As most readers of this blog probably know, JGR Space Physics is a journal of the American Geophysical Union. AGU strives to be a society for Earth and space scientists across the world, but one country is right there in the name…America. In light of recent comments by the President of the United States, I feel compelled to respond with a post. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in America, it is a perfect time to push back against racism and other forms of bigotry. I think that silence makes us complicit and I, for one, detest our president’s position.
When tackling a problem, a diverse workforce brings together many perspectives and makes for a better solution. The USA prides itself on being the world’s melting pot, accepting immigrants from everywhere. A diverse population has helped to make America “Great.” This is exactly what the inscription on the Statue of Liberty promotes. Yet, there has always been an undercurrent of racist, bigoted, prejudiced, and/or sexist attitudes in America, with some of the “already privileged” being skeptical and scared of the rise of the “under-privileged.” These feelings are based on ignorance, though. Each time, the rise of an under-privileged group works out well for America. Scientific research, in particular, loves diversity in the workforce.
As a white male of Norwegian descent, I know that I have led a privileged life. I am sure that, who knows how many times, I have benefited from the racism and sexism of others. While I cannot change my past life trajectory, I can steer the future.
So, I pledge to mindfully apply myself towards being a strong supporter of implementing practices at my work and in my daily life that increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. That last phrase is often shortened as DEI. Perhaps you’ve heard that acronym. It’s a good one to know, and I strongly encourage you to adopt a DEI mindset.
For JGR Space Physics authors and reviewers, one way to do this is to practice the Platinum Rule in your interactions with each other and suggest a diverse set of potential reviewers. In the workplace, it can include identifying and confronting Bro Culture and sexist microaggressions. Little by little, we can do a lot.
Keep the gates open. Challenge racism, sexism, and bigotry. Promote diversity.