On Racism and Sexism and the Benefit of the Doubt

I show this video clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart when I teach introductory anthropology classes on race and racism. It captures one subtle way race and racism works in US society today, rather than the older paradigmatic examples of Jim Crow laws and the segregation of society. Plus it’s funny, so students often tune into what is being said even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’m posting the clip here because I think it’s relevant to the debate happening online about gender, race, and class in the world of science blogging. Who gets the benefit of the doubt? Who doesn’t?

Update: For better or worse, a case has come up which illustrates “the benefit of the doubt” vividly – Danielle Lee, who didn’t get it on Friday from Scientific American, and Bora Zivkovic, who runs the Scientific American blog network and who has confirmed allegations of “inappropriate” behavior with at least one woman that date back to incidents that happened over a year ago.

Back to original: And for those looking for a good round-up of developments on what has happened with the case of Dr. Danielle Lee, Scientific American blogs, and #standingwithDNLee, please see the post by Maryn McKenna, On Clarity, Dignity, Apologies and Moving Forward.

Finally, this post from neuroscientist student Rim In the end, let’s make sure something good comes out gives an important point-of-view piece on why these controversies matter.

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