Robert W. Fuller Ph.D.

Robert W. Fuller, Ph.D., former president of Oberlin College, writes about rankism and its antidote: dignity. His books and ideas have been covered in the media, including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine Magazine, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, The Boston Globe, the BBC and Voice of America. He has spoken on this subject all over the United States and Canada, and also in France, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Bangladesh. His books have been translated into Korean, Bangla, and Chinese. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. Fuller's most recent books are Religion and Science: A Beautiful Friendship? and The Rowan Tree: A Novel.

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Somebodies and Nobodies

Rankism is the exploitation or humiliation of those with less power or lower status. Rankism occurs when somebodies use their power to take advantage of those they see as nobodies. As the cause of indignity, rankism is no more defensible than the familiar indignities of racism, sexism, etc. Eliminating rankism doesn’t mean eliminating rank any more than getting rid of racism means getting rid of race. Rank can be a useful tool that helps us achieve group goals. It is the abuse of rank that does the damage and calls for attention.

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