Dirty Little Secret? Education credentials, professional expertise, actual authority, best authority, top authority, unique knowledge expertise. Why do I hide this?

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Dirty Little Secret? Education credentials, professional expertise, actual authority,
best authority, top authority, unique knowledge expertise.
Why do I hide this?


Sept 5, 2009

EDUCATION CREDENTIALS - a dirty little secret?

I was thinking yesterday about how I often don't mention professional expertise - and much more, about how I have a tendency to, as the saying goes, hide my light under a bushel. I don't hide what I know - my thoughts and opinions. But I'm often silent about being an authority, let alone a top authority on some stuff.

A leftover from high school, I thought - where athletes could strut their stuff but brains were considered snotty, stuck up, full of themselves and worse.

There's way more. My father. My father, my self. He loved to read and to know. He read the encyclopedia - and no kid's encyclopedia either - the encyclopedia Britannica, dense pages of small text. But he had very little formal education. That finished when he was 12, when he became an apprentice in the middle of World War II and almost starved to death with a master who made him sleep in an outhouse and hardly gave him any food. He vividly remembered the stench and crying from hunger.

I had all I wanted to eat - more actually, as I was a naturally skinny kid, to the horror of my mother. I also got all the education that suited me - all the way up to a PhD - triple disciplinary in the fields of psychology, sociology and literary studies. As delicious as the best meal in the fanciest restaurant. And tailor-made for me - like a home-cooked gourmet meal - from Concordia University, the only university in Canada where you could get something so special.

Okay - so what's the dirty little secret?

It just dawned on me that, for over three years I've been developing this site - where a good chunk is on ideas - and I haven't mentioned my education credentials, my professional expertise, my status as a top authority in areas where I definitely have top authority status.

Instead I've written on how creativity has been of lifelong importance to me - which is very true.

So why am I hiding one side of my life - the educational credentials - under a bushel?

One, I don't believe my ideas have any more value than the ideas of someone without the education credentials, without the fancy phd in sociology, phd in psychology, the doctoral degree. I will never change my opinion on that. Facts are facts, whoever they are from. Good thinking is good thinking, whoever does it.

But still, my top authority status is something I've worked hard to achieve. I know more about the impact on identity development - the impact of becoming involved in a movement with which one identifies - than anyone else I know. Feminist identity development, Muslim identity development, black identity development, disability identity development.

I have information and theories that come from masses of original research.

Part of that research shows not just the good part of identity development - but a common danger, which can be a huge one. The rage of the righteous, of those who have been wronged. Think of the rage unleashed in Rwanda - almost a million dead Tutsis, murdered by Hutus, their rage at historic injustices whipped up by unscrupulous leaders. Think of Muslim rage at the Danish cartoon.

I could have done my research outside academia. The findings would be equally valid. But in fact I did it within academia. So I have education credentials galore, professional expertise, top authority status.

Why not let the world know this? People like to hear things from experts, from authorities. So why not make my credentials public? After all, then what I've found might have a better chance of getting heard. Such important stuff - which includes ways to best defuse the rage.

Maybe the world is wrong and over-values educational credentials, doctoral degrees. But I have the knowledge authority plus the education credentials. And I have important knowledge that should get heard by millions of people - it could make such a difference. And I've been so frustrated at how hard I find it to reach a large number of people.

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Daddy, I say, I'm sorry you didn't have the chances you were so glad I got. And Daddy, I say, I know you were so proud of me, the day I got my PhD, the day I walked across the podium.

I am no smarter than you were. I am luckier. You gave me the stimulation when I was a child: you asked big questions, you wanted to know, you cared about social issues.

So, thank you, Daddy - Papa, in the language of my early childhood.

If you could be proud of my achievements, maybe I can at least acknowledge them openly. It wasn't easy, getting such an unconventional PhD degree. I also had a lot inside me to fight against - as the first person in the whole family to get a doctorate.

But one thing I got from you - tenacity, persistence. Plus enthusiasm, drive.

And those helped me go way further than you got with your innate gifts.

Now I am trying to get my gifts out into the world - and for that I had better use all the ammunition at my disposal - such as education credentials, professional expertise, best authority status, knowledge expertise. Anything and everything.

And I think you would want me to.

Elsa
stirring inner fires
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For knowledge expertise on The Rage of the Righteous, click here.

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Dirty Little Secret? Education credentials, professional expertise, actual authority,
best authority, top authority, unique knowledge expertise. Why do I hide this?

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