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Tressie McMillan Cottom

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5+ Works 918 Membros 25 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: Tressie McMillan Cottom

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Obras por Tressie McMillan Cottom

Associated Works

False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton (2016) — Contribuidor — 61 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



It's been fashionable lately to search for the causes of disaffection in the American electorate in the march of computer automation, the willingness of both political parties of embrace free trade at the expense of the factory worker, and the rift between the educated and the grassroots.

A couple of the better books on the subject I've read include "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoire of Family and Culture in Crisis" by J.D. Vance and "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right," by Arlie Russell Hochschild.

America is not beset with a crisis. It is trying to navigate multiple crises in parallel time some of its own doing and others a function of the times we live in.

There are simply too many guns in too many hands. Alcohol and substance abuse rages across rural and urban landscapes. Computer automation does threaten the workplace of millions. Antipathy toward government and common action forces politicians to abandon public institutions, rail against public health insurance, public education, and environmental regulation.

It is with this backdrop -- and the crisis of leadership in Washington -- that I stumble through Tressie McMillan Cottom's study of American for-profit colleges. This is not a pretty picture. It is yet another condemnation of the failure of public policy to help honest and willing people get out of poverty.

When you dig a little deeper on free market economics, even dig a little deeper on state subsidy of post-secondary education, you find the grubs of free enterprise pick through the most vulnerable to line their pockets with money. Big money.

For even more relevant context I refer you some earlier research on the working poor in the United States: "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich; "Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. - How the Working Poor Became Big Business," by Gary Rivlin; and the magisterial and more recent "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," by Matthew Desmond. (American publishers sure do go for long titles. Hoo-wee!!)

These are the poverty industries. And many of these colleges qualify as the education factories to keep poor people poor.

McMillan Cottom shows how those on the lower side of the cultural divide game the college grants system to find working capital for new business projects because working capital is is simply not available for black, Hispanic or just plain poor entrepreneurs.

Then there are the pressure sales tactics to get the poor to buy in to college programs with dicey if not outright worthless credentials.

Most despicable of all is the debt the unwitting college graduates accumulate which dwarfs the wages they are likely to get in the health, legal, or beauty industries they are training for. Talk about rip off.

I read this book as read about Republican plans to dismantle the nascent consumer protection agency against financial planning weasels and my stomach turns upside down. White collar crime is every bit as alive and virulent as it was when Barak Obama took office.

People who honestly believe in this sort of deregulation would have been comfortable in the Reconstruction South. Carpetbaggers they were. Carpetbaggers they will ever be.

Many years ago, when I was leaving high school and had dreams of a career in the theatre, I saw many of my peers enter the theatre earning next to nothing to get a shot at something better. The gullibility of youth wasn't lost on shysters and con-men in the vanity industries. Phoney acting studios, modelling agencies, and talent agencies sprung up in the pre-gentrified neighbourhoods of downtown Toronto. They convinced kids to buy photo shoots, "method acting" classes, screen test sessions, and then promised they would get calls from the casting agents that never came.

Some of these operations became fronts for escort services and prostitution. Many exhibited the same high pressure sales tactics Tressie McMillan Cotton outlines here.

Now as a father I see some of those same pressure tactics turned toward parents. Dance classes for their kids can turn into money pits for parents: tuition, endless costumes, travel for competitions, special advanced classes, new footwear, special trainers, and on and on and on.

Parents of young musicians and swimmers and skaters, young hockey players and lacrosse and soccer and baseball leagues tell me the same stories. The list goes on.

All a parent needs to hear is "I think your daughter has a special talent" and you're one step from re-mortgaging the house for something that often amounts to high end daycare.
… (mais)
MylesKesten | 6 outras críticas | Jan 23, 2024 |
This was a remarkable book. Uncomfortable reading, but important topics. Thank you for writing this.
Greenfrog342 | 17 outras críticas | Jan 22, 2024 |
So good. Searing and smart. A no bullshit insight into racism and it’s manifestations and impact. Really thoughtful and intellectually, well, thick. I couldn’t put it down.
BookyMaven | 17 outras críticas | Dec 6, 2023 |
I'm always in awe of Tressie McMillan Cottom's ability to convey an argument, or sum up a point, with a sentence that makes you feel like you've been hit over the head but in a very profound way. Each of these short essays has something to offer, though as of course is the case with all essay collections the extent to which you'll connect to each one will vary from reader to reader. For me, the hardest essay to read was the one about the death of her newborn daughter thanks to medical incompetence and racism; the most bitterly funny the one about how she wants a Black woman to have the chance to write banal op-eds at a major media outlet. Highly recommended.… (mais)
siriaeve | 17 outras críticas | Sep 1, 2023 |



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