A group of scientists say black Americans are scared to use hammers needed for geology because of fear they will be killed by police.
Top geologists condemned systemic white supremacy in the field of geoscience, which concerns the study of earth and rocks, in a manifesto published at the scientific journal Nature Communications. The academics claim black people are hesitant to take up geology because they fear being killed while handling basic geology tools as a result of the stereotype associated with black people "holding objects."
"As the geosciences strive to be more accessible, the community must recognize that BIPOC and other marginalized geoscientists are not always safe in geoscience spaces," the article said. "Holding objects (e.g., a rock hammer) has been viewed as ‘suspicious' and, continues to be, used as a reason to call the police on Black people, which can lead to the death of Black individuals, entirely because of racial profiling and an unjustified fear of Black people."
Geology rock hammers, roughly 16 oz. handheld hammers featuring traditional metal faces and a picked head, are typically used by geologists to break open rocks to study their composition.
The manifesto, which was spearheaded by Fort Hays State University geology professor Hendratta Ali and signed by 20 academics, asserts that the lack of black geologists demonstrates the bigoted roots of the science. They called on colleagues to quash the racist "expectations around manners, clothing, hair, professional attire, language, and diction" in an effort to boost diversity in the field.
"Racism has led to the geosciences becoming one of the least diverse among all science and engineering fields," they wrote. "Racism thrives in geoscience. Geoscience organizations function alongside the same racist ideologies and practices shaping society."
Christopher Sanfilippo, a lead researcher for the National Association of Scholars' Sciences Project, said the push for intersectionality in hard sciences will hurt America's scientific stature.
"Its spread will cripple America’s capacity to recruit the best scientists. Instead of the bold thinkers good science requires, we will have ideologues and careerist time-servers. Worse, it will drive away foreign students and professors, who will have no interest in coming to an America crippled by requirements to swear allegiance to untruth," Sanfilippo told the Washington Free Beacon. "Concerns about diversity often seem to eclipse concerns about the actual science itself…. The standards, for now, are still largely meritocratic. But the rationale that underlies a meritocratic system is being chipped away at by critical theory."
Sanfilippo said the rise of intersectional science does not bode well for the future of the American academy. "In short, if the movement continues unhindered, American hegemony in the sciences may be jeopardized," he said.
Neither Ali nor the journal responded to requests for comment.