War On Science: Feminist Researchers Say Citing Research By Straight, White Men Promotes ‘System Of Oppression’
If you’re a feminist, everything about modern society promotes injustice in some way, shape or form. The latest outrage-du-jour is from a pair of “feminist scientists” claiming those who cite work from straight, white men are promoting a “system of oppression.”
According to the Washington Post:
Geographers Carrie Mott and Daniel Cockayne argued in a recent paper that doing so also perpetuates what they call “white heteromasculinism,” which they defined as a “system of oppression” that benefits only those who are “white, male, able-bodied, economically privileged, heterosexual, and cisgendered.” (Cisgendered describes people whose gender identity matches their birth sex.)
Mott, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Cockayne, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, argued that scholars or researchers disproportionately cite the work of white men, thereby unfairly adding credence to the body of knowledge they offer while ignoring the voices of other groups, like women and black male academics. Although citation seems like a mundane practice, the feminist professors argue that citing someone’s work has implications on his or her ability to be hired, get promoted and obtain tenured status, among others.
“This important research has drawn direct attention to the continued underrepresentation and marginalization of women, people of color. … To cite narrowly, to only cite white men … or to only cite established scholars, does a disservice not only to researchers and writers who are othered by white heteromasculinism …,” they wrote in the paper published recently in the journal Gender, Place and Culture.
Campus Reform was the first to report on the study published by Mott and Cockayne, and asked the researchers if it were possible straight, white men were often cited because they represent a substantial portion of academia. Unsurprisingly, basic arithmetic proved unconvincing.
Per Campus Reform:
Campus Reform inquired as to whether the citational disparity might simply reflect the relative preponderance of white men in the field, but Cockayne rebuffed that suggestion, saying, “the point we are trying to make is that important research done by traditionally marginalized voices…is often ignored by ‘mainstream’ and very well-established scholars—which means, in geography at least, white male Marxists.”The professors conclude their paper by suggesting that researchers practice “conscientious engagement” in their citations “as a way to self-consciously draw attention to those whose work is being reproduced.”Specifically, they urge their fellow scholars to “think through how many women, people of color, early career scholars, graduate students, and non-academics are cited,” saying this will call attention to “the power dynamics that are unintentionally reproduced therein.”