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This is a page with resources for promoting anti-racism and supporting diversity and inclusion in Mathematics. On this guide, there are five sections, each with a selection of resources and a link to a larger list: Articles & Web Resources, Books, Podcasts, Organizations, and Support at Northeastern.
The resources listed here are not comprehensive, and they inevitably reflect the biases of the various creators. They are intended to provide guidance to a wide variety of resources within Mathematics. This page is by no means exhaustive and will be continuously updated. Please reach out to Luesoni Kuck at firstname.lastname@example.org or use this form to provide feedback and suggestions.
For more anti-racism resources in STEM fields, please check out our Diversity and Anti-Racism in STEM page.
For more anti-racism resources and ways to get involved at Northeastern and beyond, please check out our Anti-Racism guide.
Articles & Web Resources
Below are a selection of articles and web resources related to anti-racism and supporting diversity in STEM. It is not meant to be comprehensive. For more research articles, try searching within the library's databases related to your discipline. You can also try some of the suggested databases on the Anti-Racism Guide.
10 simple rules for building an antiracist lab
An article written by Dr. V. Bala Chaudhary and Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe published in PLoS Computational Biology in October 2020.
A comprehensive list of resources for many audiences from #ShutDownSTEM, an initiative from a multi-identity, intersectional coalition of STEM professionals and academics taking action for Black lives.
A Progressive's Style Guide
This resource was created by Hanna Thomas and Anna Hirsch in 2016 and covers language in areas such as age, disability, environment and science, health, and more.
1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America
A list published in Cell Mentor in December 2020. Two previous lists of 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America were published by Dr. Antentor O. Hinton Jr. in Cell Mentor in February 2020
and June 2020
This is what a scientist looks like
Profiles on 12 scientists from Harvard who were a part of a project called I am a Scientist
. The I am a Scientist
project aims to bring the stories and science of real world researchers to classrooms. There is a resources
page with toolkits, downloadable materials, and more.
500 Queer Scientists
A visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs. Working to ensure the next STEM generation has LGBTQ+ role models; help the current generation recognize they’re not alone; create opportunities for community connections and greater visibility within STEM. Their stories are searchable
Racial Equity Resources: How to Start the Conversation in your Community from Living Room Conversations
A series of resources to help facilitate conversations about race. The page includes conversation guides, educational resources, and recommended readings.
500 Women Scientists
The mission of 500 Women Scientists is to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible and transform society by fighting racism, patriarchy, and oppressive societal norms. Gage
is a resource for journalists, educators, policy makers and others seeking the expertise of women and gender minorities STEMM professionals.
Racial Bias in Scientific Fields
A list of resources that highlights racial bias in the scientific fields.
Below are a selection of podcast episodes, series, and seasons relevant to racism in STEM. This is not a comprehensive list. For more resources, please visit our Anti-Racism Research Subject Guide.
Institutes and Organizations at Northeastern
For other groups and support at Northeastern, please click here to view the Support page on our Anti-Racism Guide.
Institute of Health, Equity, and Social Justice (IHESJR)
Disparities in health and mental health arise and persist as the result of complex individual, societal, and global factors. IHESJR bring together faculty and students from across Northeastern University, along with external research partners, to tackle these complex challenges. IHESJR's teams draw upon a wide range of research methods and interventions, but share a common commitment to promoting health equity and social justice through high-impact, community engaged research.
Northeastern Resource and Cultural Centers:
Student Groups and Organizations:
Below are a selection of books relevant to racism in STEM. This is not a comprehensive list. For more books, search Scholar OneSearch or visit our Anti-Racism Research Subject Guide.
Algorithms of Oppression by A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms Run a Google search for "black girls"--what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance--operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond--understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.
Publication Date: 2018-02-20
Constitutional Calculus by How should we count the population of the United States? What would happen if we replaced the electoral college with a direct popular vote? What are the consequences of allowing unlimited partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts? Can six-person juries yield verdicts consistent with the needs of justice? Is it racist to stop and frisk minorities at a higher rate than non-minorities? These and other questions have long been the subject of legal and political debate and are routinely decided by lawyers, politicians, judges, and voters, mostly through an appeal to common sense and tradition. But mathematician Jeff Suzuki asserts that common sense is not so common, and traditions developed long ago in what was a mostly rural, mostly agricultural, mostly isolated nation of three million might not apply to a mostly urban, mostly industrial, mostly global nation of three hundred million. In Constitutional Calculus, Suzuki guides us through the U.S. Constitution and American history to show how mathematics reveals our flaws, finds the answers we need, and moves us closer to our ideals. From the first presidential veto to the debate over mandatory drug testing, the National Security Agency's surveillance program, and the fate of death row inmates, Suzuki draws us into real-world debates and then reveals how math offers a superior compass for decision-making. Relying on iconic cases, including the convictions of the Scottsboro boys, League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, and Floyd v. City of New York, Suzuki shows that more math can lead to better justice, greater fairness, and a more stable democracy. Whether you are fascinated by history, math, social justice, or government, your interest will be piqued and satisfied by the convincing case Suzuki makes.
Publication Date: 2015-03-01
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family--past and present--is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family--especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
Publication Date: 2010
Radical equations : math literacy and civil rights At a time when popular solutions to the educational plight of poor children of color are imposed from the outside-national standards, high-stakes tests, charismatic individual saviors-the acclaimed Algebra Project and its founder, Robert Moses, offer a vision of school reform based in the power of communities. Begun in 1982, the Algebra Project is transforming math education in twenty-five cities. Founded on the belief that math-science literacy is a prerequisite for full citizenship in society, the Project works with entire communities-parents, teachers, and especially students-to create a culture of literacy around algebra, a crucial stepping-stone to college math and opportunity.
Publication Date: 2002
Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice by Educators increasingly recognise the important role that mathematics teaching plays in helping students to understand and overcome social injustice and inequality. This collection of original articles is the start of a compelling conversation among some of the leading figures in critical and social justice mathematics, a number of teachers and educators who have been inspired by them and who have inspiring stories of their own to tell--and any reader interested in the intersection of education and social justice. An important read for every educator, this book shows how to teach mathematics so that all students are given the tools they need to confront issues of social justice today and in the future. Included in The Top 75 New York Times Best-Selling Education Books of 2013.
Publication Date: 2012
Weapons of Math Destruction by Longlisted for the National Book Award | New York Times Bestseller
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life and threaten to rip apart our social fabric. We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives--where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance--are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a "toxic cocktail for democracy." Welcome to the dark side of Big Data. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.
Publication Date: 2016
Below are a selection of organizations to support students, researchers, and faculty in STEM as well as groups dedicated to social justice and anti-racist efforts. This is not a comprehensive list. To find many more organizations, click here.
Reading, listening, and supporting the STEM-related organizations and initiatives included on this page are a great start.
Want to do more? Check out this page for other ways you can fight racism, including voting, volunteering, keeping up with the conversation, attending campus events, plus training and organizations beyond STEM that you can get involved with.