Throughout this past year, racial tension has been high due to events around the country. While our country has been in a place that it has never been before, it helps reveal some of the biggest character traits of our country. Struggle does not build character, struggle reveals it. During the racial turmoil going on in our country, the different STEM fields began to really take notice of the racial disparity and inequality in their fields. Racial minorities in STEM fields, especially medicine can see and understand how the field is one of the most racist institutions in our country.
People of Color in STEM
The lack of racial diversity in STEM fields is a huge issue for not only the people who are working in the field but also for the people they are researching for. It is difficult for the people working in the field due to discrimination, which makes it much more difficult to attract other people of color to the field. As a result, people of color are extremely underrepresented in these fields. To put it into perspective, 62% of blacks in STEM have experienced discrimination due to their race compared to 13% of whites in the field.
How COVID-19 is affecting non-white Americans
During this COVID-19 pandemic, non-white Americans are between 2 and 2.6 times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans. That study was done and based on nothing but race. The virus does not look at your race before deciding to kill you or let you live. The virus has no preference. This study shows that the disparity in medical attention between non-white and white Americans is grave and it is killing people and no one seemed to be talking about it until recently.
What is the solution?
The two most simple answers to this question are education and equal opportunity. If we can educate young children who are going to grow up to be the next generation of people in health care and people in medicine about racial equality and racial injustice then the problem will cease to exist. In the meantime, if people of color and other minorities had the same opportunities to study medicine and help people that look like them would definitely slow this problem down tremendously as well.
KARSH STEM Scholars program
The KARSH STEM Scholars program is a great example of education and equal opportunity. This is a program at Howard University that gives aspiring African American STEM scholars an opportunity to pursue their passion no matter what economical background they have or what race they are? The program’s goal is to produce leaders in all of the STEM fields and has been very successful thus far. Programs like this make a tremendous push to close this gap that we are seeing throughout the different STEM fields.