Writing Good 4 Woke Capitalists
A reader sends in the following e-mail, which I’ve edited slightly to protect his/her identity:
I’m a frequent reader of your blog. Your posts, especially about wokeness in America, have been especially helpful to me in navigating the current political climate over the past several years. I felt affected by it, but only today do I realize just how directly affected I am, or will be, in the next several years.I am an undergraduate student at [large public university]. I am taking a course this semester on technical editing, and have learned, along with the rest of the class, that our professor is “committed to anti-racism.”upon opening it up, was greeted by the professor’s statement that she is ‘committed to anti-racism’ and that if we wanted to know more about how this would affect our course, we could look further in our online course description.
Obviously, I don’t agree with one sentence of it. It’s posturing, plain and simple. Both my academics and the jobs I have worked in the past (I have been, for many semesters, an academic tutor of English Writing) have proven to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the issue with English writing and reading has nothing to do with ‘whiteness’ and everything to do with a slow and crushing de-emphasization of humanities studies by our public school system for the last 20+ years. The notion that there is anything ‘white’ or ‘racist’ about grammar standards is particularly ludicrous, but beyond that, look to the course title. This isn’t a class in ‘Woke Creative Writing’ but a course in technical writing and editing. As in, you know, editing, for business. For professionals. For companies and corporations. Or at least, that is what it should be, what I expected it to be. But no, this professor has bravely taken it upon herself to reformat our course into a months-long lecture on anti-racism, and I can only pray I can manage to half-heartedly scrape by without drawing attention to myself. This is the world we live in now.
Can you tell a pronoun from a participle; use commas correctly in long sentences; describe the difference between its and it’s?
If not, you have plenty of company in the world of job seekers. Despite stubbornly high unemployment, many employers complain that they can’t find qualified candidates.
Often, the mismatch results from applicants’ inadequate communication skills. In survey after survey, employers are complaining about job candidates’ inability to speak and to write clearly.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were a net 204,000 new jobs created in October, though the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent. The numbers easily topped economist expectations of 120,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs for the month.
Experts differ on why job candidates can’t communicate effectively. Bram Lowsky, an executive vice president of Right Management, the workforce management arm of Manpower, blames technology.
“With Gen X and Gen Y, because everything is shorthand and text, the ability to communicate effectively is challenged,” he said. “You see it in the business world, whether with existing employees or job candidates looking for work.”
Others say colleges aren’t doing a good job. In a survey of 318 employers published earlier this year by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and conducted by Hart Research Associates, 80 percent said colleges should focus more on written and oral communication.
William Ellet, an adjunct professor teaching writing at Brandeis International Business School, says the problem starts earlier. He points out that when the Department of Education in 2012 published what it called “The Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011,” just 24 percent of eighth and 12th graders were proficient in writing. From colleges on down, he said, “nobody takes responsibility for writing instruction.”