News Picks

Friday, December 28, 2007

Political Environment & Green Movement in America

Responding to post on SES: Science, Education, and Society Blog by the Urban Scientist

Urban Scientist,

I just read your comments about AAEA's blog post Political Environment & Green Movement In America. Just a few words in response.

In my experience as an African American involved in the environmental movement, I can say that I have felt welcomed by the various organizations and groups that I have come to know and be associated with. The point that AAEA is making is that the movement has not yet come to the point where minorities are seen in LEADERSHIP positions. As I am still at a very early stage in my career, I can’t say that I’ve personally experienced being passed up or ignored for key leadership positions. But, I hope to someday advance into executive level position within an advocacy, government, or policy organization.

I can say that for years I have felt like an oddball among the African American community because of my interests, education and career choices. It seems to me that blacks who do aspire to higher education to pursue finance, business, law and now, technology fields. All fine, honorable occupations and careers. My gripe with people who advise young minorities in career choices is that they push, pressure, and present these as the only acceptable career choices. As a result, most educated blacks today have a lot of difficulty thinking outside the box when it comes to the world we live in. This is ironic because the point of a college education is to train you to be able to reason, question things and broaden your horizons.

I don’t find I find the remarks made on the blog and the linked article Environmental Groups Ignore Diversity Survey inflammatory and antagonistic at all. Using strong or controversial language to get a point across has always been a part of drawing attention to any worthwhile cause or movement. Don’t be too hard on AAEA and EJ groups. I can understand your position of being a scientist and an educator. But one of the things that I think you miss is that people and societies rarely fit into neat equations where 2+2=4. When it comes to Americans, sometimes 2+2 = something completely different to each of us.