If you've been on the Scientific American network at all over the past weekend, or on twitter for that matter, you can't have missed all that's been going on. The short version: my fantastic friend and colleague Danielle (@DNLee5), who blogs at SciAm under "The Urban Scientist", was asked for a guest post at another site. She asked to be paid, a completely reasonable request. When they said no pay, she politely declined. The editor then called her a whore.
Yes. You read that last sentence correctly. The editor called her a whore. As of Monday morning, the person who perpetrated this incredibly unprofessional, insulting offense has been fired.
Danielle, who is a professional and strong woman on many, many levels, wrote a post about the experience, relating it well to what many minorities experience in science, and how to stand up to this kind of offense.
SciAm, a place which I am usually extremely proud to blog for, then pulled the post without explanation. It is in our contracts that they can do this (I checked mine), but there is no doubt it was handled badly. Whether it's legal or personal concerns, the results haven't been great. And they have produced a social media firestorm. Buzzfeed, Jezebel, BoingBoing, Metafilter, Reddit.
SciAm did issue a statement, but the apology wasn't all it could be. SciAm is still trying to make amends, but many people remain unsatisfied with the way it was handled. As of now, Danielle's post is back up in all its glory. But many people are still not happy. I don't blame them, I'm still pretty mad myself.
But throughout all of this, I couldn't forget what Danielle said in her Buzzfeed interview:
Though she’s grateful for the support, Lee said she wishes the attention was geared toward one of her already existing missions in the science community, like increasing diversity.
“If that many people were going to come out in support of me, I’d rather it be in support of one of the missions that’s going to make me redundant. I am trying to make myself redundant, truth be told. It is a lonely place to constantly be the only one like you in science,” she said.
And I want to #standwithDNLee. I want to help her by doing what I can to get diverse voices heard, at SciAm and elsewhere. Because the voices are there, and the more they get heard, the more people will be able to see that they are NOT alone. I asked Danielle what she thought about a week of posts on diversity. She said yes.
So this week, I am featuring a series of guest posts. Some of the writers may be people you've heard of, some of them may not. But they have important things to say, and they need a bigger platform to say it. I am incredibly proud that they have agreed to say it here, and to #standwithDNLee.
Please welcome a full week of guest posts! Let's get voices heard.