This form of hegemony is pretty easily identifiable for business majors, however Hegemony in science technology engineering and thematic, STEM, is hidden. The white male dominated community has stood to maintain the white privilege within the field and fueled the exploitation of women of color for many years. Angela Johnson identifies the source responsible for maintaining white hegemony in her study, Unintended Consequences: How Science Professors Discourage Women of Color. “White middle-class men make up the overwhelming majority of practicing scientists.
Ironically while science professors teach students to be objective and logical, and to reason in ways which are neutral as to race, ethnicity, class, gender, ND any other personal characteristic, the methods with they teach these skills are often not neutral to those same characteristics. ” (Johnson, 2007). In other words the current system of education in STEM is not conducive to the education of women of color. Including women of color in STEM is seen as a critical issue. Women of color make up less than 2% of working scientists with a PhD, as opposed to white men who make up 62% (Johnson, 2007).
This unintentional straining of women of color will only further their exploitation in the name of science. Why is it acceptable to collect and propagate living ells from an African American woman without the consent of her family? Why is it okay to sterilize women of both Mexican decent as in the case of Madrigal v Juliann, or more recently of African decent as with the Reel sisters (Rajas, 2009)? It is the lack of representation in the STEM community of women of color that led to decisions like these.
Unless we actively pursue a course of action to include women of color in STEM they will be subject to further exploitation by the white male majority in the field. Johnson identifies three factors that lead to the exclusion of both African American women, and Latin women the first of which is the large class size of most of the lower division courses (Johnson, 2007). The women in the study identified large class size as an isolator, a majority of these women came from a very supportive High School environment, and most of these expressed a desire to have a more personal relationship with their teachers (Johnson, 2007).
Further more they expressed a strong desire to serve their communities, but found themselves community less in the learning environment, or in other words they feel lost in the crowd. Women of both African and Latin decent have and maintain a strong sense of community which stems from a long history of oppression, this sense of community among these groups are evidenced in the socialistic platforms presented by the Black Panther party, and El Plan De Catalan.
These civil rights platforms still reverberate within these communities today, and it is a necessity that we form a sense of community within the STEM educational community that will not only welcome women of color, but encourage them that their communal altruistic beliefs are valued. Women of African decent have been subject to a dichotomous view of either Ewing a bad Siebel, or good a Mamma with no room for both to exist (Rajas, 2009). This deeply embedded belief that as a woman you are either good or bad leads to Johnny’s next problem with the educational system.
Class participation is greatly inhibited for the women in the study who stated that they have been socialized not to draw attention to themselves, they also had ” a secret fear that they alone-?out of 250 students-?were confused” (Johnson, 2007). There fear caused their double consciousness to inhibit them from participating, they were to afraid of what teacher or other students in the class might think of them. There is also a internal struggle. If a professor asks a question in class and a woman of color answers incorrectly, and she can either be bad or good, then she is bad.
If she if forced into either being viewed as good or bad then the third point of contention within the STEM educational community only stands to further isolate women of color students. Within the STEM community it is becoming more and more important to become involved In undergraduate research. Johnson states that a woman entering the lab environment will more than likely be the only female in the lab, and being younger than everybody in the lab exacerbates re fears, as she is asked to do things that are difficult that she may never have done before (Johnson, 2007).
Not all lab experiences are bad, however if the directing facilitator is unaware of the challenges facing women of color in the field it may become a very uninhabitable space for these women. Religion and the scientific community often find themselves divided as conflicting views arise. Science is based upon empirical evidence while religion is based upon personal god/s and with the lack of empirical evidence is usually deemed as dogmatic. In his study Robert Celli discusses these efferent views ‘these views may privilege scientific knowledge over religious knowledge” (Celli, 2012).
You might think that this would tend to further isolate women of color, however in his study Coffee found that these women used their religion as a support system, which assisted them in persisting while pursuing a difficult curriculum (Celli, 2012). We have learned that women of color are isolated within STEM, and while the cross sections between science and religion can be difficult to navigate, we need to foster an environment of acceptance of personal beliefs within the empirical immunity. This will allow women of color to have access to support without being shamed The key to changing the system lies within the students.
The system is changing, however change within the system occurs slowly. In the song Mississippi god dam “Go Slow” in reference to societal changes in the civil rights and equal treatment of African American people in the southern U. S. She indicts “going slow” as an acceptance of the atrocities that have occurred. The STEM community cannot afford to “go slow”, this would mean an acceptance of the current system as an acceptable one. African American ND Latino students make up 59% of college students, while only 16 % of degrees in STEM went to these groups. Going slow” would mean an acceptance of the ongoing sterilization of women of color by force or coercion. It would mean the acceptance of the abuse of women of color as scientific tools for study, as in the case of Henrietta lacks. The system is changing, however we cannot continue to accept the current rate of change. Student of STEM need to unite and realize the inequality that lies within their field of study. Students in STEM need to form a community that celebrates embraces and supports diversity.
The power of the student group would not be limited by the institutions as faculty might be, they can identify faculty that might, though conscious or unconscious actions, be isolating women of color and form a united community that can empower even the most isolated students to not only feel comfortable in their learning environment, but to excel. We can only really change the system by graduating more women of color in STEM, and the results can only be accomplished through the education of students and staff about the educational difficulties that women of color face, the fastest route for this change lies within the student organizations.