Enlightenment is a process, and as we’ve learned on a near-daily basis for quite some time, many things are racist.
Thanks to a recent paper published in science journal Nature Communications, more light has now been shed.
Another of society’s racist realms, as it turns out: geology.
On June 22nd, a group of scientists offered “An Actionable Anti-Racism Plan for Geoscience Organizations.”
As indicated by the article, white supremacy is alive and well amid the study of earth and rocks.
In the write-up — headed by Fort Hays State University professor Hendratta Ali and signed by 18 other academics — experts lament the lack of diversity in geology.
It is, they assert, one of the least diverse areas of engineering and science.
And for a sinister reason:
Racism has led to the geosciences becoming one of the least diverse among all science and engineering fields.”
The “R” word isn’t merely present; it thrives:
Racism thrives in geoscience. Geoscience organizations function alongside the same racist ideologies and practices shaping society.
Hence, changes must be made.
Among them: an end to terribly racist, judgmental attitudes.
According to the manifesto, geoscience is rife with “expectations around manners, clothing, hair, professional attire, language, and diction.”
So how’s about a great push for “diversity”?
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, National Association of Scholars’ Sciences Project lead researcher Christopher Sanfilippo doesn’t think a race-oriented employment drive is the answer.
According to him, you don’t get the best results that way:
“Its spread will cripple America’s capacity to recruit the best scientists. Instead of the bold thinkers good science requires, we will have ideologues and careerist time-servers. Worse, it will drive away foreign students and professors, who will have no interest in coming to an America crippled by requirements to swear allegiance to untruth. Concerns about diversity often seem to eclipse concerns about the actual science itself… The standards, for now, are still largely meritocratic. But the rationale that underlies a meritocratic system is being chipped away at by critical theory.”
Meritocracy’s certainly losing favor in academia and industry.
Case in point from just this week:
College Schools Students and Staff on Microaggressions' 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' and the 'Myth of Meritocracy'https://t.co/nI4oGL1t54
— Alex Parker (@alexparker1984) July 10, 2021
Back to geology, there’s a heavy reason more black people aren’t entering into such an exhilarating field.
The Nature Communications piece hammers it home.
It has to do with…hammers.
They’re used to burst rocks, and they weigh roughly 16 ounces.
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of things:
As the geosciences strive to be more accessible, the community must recognize that BIPOC and other marginalized geoscientists are not always safe in geoscience spaces. Holding objects (e.g., a rock hammer) has been viewed as “suspicious” and, continues to be, used as a reason to call the police on Black people, which can lead to the death of Black individuals, entirely because of racial profiling and an unjustified fear of Black people.
Now that’s a problem.
How do we change it, when hammers are a necessity?
The mystery remains, but hopefully, we’ll figure it out.
We’ve definitely got a lot to figure out.
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