The interpretation of objectivityThe interpretation of objectivity as neutral does not allow for participation or stances. This uninvolved, uninvested approach implies “a conquering gaze from nowhere” (Haraway 1988). In many ways, claims of… More as neutral does not allow for participation or stances. This uninvolved, uninvested approach implies “a conquering gaze from nowhere” (Haraway 1988). In many ways, claims of objectivity allow one to “represent while escaping representation” (Haraway 1988) and mimics the construction of Whiteness2 in the racialization of marginalizedFor me this space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge. Locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary. It is not a “safe” place. One is always at… More peoples (Battey and Leyva 2016; Guess 2006). Indeed, there is extensive evidence suggesting that STEM cultural norms are traditionally White, masculine, heteronormative and able-bodied (Atchison and Libarkin 2016; Chambers 2017; Eisenhart and Finkel 1998; Johnson 2001; Nespor 1994; Seymour and Hewitt 1997; Traweek 1988). Thus, while purporting to be a neutral application of a generic protocol, science-and STEM more broadly-has a distinct set of cultures that governs legitimate membership and acceptable behaviors. The concept of a meritocracyThe myth of meritocracy is one of the longest lasting & most dangerous falsehoods in American life. Even a surface-level engagement w/ the history of this country will demonstrate how… More is often used to justify who succeeds in STEM cultures. However, far from “leveling the playingThere is nothing more human than play. Humans were designed to learn in play. In fact, nearly all mammals evolved this way.Play’s Power At our learning space, we provide learners fresh… More field”, meritocracies exist in cultural systems that prioritize people who have, or to a lesser extent closely emulate, these traits. Success in science, then, tends to privilegeTo not have conversations because they make you uncomfortable is the definition of privilege. Your comfort is not at the center of this discussion.Brené Brown Power can be understood as… More cultural traits associated with the above identities and often marginalizes scientists who can not or will not perform these identities. This introduces structural inequitiesEquityA commitment to action: the process of redistributing access and opportunity to be fair and just.A way of being: the state of being free of bias, discrimination, and identity-predictable outcomes… More in the pursuit of science that align with social manifestations of racism, colonialism, sexism, homophobia and ableismable·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ nounA system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply… More (Cech and Pham 2017; Wilder 2014).Genealogy | Free Full-Text | Defining the Flow—Using an Intersectional Scientific Methodology to Construct a VanguardSTEM Hyperspace | HTML
I love that paragraph on objectivity and meritocracy. It resonates with my experiences of meritocracy myth objectivity in STEM, big tech, Silicon Valley, open sourceOne model that successfully harnesses the power and commitment of talent and engages that talent in an ongoing way over time is open source. The term “open source” is traditionally… More, and rationalist communities. I bought a copy of Donna Haraway’s “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” to get “a conquering gaze from nowhere” and “represent while escaping representation” in context.
I would insist on the embodied nature of all vision and so reclaim the sensory system that has been used to signify a leap out of the marked body and into a conquering gaze from nowhere. This is the gaze that mythically inscribes all the marked bodies, that makes the un-marked category claim the powerThe 20th Century political scientist Karl Deutsch said, “Power is the ability not to have to learn.”I quote this statement often, because I think it’s one of the most important… More to see and not be seen, to represent while escaping representation.Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective on JSTOR
That requires some unpacking, but really gets to the heart of it. The “power to see and not be seen” comes up in journalism regarding any reporter reporting on their own communityWhat I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/… More. It comes up in autism research regarding autisticAutistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If… More autism researchers and in conversations between autistic parents and parents of autistics.
Haraway’s “marked bodies” reminds me of “spoiled identities” and the maskingMasking is exhausting. Utterly utterly draining. I’ve had people say to me many times over the years “But WHY are you so tired? What have you been doing?” and I’ve… More required to fit into “cultural systems that prioritize people who have, or to a lesser extent closely emulate, these traits.”
With a pathologizedWhen it comes to human neurodiversity, the dominant paradigm in the world today is what I refer to as the pathology paradigm. The long-term well-being and empowerment of Autistics and members of… More status comes the experience of stigma, dehumanization, and marginalization. Stigma refers to the possession of an attribute that marks persons as disgraced or ‘‘discreditable,’’ marking their identity as ‘‘spoiled.’’ Stigmatized persons may attempt to conceal these spoiled aspects of their identity from others, attempting to ‘‘pass’’ as normalNormal was created, not discovered, by flawed, eccentric, self-interested, racist, ableist, homophobic, sexist humans. Normal is a statistical fiction, nothing less. Knowing this is the first step toward reclaiming your… More. Investigation of ‘‘passing’’ and ‘‘concealment’’ has been explored in depth in other stigmatized populations; however, the application of stigma in autism research is a relatively new endeavor. Stigma impacts both on how an individual is viewed and treated by others and how that treatment is internalized and interacts with one’s identity.A Conceptual Analysis of Autistic Masking: Understanding the Narrative of Stigma and the Illusion of Choice
Those “who can not or will not perform these identities” are marginalized, and those who can are exhausted. Those who attempt to advocate for themselves are discredited by the conquering gaze.
Meritocracy is a myth.
Masking for a false meritocracy is exhausting.
The “objectivity as neutral” conceit of the “conquering gaze from nowhere” leads to discrediting marginalized people and, in turn, to some “bloody regressive politics”, as we saw with New Atheism.
From my perspective, though, the deepest of the rifts was the emerging anti-feminist wing and the active neglect of social justice issues.
I realized it’s destination was where it is now: a shambles of alt-right memes and dishonest hucksters mangling science to promote racism, sexism, and bloody regressive politics.The train wreck that was the New Atheism
Further readingThere are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and… More,
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