February 9th, 2020

Mind the snobs

A person with a doctoral degree will always talk or give time to a fellow PhD colleague, but when one who has lower degree qualification call on him, he would say ‘can we talk later’.

A colleague with a higher position and holding the office will dismiss all things discussed with her office mates just by simply saying ‘what would others know about anything.”

A student wanted to an action research and commented to a physical education friend. “Maybe, I’ll consult some things from the school counsellor.” The friend said: “What would the counsellors know about sports and games?”

Being snobbish is like telling others that you are much better and know more than the others. You seem to know all and you will always reject opinion and your action tends to reject others.

Snobbery is everywhere. The most common are on those who think they are more qualified, more seniors in the work place or even driving better cars compare to motorcycles driven or who don’t speak with the right tone.

One would say educational institutions would be zero snobbery, because everyone is involved in a quest for knowledge and educators and scholars are supposed to make judgments about ideas, not about people. Only people in the institutions will soon hear plenty of stories to the contrary.

In trying to look into the academic snobbery, we can say that everyone when asked had a story to tell. Stories about arrogant head of departments, senior academicians, about snooty students and about individuals who thought they were superior to just about anyone.

Though there are relevant writings about ‘emotional intelligence in the academics’ or ‘bad apples’ in the office, many are not given weight age.

In educational institutions, snobbery comes in multiple forms and the common one would be, connected with a person’s university, field of study or position.

Junior academics may not be treated as real colleagues. At meetings junior academicians may be ignored by leading figures in the department.

The lower paper qualification you have or the lower grade status hierarchy you are holding will see you as no one in the office. This sort of environment breeds snobbery.

Students are taught to respect and learn about value from each other and from what they achieved in school and higher learning institutions, but ‘snobs’ will comment on their attires, feel and taste and also their intellectual skills.

Educators too are found to give belittling comments about their students, and for their comments some students opt to quit their studies.

Junior educators will quit their academic career because they are not been recognised by the senior educators.

Snobbery is not good for academics. If members of the public think academics are inflated with self-importance, they are less likely to support tertiary learning when it comes to funding or academic freedom.

People who act snobbishly often don’t even realise it. They believe they really are superior. They make comments that are inconsiderate without even thinking about it.

It is easy to say: “Just ignore the snobbery. Don’t let it affect you.”

We may need to avoid people who are snobbish, though this isn’t always possible. Making a formal complaint may be seen as over-reacting.

Some might try the reverse snobbery but it doesn’t do anything to stop snobbery more generally.

Directly challenging snobbish comments is a delicate operation. Some said to use humor.

Just because snobbery is such an everyday matter doesn’t mean we should ignore it. It can have quite damaging effects.

For those who care about creating a more inclusive, equal society where people try to help each other to improve, it is worth practicing skills to avoid, counter or deflate snobbery. Changes are also needed in cultures and organizations.