A Statement from Critica
To the extent that we scientists humanize our work, science can take us a bit of the way in helping solve the very long-standing lack of racial justice in the United States. Epidemiology tells us, for instance, that black Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, climate change, and air pollution. Economics research shows how vast income inequality among the races in the U.S. is.. Research in neuroscience, psychology, and sociology help us understand how racial bias forms and the strategies for overcoming it.
If our work at Critica teaches us anything, however, it is that science is never value neutral. Physical laws and chemical processes may be value neutral, but the human beings who study, experiment, and interpret them are never without impact on the work of science.
That is why it is imperative that Critica affirm its commitment to the deeper humanization of society in the face of an overwhelming moral wrong. Our Board and Officers are united in condemning what we are learning is widespread police misconduct, something we should have known long before the tragic death of George Floyd. We applaud those who have joined the international protest movement against racial injustice and add our voice to its principles and demands. We pledge to do more within our own organization and ourselves to overcome the crippling biases to which we are all subject, however aware or unaware of them we may be.
It is of vital importance to us that whenever we are wrong, we acknowledge our mistake and fix it. That policy usually applies to a scientific belief; if we ever back something that is incorrect, we hope we will be ready and willing to correct our error when the evidence steers us in that direction. Overcoming racial prejudice is more difficult because no matter how well-meaning we are, no person is immune to it. Our Board and Officers are entirely composed of white people; we recognize the critical need to be diverse. We commit to understanding how we created a monoracial institution, developing greater awareness of ourselves as racial beings, and becoming a place that is authentically welcoming to people of color who are interested in Critica’s mission and vision.
This organization is founded upon the principles of a book called Denying to the Grave.It is no small irony that this could describe so much of white America’s response to racism. It offers the tools to help people use science in their best interest and for society’s greater good. Our skill set is designed to help us overcome specious, unconscious beliefs such as implicit racial bias. Our moral and scientific lives require that we use them now.