ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













The Urban Scientist

The Urban Scientist


A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences
The Urban Scientist Home

Getting back in the saddle

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


Email   PrintPrint



I doubted myself many, many times in the wake of all of this. Why did respond to that email in the first place? I should have just ignored it altogether. Then none of this or this or this or this or this would have happened at all. But that is a very selfish wish and driven completely by fear and personal anxieties. And frankly, it is the antithesis of who and what I am: I live out loud; I wear my feelings boldly on my sleeves. I have no poker face. When I am sad; I frown and cry. When I am happy; I smile and laugh – loudly.

But that’s not what a scientist is (supposed to be). Scientists are reserved and conservative in demeanor. Young women with PhDs don’t curse or roll their eyes or speak in informal tones or make references to underground hip-hop songs about street fights. We certainly don’t voice our frustration with larger systems of unfairness on esteemed platforms.

I have been told this by many people throughout my science career, including some commenters of this blog. No one said these things to me but those were the words and feelings that came to my mind on Saturday morning October 12, 2013, as I was trying to process Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina’s words when she explained why my post was pulled the previous day. By the time I hung up from that phone call, the tears were falling down my face. I was reminded of the many times I was given the impression (or sometimes explicitly told) that my issues were of no interests to anyone else. “You aren’t being professional enough. That’s not an interesting science question.”

Far too many times, students and scientists like myself have been told that our pain points are not worthy of the academy’s attention. We should stick to something more objective, less personal. That’s the appropriate way to make headway in science. Maybe; but there have been so many times where I found myself listening to or reading the accounts (personal and professional) of some other fancy-pants scientist and thinking nothing he is saying is the least bit relevant to my life, but still his words are golden. His viewpoints are canon. Canon because science – for so long – has been defined by those who dominate it. They say what is professional, what is acceptable, what is universal. The feelings, the experiences, the complex-hard-to-articulate interactions of women and persons of color and even more so women of color or just random aberrations. Science can be a sad, lonely, and overwhelming world and for much of my career (since college) I have struggled to have my full voice heard in science. For the last 7 years, blogging has been my megaphone to express all of my true, complicated feelings about science, academia, education, activism, justice and life.

My voice is sassy, urban and like most other scientists — no-nonsense and confrontational. However, when these traits are packaged in the body of a stout, round face, youthful-looking, working-class black girl with a Southern Drawl and fierce side-eye it is often perceived as less intelligent and rowdy. What makes this more infuriating (and sad) is that those doubtful and dismissive assumptions never go away. Never! Your degrees, your appointments mean nothing. Even when you do clean up, tone down the sass and present yourself accordingly, you still get interrogated about your expertise and experiences.

No wonder what I expressed was interpreted as a personal rant by so many. When the field has so few people from diverse backgrounds who might testify to completely different experiences, then it’s no wonder why so many regard our experiences as individual problems that should be handled off-the-clock. What will it take for the experiences of women, people from working-class families or immigrant families, persons of color and women of color be considered an authentic part of the whole, as representative of a larger narrative? This is what I (had) hope(d) my blog post would represent.

I didn’t think any of the contents of that post were off-base and I made the case that it offered important professional development lessons to students, scientists, science communicators and non-scientists alike. After all, I and other SciAm bloggers often share personal, passionate accounts of our experiences. To her credit, Ms. DiChristina said she would look into my assertion and get more details. And she did. She called me back early the next day. This time she had more details for me – from the legal department. And as has already been explained, things have been confirmed and the post was reinstated – no revisions needed. However, I completely understand why many folks were still put off. I, too was left feeling some kind of way by the change of explanation.

However, the truth is I really wanted to get back to normal. I wanted the attention to wane and I wanted to go back to feeling okay. That didn’t happen – at least not how I wanted it happen. I have since had come to terms with all of it. (It was a lot at first. Thank you to every one who supported, with tweets, blog posts and mirroring the original post. A special thank you to Dr Rubidium, Dr. Isis, Kate Clancy, SciCurious and Janet Stemwedel for coming to my defense.) I really do appreciate Ms. DiChristina’s personal apology and the formal apology/explanation from SciAm over the pulling of the post. Sometimes hard things happen to force long-overdue conversations and plan next steps. Part of coming to terms with all of this means getting things done – not just for me, but the bigger picture matters, too. Many folks have asked how I am feeling, what do I want (reaction-wise). I care about what I have always cared about: sharing science with broader audiences. I would not have planned such a publicly painful scenario, but I am grateful nonetheless for the opportunities to have these conversations about diversity and inclusiveness in science and science communication.

I know I have used a lot of words reflecting back on the incident. This is my first time writing since the post was pulled. I’m pulling myself back together here. Like a few others, I believe that it was my tone or how I presented the message that caused the post to be initially flagged. Miscommunications across cultural lines are not new – and definitely not new to me within science. If indeed it was the reason, then we all need to get ready for the transition. New individuals from diverse backgrounds are arriving to science. They each represent new voices to communicate with varied audiences, different tones, deliveries, metaphors, references and styles. I doubt it will be a breeze, but I am sure it will be enlightening.

I am also heartened by the responsiveness of the editorial team of Scientific American in the wake of this and the subsequent storms. I trust positive conversations/action about inclusiveness and safety will happen. And some have begun already: guest posts at The SciCurious Brain from new/diverse voices about Diversity in the Sciences and Science Communication. Moreover, I am quite excited about some of the more formal next steps which include me working with Scientific American to co-write a feature about women from diverse backgrounds in the sciences. Plus, we (I and SciAm) are discussing additional ventures to foster more science communication opportunities for wider audiences.

Some positive things have come from this; and I am glad. I’m quite excited about the future where more diverse, complex and unique voices in science can be heard. Stay tuned y’all.
DNLee

Archive of the entire *whatever-it-was* graciously curated by Liz Ditz. Standing with DNLee against sexism at biology-online.org, and Scientific American’s cowardly conduct

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





Rights & Permissions

Comments 36 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. Looie 1:07 pm 10/31/2013

    If I had been the editor I would have pulled that post too — not because you were wrong or the topic was unsuitable, but because the tone was way too confrontational. I have seen over and over on Wikipedia and elsewhere on the web that once “drama” comes into play, it dominates everything, and boring topics such as science fall by the wayside. Anything can be discussed, but it is essential always to maintain a calm and civil tone, regardless of the provocation.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Looie 1:09 pm 10/31/2013

    Sorry, forgot to sign the previous comment as I intended to.

    — Bill Skaggs

    Link to this
  3. 3. hntrpyanfar 1:28 pm 10/31/2013

    Mr Skaggs, please do not use the ‘her tone was wrong’ argument to derail the conversation. It is demeaning and undeserved, showing excessive contempt on your part.

    Link to this
  4. 4. ejwillingham 2:47 pm 10/31/2013

    Wow. Tone-policing in the first comment. Did you even *read* her post, Bill Skaggs? Welcome to the brave new world of science and science writing where, whether you like it or not, issues of women and people of color and their voices and ways of being actually matter to the discourse and conduct and progress of science and how it is communicated.

    Link to this
  5. 5. RogerTheGeek 3:05 pm 10/31/2013

    Welcome back! I look forward to more science and other ideas from your perspective. I loved your original post as a response to the fool at biology online.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Bashir 3:30 pm 10/31/2013

    Thanks for this post.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Potnia Theron 3:33 pm 10/31/2013

    Loud & Proud. A model for us all.

    Link to this
  8. 8. srhymes 3:34 pm 10/31/2013

    This is a great post. I for one, don’t find the tone at all confrontational, not that–and here’s the point–it’s any of my business how the tone of the post is _at all_. It’s great to see you writing again. This whole thing, combined with the fantastic twitter and science blogosphere coverage of it, helped draw me _to_ your blog. The more voices, and the more diverse they are, the better science and science writing will be!

    Link to this
  9. 9. DNLee 3:54 pm 10/31/2013

    Oh, Mr Skaggs, Bless your heart.
    That’s exactly what I needed to hear upon facing the largest personal twitter storm that touched on so many intersectional issues in science, science communication, academia and the world as we know it.
    Mind my tone. Yes, you see not speaking well or speaking softly or deferring comfortable postures and phrases is all that matters. Especially for *me*; after all my other colleagues especially those with penises and pale skin can drop F bombs, wax poetic about personal feelings of religion vs science education or whatever and *that* is surely more appropriate and scientific than anything *I* say about how I have been treated by others in the same circles.

    The very fact that you felt so audaciously comfortable reminding me of my errors (read, trying to set me straight) is you asserting all of your privilege, once again reminding me & others that the game set my the original rule makers is all that matters. Diversity is communication. Pssh! Heck no!

    I bet you felt all kinds of good inside. I surmised that because you came back sign you name: cherry on top! Ahhh, you’re the best Mr Skaggs.What would I every do without good folks like you to put me back in my place?
    *insert saccharin smile here*

    Everyone else, thank you very much for the kind welcome.

    Link to this
  10. 10. Anne Jefferson 4:02 pm 10/31/2013

    Bravo, DNLee! I continue to be impressed and inspired by your words, actions, and ideas. I cannot imagine a more gracious way to get back in the saddle after such an eventful few weeks and I wish you everything good from here on out. Tone trolls, be damned.

    Link to this
  11. 11. greg_t_laden 5:19 pm 10/31/2013

    I can’t believe people are telling you about tone. The thoughts that come to mind I will not write down.

    Anyway, I do think Monica Byrne’s post had nothing to do with you or Sci Am taking down your post. There was not a very strong and compelling connection between your maneno and her deciding to post at that time. There was a connection but it was weak. This tells me that she would have posted that at some point around now (or soon) anyway. Had nothing to do with you even if it was a trigger. Triggers are easy to come by.

    Important and useful conversations came out of your post, what you said in it and your reaction. [Personally I think your tone could have been much harsher and in that guy's face, but I respect your decision to hold back :) ] You acted appropriately and the incident reminded people of important things.

    Bill Skaggs, on the other hand, might have a problem with his condescending … ah … tone. He should tone that down. Take his tone down a notch.

    Link to this
  12. 12. rkipling 5:23 pm 10/31/2013

    Hntrpyanfar,

    Dr. Lee was treated abominably. I completely agree with the substance of her response. The choice of tone is her own. I was flabbergasted that anyone would be insulted in such a manner.

    I disagree that Bill Skaggs was demeaning or showed contempt. I don’t think that was his intent at all. What I understood his comment to mean was that, in his opinion, Dr. Lee’s video response lacked decorum. Maybe lacked civility would be a better way of saying it? He should be able to express his opinion. Personally I think he is way off base on environment issue blog posts, but that is another topic.

    Had it been my decision, I would have left Dr. Lee’s post up. In my view it does not reflect well on her professionalism and could have a negative impact on her career. But her career, her call. If Dr. Lee wants to campaign for diversity in what is generally accepted as proper professional decorum, that’s fine by me.

    Before I begin this next paragraph, everyone please understand that I do not equate discrimination against hillbillies with discrimination against any ethnic group.

    I grew up in the area where the characters from The Beverly Hillbillies were said to have originated. Eureekie (Eureka) Springs is a real town. There is no Bug Tussle in AR or MO, and we never said, “Well doggies.” People native to the area did have very distinctive accents and colloquialisms. In high school I made a decision to lose my accent and forgo local expressions. At university many people thought I was from the Midwest by my speech. In my case, I think that was professionally advantageous. Hillbillies are not depicted as educated, high achievers. I’m unaware of any Hillbilly Power movements (militia groups are not the same thing), but if they exist I have no temptation to join.

    While I believe all races of human beings alive today are virtually identical genetically and in their potential, the idea that all cultural expression should be considered equally respectable is open question. If some wish to broaden the range of professionally acceptable personal presentation, that’s fine with me. I predict they do so to their career disadvantage.

    Dr. Lee,

    I don’t speak for Mr. Skaggs, but I don’t believe for a moment that he had any intention of “putting you back in your place.” You have effectively called him a racist. Not every disagreement on professional conduct is raced based. We are all Africans if we go back 60,000 to 150,000 years. For some of us, our more recent ancestors left Africa for higher latitudes sooner than others and needed the vitamin D. We are not responsible for who our ancestors were. I don’t know him, but my guess is Mr. Skaggs knows this too.

    Link to this
  13. 13. jayjacobus 5:47 pm 10/31/2013

    You have an identity that doesn’t need defending.

    Dehumanizing other people is the intent of all self centered individuals and should not be used to discard free speech.

    Link to this
  14. 14. ejwillingham 5:50 pm 10/31/2013

    Sweet honking Mary, “rkipling.” *Intones*: “And you will be a man, my son.” /privilegedmansplaining

    At any rate, I also am glad you’re back, Danielle, and that you’ve brought your voice with you. I love your writing. Love. It.

    Link to this
  15. 15. DrBrocktagon 6:15 pm 10/31/2013

    Jacob Bronowski in 1951, on scientists’ poor communication skills:

    “They have enjoyed acting the mysterious stranger, the powerful voice without emotion, the expert and the god. They have failed to make themselves comfortable in the talk of people on the street; no one taught them the knack, of course, but they were not keen to learn. And now they find the distance which they enjoyed has turned to distrust, and the awe has turned to fear; and people who are by no means fools really believe that we should be better off without science” (p146).

    Don’t ever change, DNLee

    http://crackingtheenigma.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/common-sense-of-science.html

    Link to this
  16. 16. rkipling 6:20 pm 10/31/2013

    ejwillingham,

    So the slightest deviation from the party line is racism? Nice.

    Link to this
  17. 17. rkipling 6:26 pm 10/31/2013

    ejwillingham,

    If that was intended as an insult, I have no idea what you said.

    Link to this
  18. 18. tenoclockbird 6:46 pm 10/31/2013

    Dr. Lee,
    I did not think of any of those things when I read your initial response post to being called a whore. I did not think of any of that when I watched you speak on YouTube. All I thought was that I want my (yes, white and privileged) daughter to grow up with just some of your strength, curiosity, and grace. You did not turn your back on who you are, but neither did you alienate me (a white, suburban mother) or my nine-year-old daughter. All those who are crying out that it was too “urban” or whatever, are just threatened. Thank you for being a role model for my daughter.
    Elli Cucksey

    Link to this
  19. 19. rkipling 7:09 pm 10/31/2013

    tenoclockbird,

    I can only speak for myself. I don’t feel threatened in the slightest. If Dr. Lee wishes to present herself in that manner, it is entirely her choice. I was only predicting that if she uses that approach professionally, it could have an adverse affect on her career. Do you disagree with that?

    Link to this
  20. 20. tenoclockbird 7:32 pm 10/31/2013

    I’m sorry, rkipling. I have gone back NOW and read your comments, but I wasn’t referring to you in my post. I hadn’t read the other comments, and I was only referring to those Dr. Lee addressed in this post. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I do disagree with it. I think she’s turned her tone down far enough. It was gracious and real. She wasn’t sitting in a board meeting. We don’t have to agree. I just wanted to thank her for showing my daughter what being gracious and true-to-yourself looks like. Oh, AND being a scientist all about doing science.

    Link to this
  21. 21. DNLee 8:01 pm 10/31/2013

    My video response lacked decorum. Really?
    I made no insults, used no foul languages and spoke in complete sentences.
    This is classic #privilegelevelanalysis – telling me how even my well-played response was still ‘off’ and warning me it might ‘cost me’.
    If my lack of decorum costs me but all of the crazy over the top behavior of so many men scientists (sexism, harrasment, trolling, or just plain bastardness) is okay – because afterall they are successful – then that just reinforces all the things I’ve been saying all along.

    When you don’t look or sound like member of the dominant group there is NO room for individual presence.
    And no one called anyone racist, privileged yes – but as we say down south – throw a brick in the crowd and the hit dog will holler.

    Link to this
  22. 22. rkipling 8:25 pm 10/31/2013

    tenoclockbird,

    Well okay. I have no argument with how she presents herself in any venue. And I have no issue with her video response in that context. That’s her business entirely. I was saying that I didn’t believe Mr. Skaggs’ comment was necessarily racist. He has a view of how people, particularly research scientists, should present themselves and offered his opinion. Her response to Mr. Skaggs effectively calling him a racist was very aggressive. Again, that’s her choice if that is how she wishes to present herself.

    I wonder if she uses the same approach with anyone who voices disagreement? What I took from her post is that she regularly presents herself in professional situations in the same way as in the video. Further she seems to believe that she should have the option be as “urban” as she likes while doing business, as in a board meeting, without repercussion. Maybe she will be successful making diversity in presentation acceptable? Most board members I know would not be favorably impressed. All I was saying is that I’m not sure that will be the best approach for career advancement. But it is her decision. It makes no difference to me.

    Link to this
  23. 23. rkipling 8:31 pm 10/31/2013

    Inappropriate behavior from anyone should be condemned. I would never tolerate someone from my company insulting you in any context. They would be out the door without checking with counsel.

    Link to this
  24. 24. rkipling 8:33 pm 10/31/2013

    But I will comment here no further.

    That’s all I have to say.

    Link to this
  25. 25. librarykat 8:50 pm 10/31/2013

    I personally found Mr. Skaggs’comment rather sexist myself. I have often been told to mind my tone while male co-workers receive no such admonishment.

    Dr. Lee, I was outraged on your behalf and I am very happy that SciAm reinstated your post.

    Sexism is alive and well in the sciences. My husband, a PhD in science himself, told me a former professor of his was very outspoken against women in science.

    My husband is more than happy to encourage young girls’ interest in science.

    Best wishes to you, Dr. Lee.

    Link to this
  26. 26. DNLee 9:17 pm 10/31/2013

    ^^^ (rkipling) this why I side eye so hard. All of that.
    Let me be clear: I believe I have the right to be myself even in professional situations. Why shouldn’t I have the right to express my feelings and reactions to people and situations – especially in the face of insults, snide comments and microagressions. Why is that I (and so very often women, people of color, and 1st generation folks in general be confined to grin and bare it, buck up, get over it or find yet another way to get by….a.k.a moving goal posts.
    This is what drives me crazy….and yes it does lead me to lose my temper and skip all pre-tenses of tone.

    And I demonstrated that I do indeed know ‘how to behave’ and ‘speak properly’ under various situations.

    My response was calm and measured. To say that it wasn’t (especially in the wake of the overwhelming majority of people who say it was) speaks volumes of your subjectiveness of my tone/presentation.

    This is the thing – the tone/civility policing works to disempower the marginalized people. The gatekeepers are miocroagressing, acting foul, and/or breaking rules left and right. No one – not even the Officer Friendly types in this thread raise an eyebrow to call them on their BS. But low and behold let the ‘new kid’ say that’s enough, then all of a sudden Captain Rule book wants to point out line and verse for how we stepped out of bounds – because we raised our voices or whatever.

    Persons of privilege & power get to keep a cool head as they douche it out. They have credentials, connections, influence maybe even money and most importantly the assumption of benevolence to sway things/people their way. And often they deliberately antagonize people to lose their tempers so they can play that very card.

    The short story is – 1) don’t tell me what I ought to do. It’s a No-No. Point blank full stop. Your well-meaningness means nothing when you have insulted me.
    2) sometimes the best answer is silence. Just hold your tongue – especially when the situation has not solicited advice from the universe.
    3) this entire post was about my frustration with being tone policed…So don’t tone police me – Bro!

    Link to this
  27. 27. rkipling 10:04 pm 10/31/2013

    Fascinating! You were insulted by my comments?

    Here’s hoping you are never insulted again.

    All the best to you.

    Link to this
  28. 28. dwescott1 8:08 am 11/1/2013

    As a crisis PR professional I’ll offer my free advice to “rkipling” and Skaggs:

    Stop digging.

    Danielle, We already knew you were really smart and a great writer. Anyone who has paid any attention to your writing, your work, or your public speaking knows how relentlessly positive you are. You’ve been a leader and a role model for so long precisely because you’ve stayed true to yourself. And that’s exactly how you will be more successful than “kipling” or Skaggs or any of these guys will ever imagine.

    I for one look forward to the day when the goobers who troll you find themselves sending you their CV’s and asking if you could put in a good word for them. Or better yet – applying directly to you for jobs.

    It’s really only a matter of time.

    Link to this
  29. 29. rkipling 11:23 am 11/1/2013

    dwescott1,

    This is the most interesting discussion on the SciAm site in a very long time. If it is allowed to continue, I’m hopeful that you and others will assist me in making this a teachable moment, perhaps for me. Allow me to summarize my comments to this point.

    I have tremendous respect for Dr. Lee’s many accomplishments. She overcame obstacles I can only try to imagine.

    Unequivocally, the guy who insulted Dr. Lee should have been sacked immediately.

    Skaggs made one comment offering his opinion. I attempted to provide a non-judgmental interpretation of his comment. My speculation was that perhaps he and the SciAm editor may have a view different from Dr. Lee’s of what should be considered professional comportment on this site. I quickly added that had I been the editor, I would have left her post up.

    I did say that although I didn’t agree with taking down the blog post, I can understand that point of view. I followed that by speculating that a more reserved public persona might be professionally advantageous to Dr. Lee. I emphasize the “might be more advantageous” and clearly stated it was entirely Dr. Lee’s choice. I based that speculation on my personal journey from poverty and personal experience. I don’t know details of Dr. Lee’s early life. Which of us started out the poorest isn’t relevant. My dad, who passed away over 40 years ago, would have had a good chuckle over someone calling me privileged.

    So, please help me out here. Where lies the insult in my comments? Are we at the point where any hint of advice intended for the consideration of young people is an insult? I guess what I was really saying is that a life lived without anger may be the better path. Even when anger is fully justified.

    Your definition of success is revealing. Accumulation of material things is paint by numbers easy. Self-actualization is far more valuable and may be achieved on almost any budget.

    Also telling is your use of pejoratives, but I wish you well. I wish everyone well.

    Link to this
  30. 30. FoolsExperiment 5:48 pm 11/1/2013

    Holy Sh*t. Your tone trolls are now demanding cookies.

    Danielle–thank you for being a model of the type of woman in science I aspire to be. I am graduating very soon and will be on the market. I am making a commitment to myself and other women in science to be true to myself, and to be honest and open about my opinion, however unpopular it may be. And I will not be apologetic about it, nor will I play the BSD’s political games. That may well doom me in academia, time will tell. But I’m OK with that if that’s how it turns out, and I won’t feel like I sold out or let down the girls that come after me. I can only hope that my science speaks for itself and affords me the privilege of being who I am in my chosen profession.

    I was cheering when I read your response to Ofek. And everyone I’ve talked to in my circle–men and women at various stages of academic careers–are in agreement. You responded with grace and honesty, and I think that much of the “tone” is in the reader’s perceptions. I suspect that if a man (particularly an older white one) wrote an identical post, it would have been hailed as bold and plain-speaking–no one would have even been talking about tone and professionalism. I know you’ve said this already, and I’m not sure why this is coming up again. I guess they really are blind to their own bias. Ugh.

    Link to this
  31. 31. rkipling 7:09 pm 11/1/2013

    FoolsExperiment,

    I hope you find a job you enjoy after graduation. I read your comment carefully. Your point on political games particularly caught my attention. I couldn’t agree with you more about dislike for political games. I hated the game playing, and I was terrible at it. The only thing that kept me employed was that I could occasionally do the equivalent of turning used Kleenex into gold.

    I will always remember one of my first performance reviews. I was told that I got top marks for innovation and making our plant more profitable (I outpaced everyone else by orders of magnitude.) But, I was told, “You get an overall average review (same raise as everyone else) because you really fall down on the nitpicky, unimportant tasks.” The unsaid part was that I corrected my boss when she was wrong. Oh yeah, there were women in the chemical industry years ago.

    When I changed jobs, I always gained responsibility. Things would go well until I corrected my next boss too many times. It wasn’t until I formed my own company that I got out of my own way on the politics thing. Now our customers are my bosses, but others deal with them so I don’t shoot myself in the foot.

    If you don’t want the political games, make a plan to start your own business after you gain some experience. You might need to change jobs to acquire different skills. A speaker at engineering orientation years ago recommended doing many different jobs before starting your own business. It was good advice. That’s the only way around the games that I know of. It took me far too long to figure that out. If you don’t start your own business, you may need to consider practicing some level of politics.

    I looked up the definition of an internet toll. I don’t think I am one, but that is for others like you to decide. At least I have no malice toward anyone. I don’t have anything to prove. Just sharing my thoughts in the hope my experience might be beneficial to others. It could be that my experience isn’t relevant to any of you. If so, my apologies for taking your time.

    What kind of cookies?

    Link to this
  32. 32. RHWoodman 9:46 pm 11/2/2013

    Dr. Lee,
    I’m glad to see you’re writing again. Looking forward to reading more of what you write.

    Link to this
  33. 33. Ilana_Yurkiewicz 10:46 pm 11/2/2013

    This. This is just too perfect. Thank you for being such an important voice.
    “Far too many times, students and scientists like myself have been told that our pain points are not worthy of the academy’s attention. We should stick to something more objective, less personal. That’s the appropriate way to make headway in science. Maybe; but there have been so many times where I found myself listening to or reading the accounts (personal and professional) of some other fancy-pants scientist and thinking nothing he is saying is the least bit relevant to my life, but still his words are golden. His viewpoints are canon. Canon because science – for so long – has been defined by those who dominate it. They say what is professional, what is acceptable, what is universal. The feelings, the experiences, the complex-hard-to-articulate interactions of women and persons of color and even more so women of color or just random aberrations.”

    Link to this
  34. 34. Bee 6:30 am 11/3/2013

    Be proud of who you are. When I started blogging, I thought my writing would be more like yours. More self-expression, more of a real-person writing than that of a scientist who has learned not to write in the first person singular. But it seems, that’s just not me – and the same way that my silent and reserved little-white-woman writing reflects myself, I wish that your writing reflects yourself. Good luck with all.

    Link to this
  35. 35. enwikibadscience 2:49 pm 11/3/2013

    I just can’t believe that http://www.biology-online.org/ hired an editor who would call a woman a whore.

    Everything else aside, calling a peer a whore? If I had been Scientific American and seen your post, this would have captured me first and foremost–how are we still living in a world where people involved in science editing, even just blogs, think that they can call a woman scientist a whore as a means of dismissing her? And in an e-mail? That’s a safe feeling that editor had at biology-online, that he would use return e-mail to call you a whore.

    Scientific American pulled your outrage at being called a whore? Are there any social scientists at SA who might have been wondering, what kind of culture is this that we would be connected to something on-line, where an atmosphere is created, where an editor is comfortable e-mailing back, “Oh, by the way, you don’t like my offer, so you’re not a scientist, you’re a whore?”

    He called you a whore; and they pulled YOUR post.

    DD

    Link to this
  36. 36. SDWK623 10:41 am 11/7/2013

    Welcome back! I’m so glad to “hear” your voice again, because you’re important to my students. Above and beyond that, I love what you have to say, however you say it. Thank you -

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article



This function is currently unavailable

X