2016 #DiversityJC – Doctor_PMS’s Year End Review


It’s the end of 2016 and it’s been a year of change in all sorts of ways (for hopefully good, but also almost certainly for the worse in many ways too, especially on the diversity/inclusion front as at least the US became demonstrably less friendly following our 2017 election). 

In these first 2017 posts, Ian, Emily, and the good Doctor give our thoughts about this past year of DiversityJC and some ideas for the future. Ian’s post is here, and Emily’s is here.

Remember you can subscribe to the DiversityJC Newsletter to keep up with all our discussions and posts.

 

Although 2016 was not a great year globally, it was a good year for me personally. I started to get more comfortable in my new job, with my age, with myself – as a whole! That included accepting that I was not in academia anymore, and I had to find my new niche on Twitter. Oh yes, not before a period of Twitter crisis and not knowing exactly what to tweet. That crisis also included our #DiversityJC. According to our about page, “The premise of this journal club is to discuss articles and blog posts about Diversity in academia”. So how could I keep moderating our #DiversityJC if I was not in academia anymore? It seemed a little hypocritical at the time, but I thought about when and why we started doing this to begin with, back in 2014.

And now, at the end of 2016, I am SO GLAD I kept doing it. Why? Because diversity matters, and not only in academia!

Looking at the list of topics discussed in 2016, we covered so many important issues, including being an ally, ideological diversity, imposter syndrome, and elections. Now after the election, it is more important than ever that we raise our voices and fight for Diversity and Science! Our soon-to-be POTUS is a known white nationalist and skeptical about Science, to say the least. Currently our nation is deeply divided. It is extremely important for us to unify to fight against current threats on Diversity and Science. That can be achieved in many ways, but we want our #DiversityJC to be a safe place where we can discuss issues, listen, and RESIST!

I feel like 2016 was a slower year for our #DiversityJC. We tried to recruit moderators to run the journal club at different times, to give opportunity to people living in other times zones to attend. We are planning to keep it up, stronger and more actively in 2017, but we need YOU! Find an interesting article that you want us to discuss? Use our hashtag! Is Friday 2pm EST a good time for you? Let us know! Also, we are always opened to publish guest posts. Contact us if you want to contribute. And lastly, subscribe to our #DiversityJC Newsletter to follow our discussion announcements and recaps.

And here’s for a happy new AND DIVERSE 2017!

Cleyde (@Doctor_PMS)

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Fight or flight? Post-election thoughts.

Last week we decided to do a special edition of our #DiversityJC to discuss what’s next for diversity in #STEM after the election. During the past few weeks before the election, I was terrified with the path things were going and became obsessed with Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight predictions and pre-election daily podcasts. It interfered with my work. With my life. With my sanity. I could see on my social media feeds that this was a general feeling among my peers, so I tried to post something nice and hopeful everyday. Because this is who I am, I always avoid conflict and try to “always look at the bright side of life”. When the results came, I was shocked. I cried. I despaired. After a few desperate and useless days, I decided to take a break from social media and tried to get back into my bubble (I still haven’t watched Trump’s acceptance speech, and not sure if I will).

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But simply putting your fears aside doesn’t mean that they are not still there! That’s why I decided to join this #DiversityJC discussion, even being on the road, in the middle of training week. Recap post will come soon, and in case you are curious about the discussion, you can read the storify here.

Yes, I’m scared. I’m skeptical about talking too much in a public space and people will realize I’m an immigrant. I’ve decided to carry my green card with me all the time now. Lots of people told me I’m over reacting, that my life will not change, and nothing will happen to me. They might be right on a micro scale, but how can anyone believe that life in America will be the same in the next years?  There’s a lot at stake. Although he already started backing off his deportation ideas, his recent statements about the H1-b program are terrifying. His tax plans to cut taxes will probably cause a large economic growth – of course, with the side effect of a dramatic increase in deficit (even though I don’t think that would be different under other republican president). On the other hand, his trade ideas will probably cause people to pay more for what they’re buying, and that would most likely hurt the economy.He also somewhat softened his promise to repeal Obamacare but nothing have changed about his promises to defund planned parenthood.

I could go on and on with the political aspects of a Trump presidency. But in fact what scares me the most is not really the Trump presidency itself. What scares me is the monster that his campaign has awakened. The selfishness to worry about your own ass and simply don’t care about anyone and anything else. The spread fear and hate that his campaign was based on. The naturality of bigotry and the white supremacism. It’s scary and also disappointing, on a personal level. After all, USA is the country I’ve decided to live, the place I learned to love and call it home for almost 10 years. Maybe you can understand my feelings better after reading my post-election facebook post:

Well done, America. You elected an repugnant human being, and confirmed what everybody says about you abroad, that you are a selfish country that doesn’t give a shit about anyone else other than yourselves, Despite all this, this is the country I chose to live. Despite all the jokes, I used to defend the Americans. And Trump’s win hurts more than anything, not because things are really going to change in my life, but because I’m ashamed of my choices, I’m ashamed of living in a country where the elected president grab women by the pussy and that’s fine. Good job America. Tonight, you chose bigotry. Tonight, you chose ignorance. Tonight, you chose hate.

Now I see that a lot of people decided to fight. Protests, social media posts and groups, vote recount… I’m somewhat included into that group. I joined ACLU and donated to Jill’s recount fund. But even in the case that the results of the election can be undone, there will still be millions of people out there that supported Trump despite his lack of morals, repugnant statements and ideas. And that’s what I’m really scared of. And that’s what I’d like to fight against.

Don’t take out your headphones.

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Credit: Takumi Yoshida, FlickrCC2.0

This week saw ‘The Modern Man’, a website apparently dedicated to giving (horrible) tips to men about meeting women out in the world.

The post that got a lot of attention on Twitter was one with tips to talk to a woman with earbuds or headphones firmly in place. You can read about one reaction from The Guardian here.

I don’t understand people- men in this case- that don’t take headphones as universal symbol of ‘don’t bother me’. Similar to people with nose-in-computer at the library of coffee shop. Presumably, most people aren’t like me and have times when they are more open to talking to strangers.

I get it. I’m a single guy. It’s not a ton of fun sometimes, but forcing conversation on someone that is sending a signal of ‘don’t interrupt’ with earbuds in does not endear you to that person.

If I get interrupted, it takes me a long time to refocus. And that is probably the least of it. Women get approached all the time, get catcalled, and otherwise get a lot of unwanted attention all the time. Just listen in on Twitter sometime, it gets talked about there a lot.

So what’s the alternative? Like many things in life, there aren’t shortcuts. Be someone worth getting to know. Pursue your interests. Meet people that share them. Things will grow from that. The more seeds you plant, the better.

Sleazily dehumanizing and treating women like objects is unacceptable.

Meeting people tends to happen spontaneously and organically. The Atlantic’s James Hamblin recently learned how to meet strangers in New York City, none of which involved interrupting people with earbuds. Hamblin’s a little forced, but then, he was doing a video on a deadline with a somewhat artificial set up. Meet-cutes, instant connections, etc. might happen, but the instant it’s forced, something has gone wrong (and clearly, Hamblin was not making any new best friends– and its’ impossible for me to tell whether he’s playing a character or is genuinely being himself).

If you’re not looking for long-term relationships/love to spring and just want to be part of a lots of short flings, there are communities dedicated to that. Look there, not everywhere. And not to people in earbuds or who are at work. If you want to know how ridiculous a workplace where everyone hooks up with everyone else is, there’s a podcast you should listen to.

Yes, the world is connection starved. It isn’t helped by a culture of masculinity that dictates that connecting is a bad thing. That showing vulnerability is not OK drives that disconnectedness. And so we get blog posts recommending men interrupt women that are obviously signaling they don’t want to be interrupted just then.

There are better times, places, and manners to connect. Learn those. Practice those. The world will be better for it.

In our topic post this month, DiversityJC will discuss models of masculinity and just how they don’t serve us well as the ‘headphones’ article illustrates. Look for that post next week.

Ian Street (@IHStreet).