Ecologists across the country say academy must root out racism, recognize Black scholar excellence

Source: Michigan News

As recent Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality have framed new perspectives on white privilege and racism, many voices are joining a call for action to end what some are calling the “pervasive and pernicious nature” of anti-Black racism deeply embedded in many institutions and across numerous professions.

This includes many areas of higher education but particularly the life sciences, says Nyeema Harris, University of Michigan assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who joined several colleagues across the country in writing two commentaries in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The scholars challenge the academy to recognize Black scholars of excellence and change the culture in ecology and evolution, in general, and for Black women, specifically.

“Racial disparity manifests for Black scholars across STEM professions. With computational, field, lab and theoretical components of our work, opportunities for discriminatory practices, condescension, mistrust, insults, harassment, microaggressions and bias are vast for Black women, and particularly for those with a youthful appearance,” said Harris, senior author of both papers.

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