Surviving as an underrepresented minority scientist in a majority environment

Very informative read.

After I arrived at Duke in 1998, I was inducted into many initiatives to help diversify the scientific workforce, including the push for women in science. I wondered, as a man, what did I know about women? But there was an assumption that a person of an underrepresented minority background knew more of what was needed for any minority to succeed, including women in science, relative to white males. There may be some truth to this, but certainly not an absolute truth. I began to realize that as a young professor at Duke University, and within the scientific community generally, I was being unintentionally asked to take on two jobs: 1) be the best scientist I could be, as expected of everyone else; and 2) help cure society’s racial disease, unlike everyone else. After two years, I made the conscious decision that I could not do both jobs well at the same time. I decided on job 1, to pursue being the best scientist I could be, and only taking on those few tasks for job 2 in which I felt I could make the biggest impact.