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Re: Racial/ethnic minorities in American paleontology

Historically, there have not been many blacks in the
sciences.  When I graduated university in 1967, I knew
of three black geologists in all the branches.

I suspect that the requirements of math through vector
calculus, three semesters of physics with the third
one using the vector calculus, and three semesters of
chemistry including carbonate equilibria had something
to do with it, then and now.  Some of that stuff is
useful, and the tuition supports graduate classes in
the departments offering the required classes, but
those requirements don't encourage students to study

Some geologists/paleontologists kind of drift into the
field after their first exposure during college.  The
situation in the eighties and nineties when the oil
industry was depressed and geology jobs were scarce
made that drifting unattractive.  When there are
stories of a man being arrested for walking naked on
I-10 (a geologist going to Houston with everything he
has left), geology/paleontology is not a major to
consider unless one is already devoted to it.

Finally, the public schools, particularly those in
minority areas, don't expose their students to
geology/paleontology.  The traditional high school
curriculum includes biology, chemistry, and physics,
but not geology/paleontology.  I've heard that the
majority of science teachers don't believe in
evolution, and the campaign to force intelligent
design/creation science into the schools is
particularly destructive to peleontology.  I wouldn't
look to these schools to provide prospective
scientists, particularly geologists/paleontologists. 

Glen Ledingham

--- Brandon Pilcher <trex_kid@hotmail.com> wrote:

> I hope I don't sound racist, but how come most
> American paleontologists I know of are what most
> call "white"? There seem to exist very few black,
> Hispanic, or Asian-American paleontologists. This
> strikes me as particularly odd because American
> paleontologists do not strike me as reactionary or
> racist to unusual degrees. Are American racial
> minorities on average less interested in
> paleontology or science than white Americans?
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