right box on a multiple-choice test. That degree program is still approved. My supervisee refused to accept the job again. Students can still acquire such a degree, which, as far as I know, still rarely provides the networking and other skills that lead to outstanding financial success.

Or maybe they’ve gained an excellent degree like the PhD adjunct professors to whom I’ve referred above, but they’ve graduated into a world where the jobs don’t exist. All of that would be okay if the cost had not been signing their futures away with huge non-negotiable loans with regular interest payments to be met. It’s like taking out a huge loan to buy a highly desirable piece of property sight unseen that turns out be an unbuildable marsh on the edge of a rising sea.

I sympathize with my friends (and people better known) who feel it is inappropriate to forgive debts to which people have committed themselves. It could encourage future pledges that they don’t intend to keep. I can’t back up my next statement with data, but I’ll bet most of the people set free – or at least partially free – of their debt – would just as soon not go through the stress again and get on with building a life.

To summarize my own point of view, I think people who could least afford it were advertised into taking out a non-negotiable mortgage on a future home without being given an honest visit to it, or even a clear picture of it and its neighborhood. only to find it was a wreck of a house, perhaps never well-constructed in the first place, clearly misrepresented – really a fraudulent sale. And still required to continue to pay on that pile of nothing. And maybe I’m wrong.

Call me a bleeding heart.

But it doesn’t hurt the economy to have that money flowing.


The Supreme Court in overturning Roe v. Wade has validated the legitimacy of gambling. It’s Russsian Roulette not only permitted but required.

The US maternal mortality rate for 2020 was 23.8 deaths per100,000 live births compared with a rate of 20.1 in 2019. What will happen to those data in the future? And who will be the [un]lucky women struck by the bullet.

Feel free to click on the attached site for more detailed and complex information. There’s nothing simple about requiring people to give birth.


Posted August 27, 2022 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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“THE COLOR OF LAW.”   Leave a comment


Definitely needs reading. Definitely not at bedtime.

With a Doctorate in Social Psychology and years of professor-ing, plus a year of shared readings and discussions via a Zoom group during the COVID quarantine, I thought I had constructed a pretty strong cognitive structure of knowledge and understanding about racial matters. But Rothstein’s book has revealed and repaired the cracks in my structure one nail of reinforcing fact at a time. As a person with a pretty hefty load of compassion ability I found it painful reading – not to be read at bedtime.

At about an eighth of the way through the book I looked at the remaining width of the softcover book in my hands and thought, “What more torture/horror can there be?” And there was more – and then more. Now that I’ve finished, the thoughts keep coming. How can humans be so cruel to each other? How can one deal with the fact that inborn appearance condemns one to limited options no matter what one can do or accomplish that would evoke honors in the white world? How frustrating to suffer the physical restraint of red-lining and then be blamed for the results of living in a crowded space.  How would it be to raise a productive and healthy child in a world where he or she is defined from the beginning as inferior? How would it be to have one’s productive and successful neighborhood destroyed to make way for a highway to convenience the people who can live where you are not permitted to live? How could it be that I didn’t notice in graduate school that none of my classmates supported by the GI bill were black?

I’m ranting. But then there were my other thoughts. What have been the strengths of a people so deliberately restrained who could still be loving, joyful, dedicated patriotic contributors to our country? What might I learn from that?

 Finally, I find myself wondering how this knot in the freedom of our special country can be loosened? I find myself thinking how beautiful it would be if all our people could enjoy the kind of responsible opportunities described in “My Father’s House.” If this were fully the land of the free? Remember that simple point from your Intro Psych class? Punishment prevents behavior. Reward encourages it … ?

But this is a book review. What did I think of the book – as if I hadn’t already told you? It’s an important book but I wouldn’t choose it for the first assigned text in an advanced course in racial equity. I’m afraid it would drive some people to resign from the rest of the program. It’s painful.

Now I’ll go look at the other reviews of this book.

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