Modern Mathematics Confronts Its White, Patriarchal PastNo, that is not evidence of oppression.
Mathematicians want to think their field is a meritocracy, but bias, harassment and exclusion persist ...
Racism, sexism and other forms of systematic oppression are not unique to mathematics, and they certainly are not new, yet many in the field still deny their existence. “One of the biggest challenges is how hard it can be to start a conversation” about the problem, Sawyer says, “because mathematicians are so convinced that math is the purest of all of the sciences.” Yet statistics on the mathematics profession are difficult to ignore. In 2019 a New York Times profile of Edray Herber Goins, a Black mathematics professor at Pomona College, reported that “fewer than 1 percent of doctorates in math are awarded to African-Americans.” A 2020 NSF survey revealed that out of a total of 2,012 doctorates awarded in mathematics and statistics in the U.S. in 2019, only 585 (29.1 percent) were awarded to women. That percentage is slightly lower than in 2010, when 29.4 percent of doctorates in those areas (467 out of 1,590) were awarded to women. (Because these numbers are grouped based on sex rather than gender, that survey did not report how many of those individuals identify as a gender other than male or female.)
It claims to have an example:
Furthermore, he notes that at this time “there was a towering figure in topology”—Robert Lee Moore of the University of Texas at Austin—“who was well-known for saying he did not want Blacks in the field, he did not want Jews in the field, he did not want women in the field.But Moore's Wikipedia article says he had Jewish and female grad students that he supervised and encouraged.
There is also a story about a Black mathematician who got a PhD and did not follow an academic career. But that is true about most White PhDs also.
The second reason for concern is that the nationwide effort to reduce racial disparities, however well-intentioned, has had the unfortunate effect of weakening the connection between merit and scholastic admission. It also has served (sometimes indirectly) to discriminate against certain groups—mainly Asian Americans. The social-justice rhetoric used to justify these diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs is often completely at odds with the reality one observes on campuses. The concept of fighting “white supremacy,” in particular, doesn’t apply to the math field, since American-born scholars of all races now collectively represent a small (and diminishing) minority of the country’s academic STEM specialists.In other words, Math was a meritocracy until it favored non-whites and women under affirmative action demands.
Denial of Evolution Is a Form of White Supremacy ...Not only that, but we are all descended from African apes. A lot of apes have white skin and black hair, so those African apes could have been white skinned.
The global scientific community overwhelmingly accepts that all living humans are of African descent.
I want to unmask the lie that evolution denial is about religion and recognize that at its core, it is a form of white supremacy that perpetuates segregation and violence against Black bodies.This is pretty nutty stuff.
At the heart of white evangelical creationism is the mythology of an unbroken white lineage that stretches back to a light-skinned Adam and Eve. In literal interpretations of the Christian Bible, white skin was created in God’s image. Dark skin has a different, more problematic origin.Maybe Adam and Eve were light skinned, but nobody claims that they were white Europeans.
My hope is that if we make the connection between creationism and racist ideology clearer, we will provide more ammunition to get science into the classroom—and into our culture at large.Do you remember when scientists and science publications just tried to explain how the world works, and did not twist everything to fit some ideological goal?
If you want examples of evolution denial, you could look at the current Journal of the AMA, a top medical journal:
Race and ethnicity are social constructs, without scientific or biological meaning. The indistinct construct of racial and ethnic categories has been increasingly acknowledged, and concerns about use of these terms in medical and health research, education, and practice have been progressively recognized. Accordingly, for content published in medical and science journals, language and terminology must be accurate, clear, and precise and must reflect fairness, equity, and consistency in use and reporting of race and ethnicity. (Note: historically, although inappropriately, race may have been considered a biological construct; thus, older content may characterize race as having biological significance.)The whole theory of Darwinian evolution is that the origin of species is the differential survival of different races. There is no theory without races. Update: Jerry Coyne adds:
As we all know, Scientific American is changing from a popular-science magazine into a social-justice-in-science magazine, having hardly anything the science-hungry reader wants to see any more. I urge you to peruse its website and look for the kind of article that would have inspired me when I was younger: articles about pure science. Now the rag is all about inequities and human diseases. ...Comments:
After reading it, I have two questions: Is mathematics structurally racist? And why has Scientific American changed its mission from publishing decent science pieces to flawed bits of ideology?
The truth is that, in the physical sciences in English-speaking academia today, there is strong bias and discrimination in favour of advancing women and blacks.Coyne points out that the Amer. Math. Society now trains agents to police behavior at conferences. I am curious about what they will report.
And, on a similar theme to this article, this week’s Nature has a woke article: “too many scientists still say Caucasian”, arguing the usual “race is entirely a social construct”.
Race cannot be a social construct so long as you can predict somebody’s “socially constructed” self-identified race with near perfect accuracy using a couple hundred DNA markers.