Valuing Invisible Labor and Laborers

This entry is partly inspired by my feminist debates class and our upcoming focus, after spring break, on labor, domestic work and undocumented workers. But it is mainly inspired by a brief aside from a comment that I came across this morning. Responding to another commenter who is challenging the claim, in the original post, that Andrea Smith was being unjustly denied tenure, Dan writes:

Ms. Smith is the smartest person I ever met. That, of course, doesn’t automatically qualify someone for tenure. If it did, then janitorial staff would have total job security.

After reading this comment, I was reminded of a documentary that I started, but have yet to finish, on instant Netflix a few months ago: The Philosopher Kings. Here’s the synopsis:

In search of wisdom found in unlikely places, The Philosopher Kings takes us on a journey through the halls of the most prestigious colleges and universities in America to learn from the staff members who see it all and have been through it all: the custodians. This thought-provoking, feature-length documentary interweaves the untold stories of triumph and tragedy from the members of society who are often disregarded and ignored, and seeks out the kind of wisdom that gets you through the day and the lessons one learns from surviving hard times, lost loves, and shattered dreams.

Here’s the trailer:

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