This is a difficult post to write. Not because I am not sure about what I think and feel but because many scientists have tried to express their worries with the organization of the Science March. I was not sure if I had something new to add to the conversation until I realized that is part of the problem, the fact that I feel my voice should ask for some sort of permission to speak up so here I go. Before I start I will define my positionally statement. As my qualitative research teachers have taught me, my positionally defines how I see the world and how the world sees me and therefore what I write it’s influenced by it. I am Paulette Vincent-Ruz, and in no particular order, I am racially mestiza and ethnically latinx. I identify as a person of color. I am a cis-heterosexual woman. I suffer from a chronic disease in the thyroid which in turn makes me chronically depressed and also I have anxiety. I am an immigrant and English is my second language. I have a Mexican accent when I speak English. I am on a F1-Student temporal visa. I am also a data and social scientist.
So this is who I am. But what does this have to do with me not going to march? Well a lot of people have complained about the science march organization, they refuse to take a stand on whether the march should be political or not. And how a lot of people are complaining about identity politics defeating the purpose from the march. Sigh… for more on this look at the #marginsci. But on summary many of used feel marginalized and the organizers and other scientists are not helping by basically asking us to do the research for them:
Like there are countless of lit reviews and blog posts on this topic. Do the research and link to them instead of asking us to do the work for you as always to see if you validate our struggles. Also “female” seriously….
And when we complain about the several “isms” we get replies like this one:
This is frankly exhausting and I have enough stress to handle in my life right now trying to validate my existence as a scientist to others.
Here is an example: My research group was with some senior researchers once and I presented something I was working on. At the end of the presentation on of the researchers (a white woman) turned and started asking one of the male PIs details about the statistical analysis I had presented even though the name on the presentation was mine. After the PI clarified I did the analysis she kept probing him for more information until he had to say “Let me be clear Paulette runs all the analysis and she is the one you should be asking”. Later that night at dinner I had to suffer this woman asking me questions about how come me as a Mexican girl became so good with math. Because my parents were not scientists and well I was Mexican…
So Don’t tell me science is not political when….My existence on this country is politicized all the time. Policy makers can’t shut up about how international students bring so much money, struggle with the language or how the work visa offer cannot keep up with the demand. Or even when the current president equates a whole country to rapists and criminals.
Don’t you dare say science is objective and pure of feelings…When black, disabled, native American, immigrant or LGBTQ scientists are purposely marginalized, offered less jobs, and are expected to work at least twice as more as white male scientists for half the recognition.
Sure, you can pretend identity politics shouldn’t affect our job as scientists…..Because you are currently not having to deal with the fact that maybe you will be stuck in this country for 3 more years before you can see your family again. You know because I cannot travel home and risk that a Mexican ban gets drafted while I am on a plane.
Here is the thing people, if after this a month of this Presidency people are exhausted, any other marginalized person is 10 times more tired and scared. And they have the nerve to ask us to march together in a hippy utopia of unity and love next to the ones who dare not speak when senior scientists say micro aggressions on dinners or meetings? Are we supposed to march next to the committees that overlook our accomplishment over our skin color? They seem to want to use our bodies to make the march look bigger and more important but won’t hesitate to discard us the first chance you have. I have no patience or energy for this. If for them the march for science means I cannot talk about these topics or ask for a solution then go ahead march without me. Because my body is not a prop.
Something I forgot to mention… If I were to go to the march I would need to carry my passport in case there is a raid. So far I have not seen any statements on how they are protecting immigrants marching, if they are going to have lawyers and observers to make sure our rights are not violated. Going to the march is putting myself at risk if that is not political I don’t what is…