The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Biological Sciences recently awarded $2.14 million to the American Society of Plant Biologists to be used towards the development of a multi-organization research coordination network called ROOT and SHOOT. Seriously. ROOT stands for—you guessed it--Rooting Out Oppression Together, while SHOOT represents SHaring Our Outcomes Transparently. Because the most important thing about outcomes, other than that they promote diversity, is that they are shared transparently.
The award’s abstract states: “The demographic distribution of scientists, especially those in positions of authority, does not reflect that of the US population.” And it is vitally important that the ranks of plant biologists reflect the exact demographic breakdown of American society at large. There must be the same percentage of Blacks, gays, Latinos, lesbians, transgenders, Hindus, and Green Bay Packer fans in the American Society of Plant Biologists as in America as a whole. It is written.
The NSF also stated that it “recognizes culture change in the biological sciences as an urgent priority and is committed to supporting efforts that use evidence-based practices to remove barriers for individuals historically excluded from science.” Yes, we urgently need, say, rap music and drag queens to permeate plant biologists’ laboratories if we have any hope of advancing mankind’s knowledge of—and relation to—our fabulous flora.
Mary Williams, the principal investigator for the ROOT program, recently announced the approval of the grant in a blog post in which she characterized the program as “bold,” “radical,” and “innovative.” She added, “together we will get to the root of the systematic oppressions that lie within our organizations, so that they can regrow as truly inclusive spaces.”
This kind of word salad stems from the basest virtue signaling impulses of blooming idiots smoking weed-- and drives me up a tree. This supposed desire to branch out will produce no tangible benefits to science or anyone else. The NSF is utterly incapable of producing evidence of oppression or barriers to inclusion. Or of how forced diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE) will advance the cause of science.