A few days ago a soror shared a clip of The Red Table Talk and mentioned that it reminded her of me. In the clip, Raven the Science Maven shared her experience with discrimination
Her account of the situation was definitely triggering. It’s sad to hear what happened to her. Raven is right and I’m excited about the work that she is doing to transform the public perception of science identity by making black women in STEM a visible identity. One of the troubling things about this story is the attitude that Raven describes in the white woman who confronted her. This is a woman who is in some sort of teaching position who is likely teaching students as some level some sort of science courses. For her to not believe that Raven could be science faculty is disheartening because how is this lady advising and mentoring women of color who crosses her path…
I can say that I have taught at HBCUs across my tenure as science faculty, so I haven’t exactly experienced the same kind of discrimination as Raven. However, I have ran into situations where the other faculty and staff treat me as if I am one of the students. The discrimination that I have faced has largely been age and gender specific. It’s been situations where older faculty dismiss my ideas and overlook me for certain opportunities because I haven’t “proven myself” in their eyes — despite having my graduate degrees. It’s times when male faculty/staff/administrators will say some off the cuff comment that is extremely sexist and/or sexual in nature that’s just disgusting and completely inappropriate.
So I’m thankful for the work that Raven is doing to make us – Black Women – more visible in STEM. She is making space. I’m thankful for the faculty positions that I have held which have allowed me make space for Black Women in STEM coming up behind me. It has allowed me to help them to see that they do belong in STEM. There is space for us all in STEM. And a Scientist looks like the person that you see in the mirror.