First they came for basic biology, and I did not speak out…
Now, professors at Seattle Pacific University are calling for science–that singularly human intellectual pursuit of the study of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation–to be redefined as just a bunch of racism and sexism.
In a paper published in the October issue of Race and Physics Teaching, an academic journal that appears to exist, Professors Rachel Scherr and Amy Robertson claim that physics lessons are unfair to women because “white male privilege pervades the discipline of physics as well as the classrooms in which physics is taught and learned,” Campus Reform reports.
“Male socialized traits,” they wrote, like “independence, competition, and individual victories” gives male students an edge over their female peers in physics, adding that “objectivity and rationality themselves, the foundations of scientific ideology, are also male-socialized traits.”
Men the world over responded by saying they’ll take the compliment.
But the pair of pissy profs didn’t stop there. This whole time science has just been a tool of oppression used by white people, they claim.
“Historically, the questions that science has addressed have disproportionately advantaged White people, motivated by colonial expansion (to improve land and sea travel, mine ores, manufacture and farm for the benefit of Europeans living in Europe and in colonies),” Scherr and Robertson argue.
Glaringly, the paper omits any mention of the fact that people of Asian and Indian backgrounds vastly excel in STEM fields. That’s egg on your face, 19th century British colonialists. Your plan backfired.
The professors then say that because the sciences were built upon “male privilege,” it’s unsurprising that they continue to perpetuate an advantage for men. They claim that physics, in particular, is “laden with masculine [and, we would add, White] connotations on a symbolical level.”
Not satisfied merely claiming the way science is taught is oppressive, the duo descended further into the darkest recesses of the human spirit when they appeared to realize natural laws, like gravity, for example, are actually just agents of the patriarchy.
“For example, conceptualizing Nature as governed by laws can suggest that it is ruled by a lawmaker, who is often implicitly conceptualized as a male authority,” they claim.
To do away with the gender gap and remedy the situation, the professors are calling upon their white male peers to “disrupt privilege” by “recognizing their own privilege, coping with the discomfort of unfair advantage, and coming to see themselves as agents of change who can contribute to the disruption of systems of unfair advantage.”
They further call upon physics professors to redefine science in the name of social justice, stating that “if our aim is, in part, to disrupt White and/or male privilege within physics, we need to open up the space of what counts as physics.”
Forethought, reason, and the entire female cast of Hidden Figures could not be reached for comment.
Feature Image via Pixabay and Creative Commons license