On racial discomfort and blogger diversity

Karen VentiiDr. Karen Ventii of the Science to Life blog has decided to stop blogging for the 'Borg. This is not terribly surprising since she recently defended her dissertation and will be moving on to her new career. I wish her all of the best. She's a great writer, as readers of her blog can attest, and I expect she will have a fulfilling future in medical and/or science writing. Her blog will be missed around here, but such is the ephemeral nature of blogging I fear, and of course this gig is something less than a professional one.
Meanwhile, the ScienceBlogs has been signing up white guys just as fast as they can. Good thing this AryanBlogs? joker hasn't updated recently!


I had a post awhile back talking about why overt, obvious and visual diversity was a GoodThing in and of itself. Today I want to talk about why a lack of overt and obvious diversity is a BadThing. It starts with a "crossing the street" story from YHN.
The story has to do with racial discomfort in a way that is often described in shorthand as the tendency for a person walking along a lonely sidewalk to cross the street to the other sidewalk just because they see an individual or two of another apparent ethnic or racial category in their path. The idea being that fear of the 'other', fear of immediate personal attack or insult leads one to conclude that avoiding the 'other' is a good idea. In the US anyway, black men report experiencing people crossing the street and other related signals with some bemusement and, not infrequently, anger.
I avoid certain fast-food restaurants.
Now we all have similar experiences, I have little doubt. The kitchen and service staff of your typical fast food restaurant in the urban US is heavily populated by people of ethnic minority status. Most frequently African-American and Latino-American. And actually, the stats don't really matter for this little story because we are talking about my perceptions and my biases. Also about my direct experiences with specific fast food restaurants and their competition within particular cities (over time-limited intervals, admittedly).
I avoid Chick-fil-a and In-and-Out Burger because of what I have come to realize is a possibly unfair, racially motivated bias. In the few occasions I visited these two chains, I NoticedSomething.
The kitchen and service staff were far, far whiter than one would expect from a normal fast food restaurant in the relevant locations. My impression was "OMG! This place is totally white" so even if there were a couple of nonwhites working, there weren't very many.
So what? I don't tend to have the cross-the-street response or generalized discomfort in other situations in which the people around me are predominantly white, black, asian or what-have-you. So why here? I think because my expectation was for the fast food staff job category to be predominantly black or latino (as it happens for the geographic locations I'm referring to). So I thought to myself "Hmm, if the restaurant management hired all white folk for this place....maybe there's a reason". And I find myself not patronizing such places. Why should I? I'm not obligated to get fast food at all (and shouldn't anyway) and there is little harm to the companies in question should one person just not prefer their goods and services. So if there is some reason to think I might not want to give them my money, big deal.
I'm not proud. I know that it is a nasty bit of bias to assume that the complexion of the kitchen staff was a reflection of any sort of racism on the part of the businesses in question. But it tells me something about appearances and the effect they can have on people. (It does not escape me that the harmony for this refrain is voiced in affirmative action situations.) Violations of expectations can influence decisions. In the case of ScienceBlogs, the decision to visit, read or comment ScienceBlogs blogs instead of other offerings in the vast blogosphere.

WhiteBloggers.jpg

Therein lies the question of the moment. What ARE the expectations of the Sb readership? That Sb bloggers should be predominantly white, male heteronormative USians? In which case, no problem: Expectations met. Ok, I exaggerate, the above figure and the full post/website that is linked make the case mostly for the "white" charge. Admittedly there are a number of pseuds around here but the numbers for which the approximate relative skin reflectance is unknown (to me and other Sb'ers) is vanishingly small. It is unlikely that the addition of the pictures of all the pseudonymous bloggers to the "AryanBlogs?" site would do much to counter the claim.
Or do we have a potential readership that has already been put off by the Unbearable Whiteness of ScienceBlogs?
Before you get to it in the comments, DearReader, I do recommend that you go read this quite excellent post from Stephanie Z at Almost Diamonds (h/t Greg Laden, who has many black friends and relatives).
__
Update: Isis the Scientist has a nice conversation going in the comments to the post she wrote taking me to task for being a patronizing blowhard. Go play.

58 responses so far

  • Irk says:

    A science magazine now and then runs advertising sections for countries. I was looking at the one for Ireland and came away with a weird feeling. I went back and studied the whole thing again, finally identifying the problem. Seeing nothing but white faces makes me nervous.
    I've had that feeling walking into a room where there are very many people and they're all white.
    And I'm white -- blue-eyed blond white.

  • Becca says:

    We'll know society is really getting more enlightened when people wander in their grad-seminars on neurophysiology and are squeaked out by an all-white class. In small-college-town USA.
    I wants my racial/socio-economic role revolution, and I wants it yesterday!

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Thanks for the link, DM, although I think Greg's point was more that he currently has far too many pasty-faced and -brained neighbors.
    Irk, I'm with you. I've lived in the city far too long not to wonder what's wrong when the room goes pale, even if that means it looks more like me. I don't notice it as much at Sb, probably because I don't read everything and I'm dealing with the blogs one at a time. It looks somewhat less collective from the outside, I suspect.

  • I am sorry to see Karen leaving, but I can understand the reason behind Razib's occasional satire on race. It does scratch a problem on representation here. I hope that the Overlords start looking to address this.
    I grew up in a very white part of the country, but I have lived in very brown neighborhoods in other parts of the country and my comfort level with darker people reached an equilibrium very quickly just through daily exposure.
    I think that by adding a more representative sample of science bloggers to the roster, SB would erase the idea that science is only interesting to us white folk.
    While race may be meaningless biologically, it is a strong cultural construct with huge biases that can be corrected for with careful application.
    (If this comment seems like jabberwocky I apologize. I am in a hurry.)

  • I think Greg's point was

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

  • bluefoot says:

    re expectations: I'd like to see more diversity on SciBlogs. The folks doing science (and doing things connected to science) are pretty diverse, why not here?
    Of course, if I want to see more diversity, perhaps I should blog. After all, if I want someone like me to have a voice, I should speak up. Hell, I'd be ecstatic to talk about being non-white and female, and making my way up the science and management chain in industry....but it's pretty damn hard to have those kinds of discussions be constructive in a public forum. I deal with overt and covert racist and sexist crap every f*ing day. I don't want to have to do it online too. In my experience, you can't be non-white and female and have it NOT become an issue because some troll has to bring it into the discussion, even when you're trying to just talk about science.
    Plus, and perhaps this is paranoia, anything I might do or say in a public forum gets partcularly scrutinized because I'm not "one of the boys."
    So I'll pose the question, because I'm honestly curious (and maybe we can get some data behind why there isn't more diversity on SciBlogs): I know why I don't blog. If you're not a white-science-related-guy, why don't you blog? Or if you do blog about science, where do you do it?

  • Alright DM. You've been itching for a real smack down from Dr. Isis. This post may have earned it....

  • Stephanie Z says:

    CPP, is this really the thread for that? While I'm always happy to argue with you, I'd like to see this stay on topic. I'm interested in the answers.

  • jayh says:

    There is a big difference (I believe) between your restaurant example and SB. As you note, because of the neighborhood and other restaurants nearby, there is reason to suspect there is management bias going on.
    I somehow doubt that is the issue at SB, while I feel that more diversity would be a good thing, diversity has to come about naturally (i.e. people interested in science blogging who *happen* to be of assorted background) rather than any planned scheme.
    Sometimes there are cultural effects at work, perhaps many of the 'others' in science have different personal priorities than to sit at computers pontificating.

  • JYB says:

    I'm a minority and I'm happy someone else noticed the creepy In-n-Out thing. The first time I went to one was in Long Beach and that's the first thing I noticed. The only person who wasn't white was sweeping the floor. Couple that with the weird Bible references and let's just say I'm not a frequent visitor.
    As for the lack of color on sblogs...well..I noticed it. But again as a minority I think it's something we're all kind of used to. It's like when I'm watching a network tv show and a minority shows up (in a non-stereotypical role, like an Asian male love interest or a suburban professional Hispanic).

  • PM says:

    It is indeed sad that a black science blogger is leaving, but your analogy to seeing an all-white fast food crew seems a bit of a stretch.
    On the other hand, there is a bias for white people, especially white males, in science. One would imagine that would spread to the science blogging world as well.

  • Becca says:

    Bluefoot- you should blog! I would read your blog for either "those kinds of discussions" or for "just trying to talk about science".
    I can certainly imagine online relatively-safe spaces where there'd be at least less overt/covert racism than many real-life environments. But I don't know how to go about delibrately setting that up, if relatively civil exchanges are what you're looking for.
    On another note. I was listening to sciencemag podcasts on a long drive, and ran across a somewhat related story. For me, it kind of explains where some of the "let's not talk about diversity!" or "I don't see race!" (a la Colbert) attitudes come from.
    For one thing, there isn't a total consensus on what is or is not offensive. For another, navigating those social taboos requires a rather lot of brainpower (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006092518.htm). Maybe this is why so many clever people sound stupid when talking about race.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm more worried about geographic coverage. Neither science nor political attacks on it are limited to the US.
    AFAIK, Dr. Ventii was the only African writer in Sborg. Some others (e.g. Chris Rowan and Greg Laden) have been living there, but that doesn't make them African.
    Another blank spot is Latin America.

  • I think what Brother Drug is getting at is there are superb science bloggers out there who are not white males. These folks, (Urban Scientist, acmegirl/Thesis-With Children, Samia/49 percent, to name a few) might have been considered for the ScienceBorg to provide a voice for the small but growing underrepresented demographics of science and medicine. Moreover - and I know you are out there - we have a great number of readers who are not white males who might want to hear about the sci/med career experience from non-white, non-males.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Abel: Word.
    Lassi: Although I don't know for sure I believe that Dr. Ventii was African-American. Certainly she blogged here while studying at a US institution. Also, while I agree with your observations about the lack of SB geographic diversity, I think these are distinguishable issues with different arguments. It would be a mistake to conflate them or to try to argue relative priority between them in my view.
    Becca @13: Maybe this is why so many clever people sound stupid when talking about race.
    Ouchies!
    PM@#12, jayh@#9: I don't know if it is a stretch or not, which is why I'm askin' my friends. These are a set of experiences in which I got skeeved out and started looking around for the racists. What can I say? It is not a feeling that I get everywhere. Still, it is one of the more tractable situations that I've had that seems to be similar (which is not equal to identical, yo) to the sort of social discomfort described by people of various minority status in some situations. What seems critical to me is when the expectation is violated. This leads to a discussion of what those expectations are for various people and what they should be for all of us.
    JYB@10: um, yikes. that is a fairly distant location from where I was. Is this a known issue with InAndOut? Maybe I should've googled it..

  • Dr. A says:

    Thank you DM, for this post!
    I just commented over at Dr Isis' blog about how, as a person of color, I can't help but notice racial composition anywhere I go.. and I have done this my whole life. From being the only minority in my elementary school, to being gawked at while wheeling my turban-wearing grandfather through security at the airport. So yea, I notice race, and have always been annoyed that many caucasians notice it only when 1) Turban-wearing grandfather, or other such visible minority enters a room, or 2) They are the only white person in a room of non-whites. I can see it all over their faces when they notice.
    I am happy to hear that DM and others are noticing what I have noticed all my life, and what I have definitely observed on Scienceblogs.
    Bluefoot asks why do non-whites not blog as much.. Part of the problem may be that we feel (and it is sometimes the case) that we have to work harder to achieve the same rate of success (or just acceptance) as non-whites. Personally, I use blogging as an outlet but do in fact feel guilty most of the time that I should instead be working. Gotta prove that I deserve to be here and am not just filling a quota and adding a splash of color!!!
    I agree with bluefoot, that it is TIRING to deal with racism, sexism, and in my case homophobia in our everyday lives that blogging about it just seems too onerous. I blog under a pseudonym. Part of the reason is that as a minority, you are often sought out as an "expert" on issues - which is a form of discrimination on it's own. How fucking frustrating when a discussion turns to race and people suddenly turn to you "Dr. A, how should we deal with this?" ARGH. But alas, I cannot keep my mouth shut and mustn't.
    Back to the point - yes Scienceblogs needs to diversify. The benefits of diversity in any environment are enormous, and will benefit not only our personal growth but will allow a more thorough discussion of topics, scientific and beyond.
    You rock the party, DM.

  • yolio says:

    There is non-random relationship between being a non-white male and not wanting to identify your race and gender as a blogger. Any person of color scientist is likely to have extensive experience dealing with being "the only one of their kind" and all the b.s. therein entailed. Many women in male dominated fields have similar extensive experience. Why on earth would you also choose to be a lonely "other" in the one forum where you don't have to: the internets.
    Of course, the reason you would choose to do this is well illustrated by bloggers such as FSP. For the most part, you can't bitch about your "other" experience at work while you are at work. You have to seek out an anonymous forum to do that in. Still, as rare as FSPs in physical science are, there are even fewer black professors, etc. As a POC, it is somewhat harder to feel confident about your ability to maintain anonymity. Even what FSP does takes a certain natural fearlessness coupled with a willingness to sink in the time it takes to do it right.
    Personally, I have always been surprised at how many bloggers are willing to put their pictures up. I would never in a million years put my photo up for the world to see unless I had a very compelling and specific reason. To me, the freedom with which so many white male bloggers post their photo is a manifestation of their privilege.

  • AP says:

    Agreed with some of the statements above. My gender, race, and any indication of my field would make it too damn easy to identify me. Black females in my field could possibly be counted on one hand... Okay, maybe 2 hands. Anonymous blogging would be difficult if not impossible. But sometimes I think I should try it anyway.

  • Becca says:

    "Ouchies!"
    Did you think I was talking about you, DM? *innocent look*
    I thought of parenthetically saying, "including myself, probably", but decided against it, since that would imply (correctly but immodestly) that I was assuming that I was terribly clever in general.
    I'm obligated to play nice here- people are listening now. I saw that comment from poofers on the closed thread (seriously, deleting some comments, but not comments-that-refer-to-those-comments, then closing the thead? Invisi-drama makes me sad!).
    Anyway. Playing nice here! Hi Dad!

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Arriving to this country as an adult and receiving all my education outside the US, I always had a bit different take on race issues in this country. Thus, while I never fully understood White American racism that still permeate every facet of life in the US, I have also experienced some weird, first reactions from African-Americans when I, a white male, did not react to them as they expect from a white American (i.e., I do not cross the street to the other side; I befriend and associate regularly with minorities, etc.). In the medical school where I am an emeritus professor, the African-American studens are always grouped together and separately from white students. Even when their numbers have increased over the years, that type of grouping is continuing.
    The point I am trying to make is that a blogger of a dark complextion may hesitate to join a group composed of mainly white bloggers.
    Stephanie Z, intersting that you're scolding CPP for not staying on topic, since he deleted several comments of mine on the post by DM about PP's blogging anniversary, since he claimed that I did not stay on topic i.e, his anniversary.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    For the record, I am not in agreement with the PP on his Sol comment policy. I have no idea why Sol gets under his skin on this issue.

  • pam says:

    I'm a non-white female scientist but I choose not to blog because I feel blogging is not something I want to do. Commenting, however, is another matter. šŸ™‚

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Becca,
    Thank you for noticing and commenting on it.

  • David Marjanović says:

    I've had that feeling walking into a room where there are very many people and they're all white.

    I sometimes get that feeling when leaving Paris. I've only been living here for around three years now, and I'm gleaming white, green-eyed and red-haired. Before 10 years ago, it was very hard to find anyone even slightly off-white in Austria, where I come from. I conclude what people are used to can change quickly.

  • AP says:

    To post # 21. If being a minority in a mainly white environment was off-putting, we wouldn't bother with Science. I don't think that's the reason. POCs are poorly represented in a the sciences as a whole; it doesn't really surprise me that we are underrepresented in the blogosphere.
    You might see this grouping behaviour among students (at least where there are enough students of one ethnicity to form a group; in my field, this is rarely the case in grad school), but those of us who make it to the tenure track can't really be intimidated by being one of few.

  • I think this comment got lost earlier in the ongoing Sb interface hiccups.
    yolio sez:
    To me, the freedom with which so many white male bloggers post their photo is a manifestation of their privilege.
    This to me is a tremendously insightful and prescient statement on pseudonymity. I shall use this point in the several sessions on pseudonymity, race, and gender in STEM blogging with which I am involved at ScienceOnline'09.

  • razib says:

    On the other hand, there is a bias for white people, especially white males, in science. One would imagine that would spread to the science blogging world as well.
    the representation of whites in scienceblogs.com, and in science blogs in general, is way more than in science as a whole. underrepresentated minorities are obviously underrepresented in science, but asian americans aren't underrepresented. so what gives?
    there are differences in various fields. i have a friend who is brown who switched from neuroscience to cognitive neuroscience at UCLA. all of a sudden it went from being heavily populated with asian americans to it being mostly a white world. if scienceblogs was stacked with more engineering and physical science blogs perhaps there'd be more asian americans. as it is, it is heavy on evolution blogs, and it just never seemed like it to me that asian americans are that well represented in that area vs. in the molecular fields.
    but why aren't they as well represented in evolution as in molecular fields? why so many in engineering and medicine? it ain't just exogenous factors from evil-white-hegemony, i have a friend who is brown whose parents are really pissed that he "wastes" his time blogging. they think he should all his time working and then socializing with women he might be able to marry. the whole blogging thing really pisses them and they're always breathing down his neck about it when they aren't dismissing it.
    i've been blogging for 6 years and i've done some surveys on reader demos. asian americans are over represented, especially brownz. probably cuz i'm brown and i talk about brown things now and then. so skewed readership is in part likely a function of the lack of identification with bloggers, i don't know.
    anyway, i guess it's me, dave ng, ed young & selva in the color contingent? perhaps some of the anonymous aren't pale faces, i don't know. my "back of the envelope" suggests that the most colorful period of scienceblogs was jan of 2006, when it was just me among 12.
    finally, i don't care much, but it would be cool to have some scienceblogger deconstructing racial dynamics and stuff. would be an interesting change from all the rambling about creationism and how evil republicans are.

  • razib says:

    . POCs are poorly represented in a the sciences as a whole
    depends. see these data (data excludes international students, only US citzens and greencard holders).

  • S. Rivlin says:

    AP,
    My point was that, on first impression, I am judged by African-Americans as an American White, although I am from the Meadle East, simply based on the color of my skin. This is exactly as American Whites, on first impression, judge any dark skin person, even if s/he is from Saudi Arabia or Australia, as an African-American.
    Consequently, on first impression, I am immediatly being connected by African-Americans to the enslaving side of the American history, while the dark skin person from Australia, on first impression, is immediatly being connected to the Black history of African-Americans.

  • A bit to the side of the main topic, but my understanding is that In-N-Out pays its workers ridiculously well, significantly better than the unlivable minimum wage, and maybe even gives benefits or something.
    Ergo, it is an attractive place to work for even middle-class teens. And ergo again, its staff trends white.
    It's quite possible that there is also a hiring bias at work, but I wouldn't give up those delightful chocolate milkshakes without closer evaluation of your assumption that the evangelical owners are biased.

  • kiwi says:

    Totally with you Dr A and Abel Pharmboy. Totally. thanks for writing.

  • Dr. Jekyll, you haven't lived until you've dipped the fries into the vanilla milkshake. It is un-freakin-believable!

  • Tsu Dho Nimh says:

    You are assuming that no non-white non-male bloggers were asked. Unless you were on the invitation committee, for all you know they were invited and said, "No thanks, can't handle another obligation."

  • bandicoot says:

    we just can't find any qualified candidates that are willing....close quote.
    Hahahaahaaahaaa!!!!!!!
    That one's older than dirt my friends.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    my understanding is that In-N-Out pays its workers ridiculously well, significantly better than the unlivable minimum wage, and maybe even gives benefits or something.
    Ergo, it is an attractive place to work for even middle-class teens. And ergo again, its staff trends white.
    It's quite possible that there is also a hiring bias at work, but I wouldn't give up those delightful chocolate milkshakes without closer evaluation of your assumption that the evangelical owners are biased.

    According to wikipedia $10 an hour in Cali but the cites seem out of date. but so what? Like the typical fast food employee (with experience, no doubt) isn't applying to a place that pays more for the same job? That's nonsensical. So by your logic, either In-N-Out is abnormally racist and is still choosing the white candidates OR the competition is all racist too and would like to choose the white candidates but can't pay enough to get them. Making In-N-Out still racist but no longer unique.
    and oh, boy, I am trying really hard not to notice that the two restaurant chains I've noticed with distinct pale-ification of the staff also broadcast their religiosity to an unusually overt degree...

  • DrugMonkey says:

    follow the link, llewelly. it isn't "my" set of pics and Mo is featured on the original site...

  • razib says:

    mo is non-white cuz he's got an "ethnic" name, not because he looks colored (having met the dude). speaking as someone who has an "ethnic" name and who does look colored (no label needed).

  • DrugMonkey says:

    and yet apparently you "sure look white" while Mo does not .
    I remain most fascinated by your post with a picture of Jason Kidd, to which several comments (Europeans?) expressed surprise with his African-American heritage.

  • Interrobang says:

    You should avoid Chick-Fil-A in the first place, not necessarily because they trend white, but because the founder of the joint is a political Christian supremacist (a Dominionist) and a major funder of right-wing disinformation. For example, he's involved with funding and running MISH, for instance, the "Medical Institute of Sexual Health," which poses as a research and information clearinghouse promoting "optimal sexual health," but is a front for abstinence-only education, and takes a fairly strong anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-gay, anti-premarital sex, anti-feminist stance. Their stance on "optimal sexual health" is essentially that sex should only happen inside of a heterosexual marriage, and then only for the purposes of reproduction, and none of that fucking if you can't afford children.
    I'm not entirely sure off the top of my head what all else he's into, but my imperfect recall suggests there's lots more. Just don't give the guy any of your money.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    You should avoid Chick-Fil-A in the first place... because the founder of the joint is a political Christian supremacist
    Um, how do you know that I am not a Christian supremacist? Just because I am on Sb?

  • bluefoot says:

    A further comment on my comment above, and on what DM said in the original post re "Violations of expectations can influence decisions."
    Across several project teams and two management teams, in two different companies, I've been the only woman, and often the only minority. BUT I've also seen how having a minority or woman on a team "breaks the ice" so that non-white, non-male people are considered for positions much more readily. AND those non-white, non-male people are more willing to accept a position (whether at a new company, or on a new project team)(or, say, blogging) if they see a non-white, non-male person succeeding there.
    On another note, one of the things that I've experienced is that the higher up the food chain I get, the more resistance there is to me as a minority woman. And there are fewer and fewer of us as you go up the chain, both minorities and women. I have to work harder and harder outside of the scope of my job to be considered legitimate - at my job.
    All this is to say, I agree with DM re violating expectations. The more we can do that, the closer, I hope, we can get to actual meritocracy.
    On the flipside, I couldn't agree more when yolio said "I would never in a million years put my photo up for the world to see unless I had a very compelling and specific reason. To me, the freedom with which so many white male bloggers post their photo is a manifestation of their privilege."

  • Did someone mention "Dominionist"?
    -RPTH

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Bluefoot reminded me of one of the advantages to not working in academia: companies sometimes actually spend money on figuring these things out. I got to hear this guy speak at our company not too long ago. He's Chief Diversity Officer for a consulting firm, and the pdf at that link talks about the problem bluefoot has encountered with increasing resistance toward the top. It also has some great things to say about cross-cultural mentoring. (And one for Becca on generational diversity).
    Also, DM, supremacists of any stripe don't tend to go around hiding. There's a pretty good chance someone would have noticed by now.

  • Merridol says:

    I can testify (anecdotal evidence, of course) that when I was a well-off white suburban teenager, In-n-Out was one of the best-paying jobs available to the me and the other well-off white suburban teenagers. A lot of us definitely applied there, whereas most of us would not apply to McD's. Not only is the pay better, but the food is tastier and unlike the working at, say, the theater or in a coffee shop, it doesn't require you to work (Christian) holidays. Also, because of its popularity as a hang-out spot (a direct relation to the tastiness, IMHO), it was a "cool" place to work, much like the aforementioned theaters and coffee shops. Those days are well behind me, but I heard the same reasoning from my well-off white suburban teenage foster brother about 3 years ago, and I still see teenagers hanging around when I go for a double-double...
    I'm not saying they don't have racist hiring policies, I just wanted to point out that I strongly suspect they're getting a different applicant pool as well.

  • Samia says:

    Others have said it in the comments. It's tiring to talk about race and gender when you have to live an actual life, too. Something happened to me last week that pretty much shattered my trust in one of my mentors, and it was just that much dumber because it was incredibly racist, but not a traditional slur so I know I'm not allowed to cry about it to anyone at school. I will likely blog about my reaction to it and all of that crap, but it's just hard sometimes. Even my classes are pissing me off because all of the numbers we have to memorize are based on studies done on white guys. My cohort of undergrads is largely racist and when I vent to a white guy mentor I get some shit like "Hmm maybe you should ask so-and-so why he said that," which causes a miniature stroke in the GRAHHHH lobe of my tiny brain. Once more it's my job to fix the racist...I can't even get a "Damn, that's fucked up, Samia."
    I'm rethinking my entire fucking life path just now. It'd be nice to see some writing from people who understand a few facets of life the current ScienceBloggers (even the not-pale ones) might not have ever struggled with. Maybe some young'uns, even. Someone mentioned Latino bloggers...GREAT idea.
    One of the reasons I've stopped keeping up with the science blogosphere-or-whatever-the-fuck is because it's pretty damned white, and people's posts on race, however well-intentioned, just exhaust the shit out of me. And right now the rest of it seems a bit irrelevant. I'm atheist. Great. I accept evolution. Great. How fucking much more is there to say about Christians believing dumb shit? I mean really. And the politics...blah. Sometimes there's some science in there, and that makes me feel better.
    The more stuff I do on campus, the more I see how out of touch some people here really are.

  • Azkyroth says:

    We'll know society is really getting more enlightened when people wander in their grad-seminars on neurophysiology and are squeaked out by an all-white class.

    If it helps, I'm already squeaked out by classes with a 2:1 male majority or more. And somewhat by all-male study groups.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Damn, that's fucked up, Samia.
    With respect to those of you talking about being exhausted, not wanting to always have to be "on", always having to fight the fights...Yup.
    And the more issues you qualify for, gender, skin color, who you get bizzy with, religious affiliation, economic / educational background, the suckier it is. I say this as one who has more arenas of suckage than some but far fewer than many.
    I think it is a good idea to pick your battles. Not in the strategic sense but just in the energy level sense. If you don't feel like smacking fools today, let it be. Want to blog but don't ever want to deal with certain areas of shittery, no problem.
    Maybe I'm getting old. I've had my times of constant outrage with dipshits. I've had times of just gritting my teeth and ignoring idiocy. I mostly now pick my battles with no regard for anything other than do I feel like throwing down today. Tomorrow, hell, I might have to smack some fools for not liking the muppets. Life's short.

  • Becca says:

    DM- uhm, we know you're not a Christian Supremacist because PP would have bashed in your balls by now?
    Stephanie Z- what am I, the posterkid for generation.com? Actually the linky was interesting. I have to say, this is one of those few times I've gotta wonder if I need to be hanging out with more kids my age (or a bit younger!).
    Seriously, reading that I see a lot I identify with. But is it just like astrology- you can find yourself in any sufficiently long and general description of personalities?
    Do people actually think it's weird to want to be coached instead of commanded? Or to be close to your parents? Or to continously multitask/simultaneously carry on several conversations with multiple blog-commenters on topics of various relevancy to the original post?
    To perhaps integrate my tangent. Is willingness to appear on YouTube a sign of courage, a manifestiation of priviledge, or mark of idiocy, or just another reflection of a generational gap?
    Samia- Damn, that is some seriously fucked up shit! Uhmm. Don't let the fuckers get you down? I know it's hard.
    Azkyroth- it helps, a little šŸ˜‰

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Becca, I should have mentioned this but forgot. I saw some of you when I read it without knowing how old you were. I figured it was the homeschooling/unschooling that put you closer to the millenials in work style. I also figured it wouldn't hurt to be able to say, "Ha! Think I'm bad? There are more like me on the way. Learn to deal now!"
    As for YouTube, I'll let you know in January, after I'm there. I haven't decided yet myself.

  • becca says:

    Stephanie, I might just use that line- it's almost comforting to think about.
    I gotta say, I am simultaneously amused and wondering if I should be concerned that someone I've never met [IRL] sees me in things they read. Maybe especially when they get it right.
    Oh well. I've spent four years of grad school molding a professional identity that can pass as socially acceptable in academia. If I can't be who I am on the internet, or at least some amazing alter-ego version of who I am, I might explode. (you hear that future advisors/employers? This is a silly but harmless coping mechanism of an otherwise very serious and driven grad student!)

  • NM says:

    Since we're talking about ethnicity...
    Why is it that just about every SB blogger is a USAsian?
    That's a selection issue that eclipses the gender/race disparity.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Why is it that just about every SB blogger is a USAsian?
    First, do you read scienceblogs.de? 30 non-US blogs right there.
    I'm not entirely sure about nationality (versus current location) but I think we have at least two Canuckians, two Aussies and 3-4 Brits. Not sure whether Selva is Indian or Indian-something but the something is not US if I have it right.
    As noted by razib, the nonwhite Sb'ers are few and almost exclusively of Asian origin. (oh and ignore my comments about 'mo' above, I was thinking 'selva'..)
    In contrast the number of out Sb'ers that are 1) African-anything and 2) Latino are now zero.
    Now, in my view, a company like Seed might have legitimate reasons for geographic bias depending on their business model. It is not generally considered to be a huge issue of bigotry and discrimination to think "We better focus on the US market to develop our business". On the other hand it IS generally considered to be a big issue of bigotry and discrimination for a company to think "We should focus on white folks to develop our business". If you are arguing these are the same, this is a false-equivalency argument. That's how I see it, anyway...

  • We've got a metric assload of motherfucking foreigners at SB!

  • [...] real hurdles that exist and you are most of the way over the hump. How to get there? I am on record as a big fan of creating overt, visible diversity by any means necessary. This brings me to the second method- [...]

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