Diversity is our strength

So, dinosaurs still roam. One encounters them occasionally at conferences, senior professors whose lengthy tenure has insulated them from salutary shifts in the broader culture. A sauropod roar recently echoed through the pages of Angewandte Chemie, in an opinion piece, now disappeared, by Tomáš Hudlický. The piece decried 'undeserved' preferences being given to women and minorities, threw a blanket accusation of fraud upon Chinese academics, and lamented the lack of 'unconditional submission' of PhD students and postdocs to their 'masters'.

All people are entitled to their opinions, but opinions such as these paint a 'better world' that bears scrutiny. In this world, minorities and women have no recourse to discrimination, mutual mistrust reigns between nations, and there are no checks upon the power of badly-behaved group leaders over their group members. This is the world of the past, and the direction of progress leads away from it.

We condemn these attitudes unequivocally. Diversity is our strength, as a group and a society. Cross-cultural understanding adds richness to human experience. Submission degrades. Together we can do better than when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Jonathan Nitschke

9 June 2020

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