UK Research Excellence Framework: Equality Training Materials Now Available

I don’t think we’ve linked to these before: the Equality Challenge Unit‘s training materials on equality and diversity for the REF process are now available, including a full trainer handbook, customisable powerpoint slides, and scenarios and activities for discussion. Although these resources relate to a very specific UK process, the scenarios might be of wider interest.

There are other useful materials on equality and diversity in research careers on the Vitae ‘Every Researcher Counts‘ page: see links to ‘resources’ and ‘case studies’.

Update: I forgot to say that the Every Researcher Counts page also has a link to the Premia project, which gathered views from disabled postgraduate researchers (aka grad students) and developed guidance materials aimed at helping to improve the quality of their experience.


A small tale of consciousness-raising

We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.

The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.

“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.”

The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked.

“So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”

From here.

(Thanks, Mr Jender!)

Knitting and Science

Here at FP, we love what happens when traditional womanly crafting skills meet science (or beards). So here’s another to add to the series – sadly, I’m not sure where it’s from. A friend randomly posted this on Facebook. But behold, and enjoy…Image 

UPDATED TO ADD: The pattern can be found (and purchased) on Ravelry. The designers name is Alana Noritake. Thanks to Marianne for supplying this info!

Adrienne Rich, 1929-2012

We mourn the loss of Adrienne Rich, radical, lesbian, feminist, poet, and essayist.  UPDATED: Since the LA Times obituary neglects to mention her lesbianism, I have been requested to reprint one of Rich’s more powerful and memorable quotes, from the forward to On Lies, Secrets and Silence:

It is … crucial that we understand lesbian/feminism in the deepest, most radical sense: as that love for ourselves and other women, that commitment to the freedom of all of us, which transcends the category of “sexual preference” and the issue of civil rights, to become a politics of asking women’s questions, demanding a world in which the integrity of all women—not a chosen few—shall be honored and validated in every respect of culture.

It seems most appropriate to reprint, then, her poem, “For the Dead.”  All of her poems are available here.

For the Dead

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight

Adrienne Rich

Trayvon Martin and Dred Scott

Another excellent article.

And this is what brings us to the terrifying present, a period some 155 years later, but during which time it appears there are still far too many in the white community (and even some among persons of color) who would return us to the logic of Dred Scott. This they make clear from their hateful and bigoted musings about Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old black male who made the mistake, in their mind, of forgetting that he had no rights which white men (or even Latino white-male-wannabes like George Zimmerman) need respect. No right to go where he pleased, “without molestation,” no right to be treated like a citizen, indeed like a human being. No rights to due process, to peaceably assemble on a public street, to free speech (which he foolishly tried to exercise by asking his pursuer, Zimmerman, why he was following him), to be free from cruel and unusual punishment (such as extra-judicial execution for being black in a hoodie and thus arousing the suspicions of a paranoid negrophobe). No rights at all.
And not even the well-established right to self-defense — the very right Zimmerman would now claim for himself, but which apparently did not extend to the young man whose life he ended. And so we hear (whether true or not — it remains to be seen) that Zimmerman had a broken nose and head injuries, that Martin attacked him: never mind that Zimmerman took out after Martin, that Zimmerman accosted Martin and asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood, that, according to witnesses, it was Zimmerman who pinned Martin down. We are supposed to feel sorry for the shooter because even in the light most favorable to him, his victim might have actually fought back! Imagine that, fighting back against a total stranger who attacks you. That Martin would still be alive and Zimmerman would never have suffered the indignity of a broken septum, nor the anger of millions aimed in his direction had he just kept his stupid ass in his SUV like the police told him to do apparently matters not. Because, as some wish to remind us, Trayvon Martin had been suspended for school on suspicion of marijuana possession (an allegation so weak that he received no citation for the incident); and because Trayvon didn’t have a receipt for those Skittles he had in his possession when he was murdered (as if any 17 year old asks for a receipt when they purchase candy like they were going to need it for an expense report); and because Trayvon posed like a gangster on Facebook. Oh no, sorry, wrong Trayvon, but racists are like the Honey Badger–they don’t give a shit.