Credentials Vs. Experience

The reading that I connected with the most from our class so far has to be “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb” by Forbes. More specifically I really connected with the part where Forbes was talking about needing proper credentials and the professional training that some people have that others don’t have access to. Even though Forbes may not be an expert some experts who do have the credentials value her perspective because of her experience. I connect with this the most out of all the readings we have done because I remember that during freshman year a girl who lived on my floor tried to talk to me about her opinions on same sex marriage and how she, a political science major, knows about the struggle it was for the LGBTQ+ community to gain the same rights that heterosexual people have and how happy she is that people like me are finally “equal”. I personally felt like she had no idea what it was like for me. She had the right to marry whoever she wanted and that right for her has never been in jeopardy. I felt like she really had no way of knowing what it was like for someone in the community to go through that but she felt like she could completely understand because she’s “learned about what it takes for a law to get passed” and she, “knows that it can be a real struggle sometimes”. I will admit that she knows a lot more about laws and what it takes to get them passed and how long it takes but I felt that she really could not have known what it was like to be someone who that specific law was applying to. I feel like Forbes’ “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb” stated most accurately how I felt about not having the correct credentials but having the experience that outweighs the credentials.

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Does academia = expertise?

For this week’s blog post I’d like to focus of the Forbes reading, “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb?” It detailed an account of a transsexual woman who also is a scientist and an acclaimed academic. In her account, she discussed the hurdles and curiosities presented when speaking of gender. However, the curiosity did not stem from lack of knowledge but rather, acquiring the title of speaking of it at an expert level. Since she was not “professionally” taught on the subject, there’s some speculation on whether or not she’s considered an expert. I chose this reading because I felt that this situation can be universal and portrayed in so many other scenarios. For example, I, as a African-American, consider myself well-read when it comes to my race (part of my identity) however, I’ve got the feeling that I may not comment on the subject due to my lack of academic training on the subject. Perhaps, though, since I’ve grown and lived within the race and am the ultimate ethnographer for my own life, I have the merit to speak on the subject at non-expert but equal level that academics do. I may not use the same language as they do but I’ve been immersed in the culture and race my whole life and I believe that there is essential understanding that’s coupled with that upbringing that need not require an academic training to speak at an expert level. Regarding the reading, I readily believe that Forbes is probably eligible to speak on gender as an academic expert. That being said, it may be more direct to say that she’d be able to identify and elaborate on maybe a cohort of gender and not the theory itself. I’m not sure. However, I ultimately believe that having an academic background is not required for one to speak as an expert on any topic. Learning takes place everywhere, everyday, and even when we don’t realize. Thoughts?