The Lowdown Hub

Faces behind White Coats, Black Scientists, Connecting Past and Present Forms of Racism in Science.

Scientists study often consider their work and their institutions unbiased. After all, scientists rely on a rigorous set of experiments to test hypotheses and arrive at conclusions that inform what the rest of us know to be facts in the world.

The egregious violence used against Black people by police in the U.S. is paralleled in science, too. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study observed untreated syphilis in nearly 600 Black men for 40 years to develop a vaccine for the virus. The majority of the Black men were left untreated, creating hardships for multiple generations.

And yet history demonstrates how scientific practices have been used to justify systemic racism. Further, the exclusion of Black scientists from institutions, the failure to recognize the contributions of Black scientists, and the lack of culturally relevant scientific curricula perpetuate the underrepresentation of Black people and their perspectives in science.

Dr. Dorothy Vaughan