Being white means to engage in a day in, day out struggle to prove that you are smarter than other white people. By the time they reach college, most white people are confronted with the fact that they may not be as smart as they imagined.
In coffee shops, bars, and classes white people will engage in conversations about authors and theorists that go nowhere as both parties start rattling off progressively more obscure people until eventually one side recognizes one and claims a victory. By the time they graduate (or a year or two afterwards), white people realize that they will need an edge to succeed in the cut-throat world of modern white society.
That edge is graduate school.
Though professional graduate schools like law and medicine are desirable, the true ivory tower of academia is most coveted as it imparts true, useless knowledge. The best subjects are English, History, Art History, Film, Gender Studies, <insert nation> Studies, Classics, Philosophy, Political Science, <insert European nation> Literature, and the ultimate: Comp Lit. MFA’s are also acceptable.
Returning to school is an opportunity to join an elite group of people who have a passion for learning that is so great they are willing to forgo low five-figure publishing and media jobs to follow their dreams of academic glory.
Being in graduate school satisfies many white requirements for happiness. They can believe they are helping the world, complain that the government/university doesn’t support them enough, claim they are poor, feel as though are getting smarter, act superior to other people, enjoy perpetual three day weekends, and sleep in every day of the week!
After acquiring a Masters Degree that will not increase their salary or hiring desirability, many white people will move on to a PhD program where they will go after their dream of becoming a professor. However, by their second year they usually wake up with a hangover and realize: “I’m going to spend six years in graduate school to make $35,000 and live in the middle of nowhere?”
After this crisis, a white person will follow one of two paths. The first involves dropping out and moving to New York, San Francisco or their original home town where they can resume the job that they left to attend graduate school.
At this point, they can feel superior to graduate school and say things like “A PhD is a testament to perseverance, not intelligence.” They can also impress their friends at parties by referencing Jacques Lacan or Slavoj Žižek in a conversation about American Idol.
The second path involves becoming a professor, moving to a small town and telling everyone how they are awful and uncultured.
It is important to understand that a graduate degree does not make someone smart, so do not feel intimidated. They may have read more, but in no way does that make them smarter, more competent, or more likable than you. The best thing you can do is to act impressed when a white person talks about critical theorists. This helps them reaffirm that what they learned in graduate school was important and that they are smarter than you. This makes white people easier to deal with when you get promoted ahead of them.
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