Today around academia people are stopping their normal work to #ShutDownSTEM, take time to educate ourselves about systemic racism and anti-Blackness and develop detailed action plans to carry forward. There is a lot of discussion around the intersection of transportation and race, though it has mostly been focused in planning and not yet in engineering. Also much of the discussion is taking place in popular online spaces -- social media and websites -- and not academic venues.
If you're looking for some places to start doing that work today, here are some resources to consider.
- The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt In the Modernist City by Eric Avila
- Highway Robbery: Transportation, Racism & New Routes To Equity by Robert D. Bullard, Glenn S. Johnson and Angel O. Torres
- Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture & Resistance by Adonia E. Lugo
- Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble
- Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools For the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin
- The Planner's Beginner Guide to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Danielle Dirksen
- We Can Get There From Here: New Perspectives on Transportation Equity by Alex Karner, Dana Rowangould, and Jonathan London
- "‘Safe Streets’ Are Not Safe for Black Lives" by Dr. Destiny Thomas
- This Twitter thread by Keith Benjamin that collects recent work by Black people, women and allies in the areas of race and equity in urbanism
- "Black Feminism and Radical Planning: New Directions for Disaster Planning Research" by Fayola Jacobs
And as you start to formulate your plan of how you will confront anti-Blackness and racism in the field, consider some of the following:
- Scientific gatekeeping through impact metrics and peer review. "Measuring the effectiveness of scientific gatekeeping" by Siler, Lee and Bero studies how peer-review systems reject new ideas. The lack of diversity on editorial boards has an impact on which papers are accepted for publication.
- Recognize potential racial bias in the works you cite, which may be unintentional but still harmful. Movements like #CiteBlackWomen push researchers to critically examine how they cite and interact with research, and consciously incorporate the work of Black women into their research.
- Consciously make opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of color to work with you on research, to write papers and articles, and to speak and present.
- Pay attention to related work being done outside the field. Great research and innovation is happening in the transportation community outside academia. It is also important to look at how other areas are examining their history and doing similar work to address systemic racism.
If you need to learn about systemic racism and anti-Blackness and how to become anti-racist, here are some place to start:
- Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus from JSTOR
- Anti-Racism Resources for Black Lives Matter is a comprehensive Google Doc linking to places you can donate, reading material, and discussion questions to help you do the personal work necessary to be anti-racist
- The Anti-Racism Reader is a guide by Berkeley librarians based on the work of Dr. Ibram X Kendi who wrote How to be an Antiracist