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American Grant Writing: Race Matters 464

PHPNerd writes "You might expect that science, particularly American science, would be color-blind. Though fewer people from some of the country's ethnic minorities are scientists than the proportions of those minorities in the population suggest should be the case, once someone has got bench space in a laboratory, he might reasonably expect to be treated on merit and nothing else. Unfortunately, a study just published in Science suggests that is not true. The study looked at the pattern of research grants awarded by the NIH and found that race matters a lot. Moreover, Asian and Hispanic scientists do just as well as white ones. Black scientists, however, fare badly."
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American Grant Writing: Race Matters

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The word 'race' has racist connotations and as a scientific concept is obsolete, 'ethnic group' should be used instead.

  • by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @12:55PM (#37144314)

    TFA says that they assume the peers are assuming race from "black sounding" names or historically black universities.

    Why would any of these factor in during the peer review process? I would certainly hope that scientists understand what "double-blind" means & apply it to the review process. It doesn't matter what the person's name is or what university they went to or work at now. All that SHOULD matter is the quality of the science that is presented, therefore that is all that should be on the report that is peer-reviewed.

    • by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:02PM (#37144414) Homepage Journal

      My understanding, from the various articles read, is that the only thing removed from the grant proposal is the person's explicitly-given ethnicity and gender. The name, institute, and all the other information on the individual, is left in.

      For those not familiar with NIH grants, I believe Cayuse has an online demo package for collecting the data needed and turning it into a grant proposal. There is a LOT of information on there, and therefore all kinds of things that may be being used to unfairly discriminate. Yes, it should be completely on the science (well, that and the realistic ability of the person to perform it). In practice, the current methodology is a bit of a disaster.

      • It wouldn't matter if they removed the name of the person and their professional information (institutes, etc.) because RO1s must build off one's previous work to be strong. So, it will be easy to figure out who the author is from the reviewer's POV based on the background info for the proposal. These proposals don't manifest themselves in a vacuum.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Larryish ( 1215510 )

        Even if ethnicity is removed, name can indicate ethnicity.

        Example: David Johnson
                                      Jerome Abdullah
                                      Kim Wilfong

        David? Probably white.
        Jerome? Probably black.
        Kim? Possibly Asian.

    • by welcher ( 850511 )
      It shouldn't matter what the name is, but who the person is and where they intend to do the work (i.e., what university they are at) are very important as the person needs to prove that they can achieve what they propose. So the reviewers can't be blinded from these facts. In this respect, a grant is nothing like a peer-reviewed article.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:08PM (#37144514) Homepage Journal

      Maybe the studies looked at where not as good? Black sounding names? Here is a list of real people I went to school with.
      Caroline Thornton.
      Phyllis Green
      Steve Davidson
      David Meyers
      Lisa Kraft
      Mike Paterson
      Tim Smith

      So tell me which ones if any are African american?
      Maybe in this sample they projects where less interesting than the others?
      If this is a real worry then take the names and university off the grant apps for a while and see what happens.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:09PM (#37144532)

      You are under the assumption that grant givers are part of the Peer Review process... They are not... The people who are allowed to give these grants are under huge amount of political pressure, and can get fired for doing the right thing. So say University A is on the East Coast and University B is on the West Cost and there was a Grant for studying earthquakes. NSF will most likely give the grant to University B even if University A had the better plan and University B had a complete crap request. Because if the University B had found out A got it. They will go to their congressman and goes up and people in the NSF will need to debate and have a bunch of political rambling. So it would be easier to fire the guy who did the right thing.

      Chances are someone with a White Sounding name a Todd vs. Tyrone will get a grant because chances are better that a Todd will have more political connections then a Tyrone will.

      Scientific community isn't immune to corruption. You need to face that fact, when humans are involved self interest will kick in, and cloud the truth.

    • My experience is more with Department of Energy grants, so I don't know how much of this applies to NIH grants, but in grants I have dealt with a lot of time is spent basically promoting the expertise of the PI and how that person's expertise would allow them to successfully perform the research proposed in the grant proposal.

      If you intend to strip out all identifying information then a large part of the introductory sections are can no longer be confirmed by the peer reviewers by means of checking the PI'

    • Anyway, grants are reviewed by people in the same field as the applicant. When you are asked to review grants, you are normally at that stage in your career when you know most of the people in your field and can easily guess from whom the grant is coming.
    • My guess is it started back in the old days, when there weren't as many people doing science, and it was helpful to know who might be worth giving a grant to. Professor Einstein or Feynman would be more likely to do good work than some random guy, for example, even if they don't know how to write (ok, Feynman knew how to write). Grant writing is a different skill than actually being able to do science, you shouldn't punish people for not knowing how to write grants.

      I suspect that might be part of the reas
    • I'm guessing the justification would be something along the lines of "If we know who is applying, we'll know if they've done good work in the past or not, we'll know if they have a good track record." Which does play into it, you know some lab is very good at writing grants and sounding good on paper, but then doesn't do as much with the money when they get it as you'd like. The big downside is that rather than merit of the project being proposed, funding is based more on politics and, evidently, race fac
    • Shouldn't they be able to look at the data to see if there is relationship between "black sounding" names or historically black universities and getting grants. There is no need to assume.

  • Affirmative Action (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @12:57PM (#37144342)

    It could simply be Affirmative Action catching up with a population. These sorts of studies always attempt to correct for "achievement" somehow, but two PhDs from Harvard may not be equally talented if one were to receive the position through some sort of AA. Sometimes things like this simply aren't measure

    • by SpeZek ( 970136 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:05PM (#37144468) Journal
      Affirmative Action doesn't hand the student a degree, it just gets them in the school. Just because someone was born into a shitty situation doesn't mean they shouldn't get the same opportunities as the upper class who never have to worry about discrimination.
      • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:15PM (#37144654)

        Affirmative Action doesn't hand the student a degree, it just gets them in the school.

        I often found that the hardest part is getting in. I applied to a top tier school early admission and was deferred to regular admission. Then I was waitlisted, and finally I was accepted. Once there, I found some kids who were accepted to early admission were borderline retarded, compulsive liars, and habitual slackers. Some of these kids didn't do too hot, but others joined frats and had a nice support network to help them through college (not to mention a steady supply of Adderall).

        For a while it really irked me that these kids were picked before me, when I felt I was more qualified, but I eventually got over it when they dropped out of my program.

        • by SpeZek ( 970136 )

          Well, sure. But there's also a significant number of the wealthy who essentially pay their way through school, whether directly via corruption/contributions or indirectly through being able to afford things like super-expensive tutors to learn for them. They have the advantage. Programs like AA certainly aren't perfect, but they're better than just letting class decide who gets a chance. Maybe you are more qualified, but is that because you're a better person, or because you had the opportunities to become

          • Programs like AA certainly aren't perfect,

            Might wanna rethink the use of that acronym. I mean, I figured out what you meant, but that isn't how 'AA' is usually used.

          • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:03PM (#37145586)

            There are certainly opportunities available for disadvantaged kids. Along with 40 other students I spent 4 years of my undergrad tutoring inner city kids and helping them with science fair projects. I attribute 90% of my success in college to what I learned in science fair. The past couple weeks I worked in a program which gives about 100 inner city kids the opportunity to learn math, science, and robotics over the summer. They don't have to pay a dime for this. Sure it's not going to accommodate everyone, but there is an interview process to make sure only kids who are really interested get in.

            There are opportunities out there for these kids if they really want them. I've met some seriously disadvantaged kids in my work, and they are some of the brightest most motivated kids I know, regardless of economic background. These kids aren't going to need affirmative action when they get to college, and are going to be way more qualified than some other applicants.

            My general stance is that college is way too late to try to level the playing field. It should be done earlier, through the kinds of programs I've volunteered for in the past. That's where you really make a difference. No need for AA because you'll be building kids who don't need a handicap to compete.

        • For a while it really irked me that these kids were picked before me, when I felt I was more qualified, but I eventually got over it when they dropped out of my program.

          It irks me that borderline-retarded compulsive liars are taking valuable spaces in a school from people who are probably smarter and more hardworking than them. What the US system of higher education admissions currently says, more or less, is that how rich your parents are matters at least as much as how capable you are, and that's not the way things ought to work in a society that's not supposed to have a hereditary aristocracy. Among other things, it would be quite possible in this situation to end up wi

          • In my experience these people usually end up in the business school after failing out of whatever department they were accepted to. I should know I got a second degree in business and had to spend every day with these people. These same people also went to go work for Goldman Sachs, and other big Wall Street firms. It really enlightened me as to why the financial sector is so fucked up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Riceballsan ( 816702 )
        There are still other flaws, things that can be dangerous to the students within schools, If there are only 2 black students, and 15 white students in a class, both black students are doing terrible, The teacher may be afraid to fail them due to the risk of frivolous lawsuits or accusations of racism that can damn a career whether they succeed or fail. The fact is they can't prove or disprove anything of racism, the only fair way to test would be to have a white person and a black person submit identical pa
      • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:52PM (#37145378)

        One of the problems with affirmative action "getting them into the school" is that it can get them into schools that are above their intellectual level or competitive beyond what they're prepared for.

        This is not any statement about any particular group's intelligence. This is about INDIVIDUAL intelligence. For instance, I (a white person) may not be cut out for Harvard Law School. Perhaps I should go to Cincinnati instead, because I'm more likely to succeed. (Cincinnati is a good law school, BTW.) If I went to Harvard, I'd probably break under the pressure and drop out, and a career councelor would do well to raise this issue to me. Now, let's consider a black person of intelligence equal to mine. If affirmative action helped them inappropriately get into Hardvard Law, then affirmative action has just DECREASED their chances of success!

        That would be bad. Bad for that person, bad for our culture's progress towards equal rights, bad for our culture's perception of minorities and their capabilities, etc. (Being a minority doesn't make one more likely to be less intelligent, and unfortunately, some bigots need to have that fact reinforced regularly.) What we want is to give everyone an equal opportunity to SUCCEED, and to a certain extent, that involves placing them in the school where they are challenged appropriately, will learn best, and are most likely to succeed, IF THEY WORK HARD.

        People are gifted with whatever intelligence they were born with, also affected by upbringing and primary education. This is not a basis on which to JUDGE people in terms of their human value so much as an attribute that varies from one person to another and which affects what they are capable of conceiving of intellectually. On the other hand, WORK ETHIC, is something that everyone should learn, and if you don't learn it, you are more likely to fail, and that is your fault if you do. If you are willing to WORK, then there is SOME job out there that you can do well at and succeed in. Our objective should be appropriate placement. Now, if someone decides that they want to go to a school that is above or below our recommendation, that is their choice. Our recommendation can be wrong, because we can incorrectly evaluate people. But that is a different matter.

        The fact is, most people, regardless of race or any other attribute, would not do well in Harvard Law School.

        More likely than an intelligence issue, the reason many people of lower socio-economic classes may fail at a place like Harvard is that they simply have not learned the sort of competitiveness and intellectual strategies that more affluent people perhaps tend to be exposed to in early life. (Of course, you also get your share of rich brats who are equally ignorant.) This is an issue of preparation, not smarts. Someone from a rich family in Boston may need an IQ of 115 to get through Harvard Law, in part because their parents are lawyers who have prepared their children for all the gotchas that happen in law school. Someone from the back waters of Appalacia may need an IQ of 125 to get through Harvard Law, simply because they have to do a whole hell of a lot more learning and adapting on the fly while they are there. Inner-city blacks are in the same boat as the back-water Appalacians. However, if the undereducated go to Cincinnati instead, they will succeed, and moreover, they will be able to impart to their children (who inherit the same genes, so it's not a racial issue) the knowledge necessary to succeed at Harvard.

        Also, I need to make the obligatory comments about race. Race, as we perceive it, is based mostly on superficial factors like skin color. Africans, South Indians, etc. are brown because there's more sun in the place they're adapted to. Europeans are pink because there's less sun. You can do your own research on the relationship between UV, vitamin D, skin cancer, birth defects, etc. However, humans haven't been out of Africa long enough to evolve any really significant differences. At most, there's

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Larryish ( 1215510 )

        I was born into a shitty situation, and I am a caucasian male.

        Where is my ticket to Harvard?

  • by Confused ( 34234 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @12:59PM (#37144374) Homepage

    The original blurb:

    Black scientists, however, fair badly.

    It might not be fair how blacks fare, but I'm certain, they're not getting faired []

  • by arth1 ( 260657 )

    Those who "fair badly"[sic] should perhaps clean up their language? That might bring more grants.

    • Those who "fair badly"[sic] should perhaps clean up their language? That might bring more grants.

      Not if their research is based on the quality of fair events.

  • Not convinced. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherIdiot ( 1980292 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:03PM (#37144424)

    Their results show that the chance of a black scientist receiving a grant was 17%. For Asians, Hispanics and whites the number was between 26% and 29%.

    For all we know, this statistic is just due to random chance.
    As much as everyone loves to play the race card, you can not deny this IS a possibility.
    I'm also not denying that it's a possibility that it is indeed the truth, though. -shrug-

    • Re:Not convinced. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:09PM (#37144526) Homepage Journal

      Even if the sample sizes were large enough that the margin of error is small, it doesn't tell us what the cause is. That could be anything from a fallout from affirmative action to language skill development in the formative years, differentiation in fields of study, or a bunch of other factors that don't necessarily have much to do with skin colour or ethnicity.

      • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

        Or that black professors choose to work at more teaching-focused schools with weaker research programs.

    • I'm willing to assume a difference of 9-12% is well more than one standard deviation, myself....and I'm damn near the last guy who wants to "play the race card", if that's what you'd like to call it.
    • If you read TFA article, you will see that the p-value's are given as less than .001. That means there is a .1% chance of getting results this extreme if grants are given on a race-neutral basis, assuming their model is otherwise correct. It seems unlikely this statistic is due to random chance. I have an alternate explanation for the data. Affirmative action means that degrees from and jobs at prestigious universities will overstate the aptitude of minorities, so these variables are not sufficient for
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Affirmative action could get a student admitted, but will not get them a diploma. How about we try a little more rational thinking and a little less of that kind of approach.

    • One way that one can be biased is to question studies showing that discrimination might be a significant factor while not questioning those that show that discrimination could not be blamed for a negative outcome. Are you sure you're not displaying this kind of bias?

      • by Mr 44 ( 180750 )

        One way that one can be biased is to not question studies showing that discrimination might be a significant factor while questioning those that show that discrimination could not be blamed for a negative outcome. Are you sure you're not displaying this kind of bias?

    • I don't normally flame, but this is beyond ignorant. Shrugging off bias and denying money to equally qualified applicants based on information not relevant to the quality of the research (as explained in TFA) is just plain wrong. I'm stunned that the process isn't blind--it is for much of the research in my field. Sacrificing good research for non-scientific reasons like "Hey, I like that school!" will only hurt us all. I don't honestly care if the cure for cancer comes from Harvard
  • A fine, though debatable point: the study in Science does not suggest that grant applications are not treated on merit. In fact, racial identity is not known by the grant reviewers on study section. Further, the article mentioned that previous studies at top schools did not show this bias. One possibility (which I do not necessarily advocate) that was not discussed by the article, is that their 'controls' for institutional quality, quality of educational institutions attended, etc., are not ideal for use as
  • Why are there names at all on grant applications? Shouldn't the quality of the thing be able to stand up by itself?
    • Why are there names at all on grant applications? Shouldn't the quality of the thing be able to stand up by itself?

      Because past work of the investigator is part of what is factored into the strength of the application, the thinking being that someone who has successfully conducted research projects in the past and produced solid results is more likely to be successful than someone who has no track record.

      I don't know how they review grants at NIH, but I know that for some other institutions there are several groups of reviewers. One is more of an administrative group, which rates the strength of the applicants based on

  • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:09PM (#37144542)

    I wonder what the results would be if they controlled for people who benefitted from affirmative action policies that let them into schools with lower grades and test scores.

    They've already noted this with law degrees: []

    It seems plausible to posit that regardless of ethnic or racial background, people who are held to lower standards might not fare so well in real life competition.

  • Doesn't focusing on differences (like this study) just perpetuate racism?

    Who pays for such a "study" anyways?
  • Very Old News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:11PM (#37144568)
    Massive discrimination, in grant reviewing and in every other area, is as old as science itself.

    I read about a study in which the authors took the exact same papers under the exact same completely fictional student names and submitted them in massive round-robin cycles to all the applicable journals. Sometimes, they put Harvard, UNC, or Vanderbilt down as the university source and sometimes WSU, East Carolina, or Buttfucksville University of the Holy Trinity.

    I'll let you just imagine how acceptance rates came out.

    All science funding and publishing is bullshit. Black scientists may get extra fucked over, but no one is treated fairly outside of the Ivy League and maybe another 20 top R1 schools.
  • by ndogg ( 158021 )

    I have black friends like Tyson here. We hang out all the time, and talk about the stars.

    [uncomfortable smile]

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:15PM (#37144646) Homepage

    This is unconvincing. Here's the deal:

    It is well known that U.S. born black people going through college in the US get breaks not afforded to everyone else. We have even seen egregious examples of passes that should have been fails and even examples of plagiarism that has gone unaddressed and unpunished when done by black people. We know all too well how the system seeks "fairness and balance" by giving advantage to the "disadvantaged." But what happens after graduation?

    Well, let's just say, I would be reluctant to go to a black doctor and would be more inclined to go to a doctor from India. Does that make me a racist? Hell no it doesn't. It's the fact that there has been a huge and competitive flow of medical students from India and only the best can get through the process due to various numeric limitations put into place by administrations in the name of "fairness, balance and diversity." Meanwhile, in order to keep the numbers of black doctors higher, they have to make allowances quite often. But how does this affect quality? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you have to lower standards in order to boost numbers, then quality will drop.

    Does that mean "black doctors and scientists are of lesser quality" because they are black? NO! Not if you rate them on merit... individually without consideration of race. But when you start considering race, then you will see there will be "fewer black people get grants."

    There is a lot more going on behind the scenes than this article addresses. It certainly doesn't offer detailed statistics covering the spread of scores presented by the various applicants.

    Racism needs to go away. Every time someone tries to make a point like this, it just goes to show how racist they actually are.

    • Soooo.....everyone who says blacks are getting screwed is actually a racist? Is mere awareness of race and any response to it at all what constitutes racism in your book, or what?

      I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anything else you said; I just cannot fathom that last sentence no matter how I try.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jahudabudy ( 714731 )
      Well, let's just say, I would be reluctant to go to a black doctor and would be more inclined to go to a doctor from India. Does that make me a racist? Hell no it doesn't.

      Dude, no matter what the justification, whether it be right or wrong, judging someone's ability based SOLELY on their race is, in fact, the very definition of racism. Just b/c I am likely to be right doesn't make it any less racist for me to assume the black guy of the same height is better at basketball than the white guy. It's still
    • Well, let's just say, I would be reluctant to go to a black doctor and would be more inclined to go to a doctor from India. Does that make me a racist?

      Well, by definition, yes. You are basing the decision on race, rather than the actual qualifications of the hypothetical doctors you are choosing between. Whether that racism has a real and logical base, as you claim, is a somewhat separate issue - it is still racist to make the choice based on race alone.

      • Actually, I am not basing that idea on "race" as much as I am on statistics. If the statistics said, for example, that investment in a black-owned business is better than a white-owned business, I think it would be fair to presume that people would be more inclined to invest in black-owned businesses. On the other hand, if the statistics were reversed, would it then be "racist" to invest your money in non-black companies?

        We frequently base choices on statistical information rather than "race." This is wh

    • Why not pick your doctor based on referrals, compatibility, or maybe even outcomes?

    • African-American children also are herded into some of the most disgracefully horrible K-12 "schools" in the developed world. I'm not a fan of AA, but I do believe that government-run "education" has so miserably failed all children - especially minority children - that it needs to be seriously [] rethought. []
    • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane AT gst DOT com> on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:51PM (#37146434) Journal

      The way to make racism like this go away is:

      EVERYONE has to stop judging people on irrelevant factors.

      This means that government and academia has to stop having lower standards for people in oppressed groups.

      It also means people like you have to stop assuming that the person in front of you was a beneficiary of those lower standards just because they are a member of an oppressed group.

      Your reasoning above is correct statistically, but may be doing an injustice to the individual standing in front of you - an injustice that has the same effect as the racism that started the whole mess.

  • by marco.antonio.costa ( 937534 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:15PM (#37144648)

    On the other hand black athletes do overwhelmingly better than white ones. Is it because of discrimination in the granting of NFL contracts to black guys over the whites?

    Or it could be that genes that favor physical prowess over raw intellectual aptitude are more present in individuals with dark skin than those who are paler? Maybe the corollary is also possible, that the 'bookworm genes' are about 10% more present in people with white skin.

    No, that would be politically incorrect - hell, criminal - to utter, ergo, discrimination on basis of race must be the issue here.

    Another example of the 'opressed/opressor ideology' and collectivism that is being the downfall of western civilization on display, nothing to see here folks.

    • Reading a lot of Ayn Rand lately?
    • Maybe the corollary is also possible, that the 'bookworm genes' are about 10% more present in people with white skin.

      Well, maybe, except that you have no proof that there's anything like a "bookworm gene" or any study of its prevalence, while there's a pretty well proven history of discrimination in this country. Given Occam's Razor, I know which way I'd bet. And, given your post and Occam's Razor, I'd also bet that you're a right-wing/Liberatrian idiot who claims that racism is only a minor problem and be

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:23PM (#37144802) Journal
    Has anyone looked at the grants to see? Maybe the ones by blacks aren't actually as good.

    We know that statistically blacks have lower IQs. Given that there is more genetic difference between different groups of blacks than there is between blacks and whites, it is reasonable to assume that this is due to environmental factors. However, the grant writers grew up in the same environment, the same America as the rest. It is not unreasonable to investigate that some of the grants might not be as good.
    • How would you do that? Sit down with a pile of applications and rate them on a scale from 1 to 100? There's no way to do that objectively.

      We can't explain this with lower IQ among the black population, since the people who have become research scientists have already gone through their education and should, on average, be as competent as their colleagues. You could possibly blame it on positive discrimination - i.e, treating black students more leniently because of fear of being racist - but that's seems to

  • from a sociological perspective the ingrained position of the 'inferior black' is quite well established. During african apartheid the white 'ruling class' of afrikaners imparted to their black underclass that it was necessary to have this system, as white superior intellect was all that could govern the savage african nation coherently and properly. To this day apologists still insist the removal of this white ruling class is to blame for much of the problems in african nations

    in america blacks were de
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:53PM (#37145394) Journal

    Explain Einstein then. A jew. Oh, jews don't count. How german of you.

    How come asians do well then? Hispanics?

    So race only matters to blacks... the peers don't guess the race from Mr Hernandez Lopez? But guess the race of Denzel Washington? I see.

    Last time I checked many American blacks have western names, some might resent it but how then can I tell color from it?

    I think there is something else going on, something that nobody dares the touch. Me? I am not going to touch it either. Lets just all dance around the elephant in the room.

    Oh never mind. How come that is acceptable to claim Jews are smart or asians study hard? But if you dare to even hint that maybe some other cultures (Since jews are not a race but a religion (with many divisions into different cultures)) have negative standouts?

    There is a black stand-up comedian who always bitches about race. Then a black man becomes president. His comments? This ain't going change anything and just make it harder for blacks.

    With an attitude like that I bet all the black papers are marked down by black peers angry another black man is doing well.

    Oh wait, the article forgot that didn't it. There are plenty of peer's who are NOT white racists like me. So are they saying ALL peer reviewers got it in for the black man?

    Oh and what about women? Science is old men, how are papers with female names rated?

  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:04PM (#37145606)

    I've been working in IT for over 15 years...I have seen blacks in the companies I work at treated unfairly time and time again. The sad truth is the blacks who do well at companies are forced to act a certain way - all the successful ones I know are generally more friendly and jovial than the average white worker, and if some racist crank in some other part of the company says something offbeat about them, they just laugh it off. I see the same situation over and over. The racist crank is usually a middle-aged white guy, whose bonafides the young but educated and talented troops question, but were hired into the startup by the young top management because I guess they (or VC) wants what looks like adult supervision around, which I guess is middle-aged white guys who are perceived to be incompetent. This is probably not helped by the bizarre (often sexually-tinged) racist statements or assumptions you hear through the grapevine that they made - not just about the black and non-white employees, but other non-whites.

    Another case I've seen more than once is a black co-worker in my IT group, and a young (late 20s, 30s) white junior manager over us, or perhaps the white junior manager is in a parallel group but has some sway on our group. Whatever the black teammate does, the white manager just seems to have it in for them for no reason. One of these managers I was myself friends with, he had no problems whatsoever going into vivid detail about how he hated Muslims. He also really disliked the black guy in my group, but never really gave a reason why, even when I subtly asked him why he didn't when we were alone drinking a beer at a bar. I didn't really get a real answer. Any IT worker who wants to go into management I have some suspicion of where there head is at anyhow.

    I've seen other scenarios where I just didn't know, like someone passed over for promotion at a certain point. What factors went into this? I DON'T count this as definite racism as I don't know what factors went into the decisions, and they may have been completely legitimate. The point is, things work on open and hidden levels, and maybe even unconscious levels. In other words, my point with promotions is, there may be cases of race being a factor that I have not listed, as I don't know whether or not they were.

    These are scenarios I saw myself where the racism was fairly obvious. But people are smart nowadays to not be too obvious. It makes me think of what Reagan and Bush aide Lee Atwater said about campaigning politically on race:

    "You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it."

    This is what happens. The middle-aged incompetent white managers brought into the startups were dumb enough to say racist things out loud. The junior white managers who were on the black guys case for no reason are more subtle, even if one will privately talk about how he hates Muslims (not mentioning blacks though). Then there's people passed over for promotion, where I don't even know what factors went into them - maybe it is a legitimate reason. Things get more and more abstract.

    When I was a teenager, there were local black kids interested in computers and computer networks who were as talented and some even more talented than the average white kids who did. While many of their white counterparts easily climbed up the ladder of things, through the educational institutions and then the corporate institutions, of course never having any trouble with local police institutions in the meantime, this just didn't seem to happen for them.

    People come home from work, sit down exhausted and turn on sitcoms. Movie produce

  • Let's assume for a minute that the grant process is completely fair and the applications are actually worse. Is that automatically a racist assumption? What if there were another cause besides just black people being dumb or affirmative action? Maybe the best and the brightest among white students gravitate towards research, but black students tend to value directly helping their communities and instead spread their smartest more into clinical roles? What if the process is discriminatory specifically to poo
  • Even if the grants process is biased by race, it doesn't have to mean the scientific community is consciously racist.

    Granting research money involves making subjective judgments, like judging how competent someone seems, how likely you think they are to carry out the experiment successfully, and so on. Subjective judgments are, at best, only partially based on rational thought. The rest is based on the images which are active in your mind when you're making the judgment. For example, when reading someone's