The Legacy of Scientific Racism

Hi everyone! This past Thursday, October 8th, we attended a presentation entitled “The Legacy of Scientific Racism,” with a lecture from Angela Saini, an accomplised journalist and author, and a panel with her and NC State professors. During the lecture, Saini discussed the history of race science, how race science continues to masquerade as academic research, and some of the medical impacts of buying into race science. In the panel, Saini touched upon how the intersections of race and medicine are playing out internationally with regards to COVID-19, as well as delving into studies on IQ testing and overwhelming genetic similarities between different races.

After the presentation, the attending Franklins convened for a discussion via Zoom. We considered how to approach the legacies of scientists and engineers whose work, some of which we still study today, was used to support eugenics and other racist ideologies. Given that the presentation elaborated more on medical racism, we talked about how racism and other forms of discrimination can be observed in engineering, and how we, as individuals and the NC State community, can combat such biases. Students from various fields such as computer engineering, biomedical engineering, and environmental engineering shared their ideas on how racial and other biases can be systemic in their fields. Not only did we have a productive discussion, but it also felt like a necessary and important conversation to have, both as engineers and in the context of the current pandemic.