I don't mean to sound like a broken record. I've made a version of this same point before. But it's worth trying this number out again in a different key, given that this time I suspect fewer folks can get away with pretending like they live in a world in which the events in question didn't happen. I also don't mean to sound eloquent or clever. Occasionally I'll be in a mood to give either of those things a shot. Not today.
I just want to point out two things to my fellow teachers. One: this country just elected a white supremacist, unrepentant perpetrator of sexual assault to the highest elected office in the land. Two: that first thing is a big deal to our students.
Surely I didn't lose you. Nor have I said anything that I should imagine that you disagree with. But I find myself saying it anyway because I spent the better part of my day today listening to the account of students desperately trying to rearticulate their futures to themselves. Hijabis wondering what to do with their veils. Undocumented students wondering what to say to their parents and children, and which of them will still be in their through the next few years. Trans students trying to keep it together after suicides among their friends. Black students wondering why y'all seem to, like clockwork, collectively lose your damn minds at least once a generation. And all that is to say nothing of the non-student campus workers who may have the same questions about their future and their families, yet from an even more economically and socially precarious position.
So, standard caveats to get out ahead of some misreadings (that I expect to receive in the comments anyway, if the cheese post is any indication). I don't mean to imply that every one of your students is facing the dire scenarios I listed before. What I am saying is that, depending on where you teach, at least some of them most certainly are, and carrying on with business as usual may communicate to those students that they are going through all this shit alone. I'm also not saying that we must never again talk about linear algebra or the allegory of the Cave until all is right with the world.
But I'm less interested in how you choose to acknowledge the shit that just happened and more interested in what it means if it didn't occur to you to do so, Gentle Reader. Maybe the paradigmatic student that you imagine in your head, when you decide how to conduct yourself in class and when you decide which worldly events ought penetrate the bubble of your classroom, isn't the sort I've described here. Perhaps Paradigm Student does not wear hijab, doesn't socialize with LGBTQ folks, has their (probably his?) documents in order, feels unaffected by the normalization of sexual violence and isn't likely to easily attract violent police attention. And that by itself is not so bad! It would be a bit weird to have such a weird specific default set of assumptions for your generic conception of what sort of person takes your classes.
But after what happened yesterday, why in God's name are you making your teaching decisions based on Paradigm Student? On paradigm anything?
We all are condemned to making and remaking very meaningful decisions about what and who philosophy is for - on what and who we serve as teachers, as public employees, as seekers of truth (this was not made true by Trump's victory but it's sure as hell been made salient). Those choices will involve what we do - and avoid doing - with our classrooms, knowledge, resources and platforms. Whatever choices you make in these next few days or years, know this: these choices are informed by but not settled by by university protocol, or by the dictates of the grading cycles, the demands of professionalism, or of the (admittedly shitty) academic job market or your departmental politics. These choices are yours. And these choices matter more than whatever smug bullshit you've read in the past year about people's ballot choices. Be prepared to own them.