This year in review, originally posted July 24, 2015
Some people can ONLY see labels, rather than individuals. Take MIT Postdoctoral Fellow Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, who recently has been on an angry tirade any number of issues from racism and white power to the Founding Fathers and SCOTUS according to CampusReform.
In the Huffington Post feature, Prescod-Weinstein complained that the discussion of women in astronomy does black women a disservice by not looking at astronomy statistics by race.
“For decades, this discussion about women in astronomy has centered essentially on white women,” Weinstein said. “They don’t say white women, but when the statistics are trotted out, they don’t disaggregate for race.”
No, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein, you are the one doing a disservice. Why does the “discussion of women in astronomy” have to be broken down by race? Are you suggesting that black women are discriminated against or are being held back from that field of study? Isn’t is a possibility that maybe they simply aren’t interested in pursuing that field of study?
But wait… if there aren’t statistics on the racial breakdown of the number of women in astronomy, doesn’t that mean there is a possibility that there are more black women than white? Or maybe the ratio of black to white is higher than the general population? I mean, if there’s no “disaggregation” to verify the information, how do you know that isn’t the case?
Perpetuating misinformation without actual facts is harmful and only serves to further discrimination rather than address it. It isn’t honest to say people are doing “black women a disservice” by simply discussing “women” in astronomy. How do you KNOW they were only talking about white women? Maybe you’re the racist making that assumption, when in actuality, it was simply a gender comparison that had nothing to do with race or ethnicity. You know… it doesn’t always have to be about race.
Always having to compartmentalize everyone according to labels does all of us a disservice. And until people like Dr. Prescod-Weinstein stop trying to pigeon-hole each of us into some neatly labeled compartment, the petty grievances and name-calling will continue.
Stop dividing us into categories and focus on unifying our commonalities. There are bigger issues to address. Take, for instance, “hate.” Solving that problem would address all of the things you take issue with in one fell swoop, without having to “disaggregate” the type of hate. How do we get that started? Education, compassion, tolerance. Teach it. Talk it. Spread it. It’ll go a lot further to solving problems than hateful tirades against various groups of individuals.
Photo credit Steven Depolo