Diversity is more important than merit when it comes to state-funded institutions making available grants to biomedical research labs across the country. The NIH and the CDC are both considering finding non-white faces to add to teams working on respiratory failure worth potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, all in the name of diversity.
Should Identity Politics Dictate Vaccine Research?: Even amid a pandemic, federal science agencies continue to fund anti-scientific diversity initiatives, by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, May 5, 2020
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are not taking the coronavirus epidemic seriously, to judge from their funding priorities. On April 20, those two agencies announced the availability of grants to increase the “diversity” of biomedical research labs. Academic virologists working on respiratory failure, say, could receive hundreds of thousands more taxpayer dollars if they could find a “diverse” student to add to the project. No scientific justification for the new diversity hire is needed; indeed, high school students are eligible, despite the virtual certainty that they will contribute nothing of value. To the contrary, such new hires will be a drag on any medical advance, since the scientists must pledge to mentor the students, taking time and attention away from their scientific research. Those mentees will be chosen not because of their science skills—they need present none—but because of their group’s underrepresentation in STEM.
The premier federal funders of biomedical research, in other words, apparently believe that a pandemic is the perfect moment to focus further on identity politics. If diversity trumps scientific merit in biomedical research, including in immunology and virology, then those research efforts cannot be particularly important, despite the experts’ economy-crushing shutdown mandates.
The CDC, NIH, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have been color- and sex-coding their research grants for years, on the grounds that “scientific innovation,” in the words of the NIH, requires scientists from “diverse backgrounds and life experiences.” But the newly announced “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research” exponentially boost those agencies’ social-justice agenda. Besides the usual preferences for women, blacks, and Hispanics, the following categories now also qualify for diversity funding: being or having been homeless; being or having been in foster care; having been eligible for free school lunches; having no parents with a bachelor’s degree; and having received WIC payments (a food program for low-income mothers) as a child or mother. The claim that being black or female increases one’s chances of achieving a scientific breakthrough was always fanciful, but the idea that having been homeless or having had a mother on welfare is in any way relevant to genome sequencing or cancer treatment is preposterous. The NIH and CDC assert that the scientific enterprise requires a wide range of “viewpoints.” Different minds may in fact approach knotty problems differently. But having been in foster care is simply too remote from the challenge of developing a vaccine to block SARS-CoV-2 to be a valid substitute for scientific expertise.
The CDC may have struggled with coronavirus testing early on, but it and the NIH are fully up to speed when it comes to academic grievance studies. The latest “Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research” place great stock in “intersectionality.” STEM departments hoping for a research supplement will increase their chances by hiring females who are also an underrepresented minority, disabled, or from a “disadvantaged background.” Singly, these categories have nothing to do with scientific merit; they gain no additional relevance from having been aggregated.
The NSF, another federal funder of basic biomedical research, has also increased its identity-based spending during the pandemic. It recently announced that it would be pouring another $29 million of taxpayer dollars into its ADVANCE program. ADVANCE’s premise is that STEM departments are rife with implicit bias against competitively qualified females and underrepresented minorities. Achieving gender and racial “equity” in STEM requires “organizational change,” which grantees can pursue via four supposedly distinct “tracks:” “Institutional Transformation,” “Adaptation,” “Partnership,” and “Catalyst.” (In fact, these largely indistinguishable “tracks” simply represent bureaucratic rhetorical churn.) Successful applications, whether in molecular bioscience or mechanical engineering, will apply “intersectional approaches” to institutional change, recognizing that “gender, race, and ethnicity do not exist in isolation from each other and from other categories of social identity.”
Science, of course, is not the only arena where identity politics has recently surged. The New York City health department requires that its contact tracers understand “institutional and structural racism” and have a “demonstrated commitment” to victims of such racism, i.e., “people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, [and] justice involved persons [translation: criminals].” How such “knowledge” is supposed to affect the collection of health and contact data is unclear. The higher coronavirus death rate for blacks in some cities has been attributed to biased doctors and nurses, as well as to systemic societal injustice. Acknowledging behaviorally driven health disparities is taboo. Keeping essential workers on the job is said to be racist; reopening businesses to nonessential workers is also racist.
Stopping a global pandemic is less important than funding diversity initiatives. Good to know our priorities during this time of national upheaval.
Good to know the priorities of the state when it comes to potentially stopping a pandemic costing the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and impacting the lives of every American.
Diversity is the primary God we must all worship, even in the face of a pandemic taking the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.
Read those last two sentences again a few times. Take your time. We’ll be right here.
Now you understand the truth of just how deep the rot goes.