structural racism

National Academies Release Report on Antiracism in Science Organizations

On February 14, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held a webinar marking the release of a report on Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations. The report aims to identify structural barriers to participation in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) by minoritized individuals and provides recommendations on how the scientific community can instigate meaningful changes to remove these barriers and instill principles of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI). The report offers the following recommendations to the scientific community: The report can be read in full on the NASEM website.

NIH Releases UNITE Progress Report for 2021-2022

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released the inaugural progress report covering fiscal years (FY) 2021-2022 for the UNITE Initiative, the agency-wide program comprised of five committees charged with identifying and addressing structural racism within the NIH research community and the greater biomedical research enterprise (see previous COSSA coverage). This progress report is the first such report on the UNITE Initiative and aims to describe NIH’s actions since the Initiative’s establishment in 2021 in identifying and addressing structural racism as well as areas that still need to be addressed. The report cites actions that have been taken to address…

Biden Administration Executive Actions: Equity & Inclusion

Another early Biden Administration executive order rescinded various Trump Administration actions that attempted to push back against perceived “political correctness” by actions prohibiting trainings and other activities that touch on white privilege, structural inequality, implicit bias, and other supposedly “divisive” concepts based on decades of social science research. President Biden’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government goes beyond simply revoking the Trump Administration policies and instead sets a policy of actively working to improve racial equity government-wide. The Executive Order outlines a systematic approach for accurately assessing “whether agency policies and…

ASA Webinar Corrects the Record on “Race and Sex Stereotyping” Executive Actions

The American Sociological Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, held a webinar on October 20 to respond to recent White House actions prohibiting trainings and other activities that touch on white privilege, structural inequality, and other supposedly “divisive” concepts (see previous coverage). The webinar “Sociology Speaks: Experts Explain the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” featured three sociologists, Karyn Lacy of the University of Michigan, Bandana Purkayastha of the University of Connecticut, and Shelley Correll of Stanford University, who corrected the misrepresentations of these concepts in the orders and memoranda and explained how they have contributed to a…

AAAS Forum Focuses on COVID Impacts, Systemic Racism in Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual Science & Technology Policy Forum in a virtual format on October 13-14. The forum featured two days of panels and lectures focused on pressing policy issues facing the sciences. The majority of the first day’s sessions focused on how COVID-19 has impacted science and innovation, the essential role science has played in responding to the pandemic, and lessons that can be drawn from this experience to strengthen the science and technology enterprise going forward. The second day featured a number of sessions on confronting the dark history of…

Administration Expands Ban on “Promotion” of Structural Racism/Sexism to Contractors, Grantees

As part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to crack down on perceived “political correctness” in government, President Trump issued an executive order on September 22 to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” This order expands on a recent memorandum from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that required federal agencies to cease funding for training that addresses critical race theory and white privilege (see previous coverage). The executive order applies this prohibition to federal contractors and grant recipients. In addition, it expands the original OMB memo beyond employee training to require that federal…

White House Directs Federal Agencies to Defund Race-Related Trainings for Federal Employees

On September 4, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum calling for federal agencies to cease funding training sessions for federal employees addressing critical race theory and white privilege. The memo alleges that “executive branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” citing unnamed press reports as evidence that “employees across the executive branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism.’” The…

Kenneth Prewitt Answers “Why Social Science?”

This week’s Why Social Science? guest post features an article by Kenneth Prewitt, President of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University, who argues that the social sciences can better incorporate ethical frameworks in order to end structural racism. Read it here and subscribe. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

AAAS Issues Draft Plan to Address Systemic Racism in the Sciences

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has released the first of three draft plans intended to address systemic racism in the sciences, Holding up a Mirror: Demographic Representation in AAAS Functions that Advance Careers. The plan outlines AAAS’s commitment and proposed actions to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion within its operations. Forthcoming draft plans will focus on AAAS programs and initiatives to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and engineering and on AAAS actions to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion with the AAAS as an organization. They are expected to be released by mid-September. Comments and…


Past Newsletters



Browse 40 years of the COSSA Washington Update.