While this may sound benign, it's actually revolutionary, challenging core fundamentals of traditional power structures within academic science and engineering.
Why should we spend time and energy to increase the representation of minorities in STEM fields? Answers to these questions typically fall along at least one of three lines, depending on which audience the persuasion is being directed (and persuasion is necessary, as the inclusion of minorities within STEM has not come without a struggle):
- equality of opportunity
- because the STEM workforce can not be filled by white males alone, therefore minorities and women are need to fill this role as well
- because diverse perspectives will help further the goals of scientific inquiry and technical innovation
Equality of opportunity alone is not enough to move beyond what Avery Gorden refers to as liberal racism ("The Work of Corporate Culture: Diversity Management," 1995). It simply admits the previously unauthorized to participate in a system without changing that system or acknowledging that changing the system is indeed part of the goal of inclusion.