Andrey (azangru) wrote,

An open letter / editorial Scientists and Racial Justice written in late June and published in the July/August issue of The Scientist.

I only skimmed through it cursorily, but a couple of places caught my attention.

Colorblind racism and implicit bias continue to influence science careers. Colorblind racism argues that non-racial factors such as economics, naturally occurring phenomena, and the cultural attitudes of RSMs are the main cause of their social subordination. Closely aligned to colorblind racism is implicit bias.

This is probably the first time I see the phrase "colorblind racism". At this point, I am not even sure the word "racism" has any meaning anymore. It certainly doesn't mean what most regular folks, I imagine, still might think it means. The editorial doesn't even try to explain why it deems it incorrect to suggest that "non-racial factors ... are the main cause", nor links to a more detailed exploration of the topic; but it does label that proposition with the heavily loaded word "racism", and thus, by implication, by association, immediately attempts to discredit it.

Another sentence from the same paragraph:

If one asks RSM researchers, most will agree from their experience that implicit bias against them has either harmed their career or made it more difficult.

"Most will agree from their experience". I thought it was almost impossible even for a subject himself to be aware of his own implicit biases — that's why they are implicit, and there are various funny techniques designed to tease them out. But the above sentence reads as if certain groups of people have better access to someone's mind than that person himself, and can read the biases lurking in that mind.

As a stylistic remark, the previous paragraph, the one starting with "Helping to stymie this progress", is poor style — I am sure many editors would object to the verb "help" here, and to the chains of negatives cancelling each other out and complicating the meaning.

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