Jabrane Labidi - The black lives matter movement - challenging anti-black racism in academia
BLACK LIVES MATTER - challenging the status quo in academia
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, academics must challenge their bias against our black peers. In this excellent, gut-wrenching piece, here (absolute read), Charles D. Brown II shows that less than 2% of earth science bachelor's degrees in the US went to black students in 2017, the lowest rates among all STEM fields. The statistics do not exist in Europe due to a regressive legislation, but it would be reasonable to assume the numbers are comparable, at best, or probably even less favorable to black folxs in academia.
The geochemical society, through the leadership of Roberta Rudnick, decided to take a stand, which i commend. For the online goldschmidt of 2020, a town hall about racism was organized, and i had the privilege to say a few words about our issues in academia, and specifically in our field. I was joined by three brilliant early career scientists: Emily Cooperdock (USC), James Dottin III (UMd) and Benjamin Keisling (Lamont Doherty - Columbia Univ).
We edited our statements and got them published in elements. Please find them here.
My statement has been slightly cleaned up :) It mentions evidence that police campus harasses and bullies black students, postdocs, and faculty. How do we pretend to be about the BLM movement while allowing police on campus to threaten our black peers?
What was not kept in the final version, are those words, that i share here:
We must also reflect on our ties with the industry. In Earth Sciences specifically, we tend to work with oil and mining companies, perhaps because sometimes they can get us unique samples. In some situations however, those corporations have been shown to loot and cause unrest in the global South. In academia more generally, universities appear eager to accept donations from corporations that may not respect human rights, and/or have a track record showing they actively push for police militarization in the global North. This appears inconsistent with demonstrations of inclusivity. We must create an academic world that is truly welcoming to immigrants from the global South, and to people of color from the global North. I suspect this will require revisiting our ties with imperialistic corporations.
please read and share our work!