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Today’s blacklisted American: American Geophysical Union rejects candidates for awards because they are white

Discriminated against in Seattle
Eagerly discriminated against by the
American Geophysical Union

“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” An awards committee of the American Geophysical Union, assigned to give fellowships to scientists of note, decided to reject all the candidates this year because they happened to be white.

Five of the nation’s top ice scientists found themselves in a conundrum. They’d been tasked with a formidable job: reviewing candidates for the American Geophysical Union’s fellows program, the most prestigious award given by the world’s largest earth and space science society. But when the group looked at its list of candidates, all nominated by peers, it spotted a problem.

Every nominee on the list was a white man.

….“That was kind of a bit of a showstopper for me,” said Helen Fricker, a glaciologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the five committee members. Fricker and her colleagues — Jeff Dozier, Sinead Farrell, Bob Hawley, Don Perovich and Michele Koppes — represented the AGU’s cryosphere section, comprising scientists focused on the Earth’s snow and ice. The group was just one of about two dozen different committees, all reviewing their own lists of candidates.

The homogeneous pool of nominees didn’t sit right. … So the committee members made an uncomfortable decision. They declined to recommend any nominees at all.

Let me make this very clear: They bluntly rejected the nominees for only one reason: their race. If this isn’t outright bigotry and racism I do not know what is. And if you don’t believe me, you should read the public letter these committee members wrote explaining their decision. In it they say:

Looking closely at the number of nominations received a concerning trend emerges (figure 1). In 2016, fully 45% of nominees were female. In 2021, this number was 6%. The intervening years showed a dramatic and disturbing decrease. Of course it should be acknowledged that all of the numbers involved here are small but the trend is troubling and one that we feel must be urgently reversed.

We realize that our decision means that excellent scientists who have done nothing wrong and who were strong candidates for recommendation by the Cryosphere section were denied the support of the Cryosphere Fellows committee at the AGU Union Fellows level this year.

Because not enough women and minorities had been recommended, something had to be done. Rather than recommend that women and minorities up their game so that they deserve recognition, these scientific bigots instead denied an award to qualified scientists because they happened to be white. And their plan for the future?

The Cryosphere Executive Committee will convene a Canvassing Committee, with the charge of ensuring a strong and diverse pool of nominations, not just for AGU Fellowship, but for all of AGU’s honors and awards.

Note that the plan isn’t aimed at helping minorities and women do better so they might qualify for the awards. It is instead aimed at guaranteeing a quota of those minorities and women as nominees. Actual achievement can go to hell.

I think all scientists at the AGU should now identify as either black or female or gay. That will get them nominated and awarded. Who cares whether their research work is ground-breaking or brilliant. It’s only their race, sex, or minority ethnicity that counts!

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  • I would suggest the membership of AGU renounce their participation. Otherwise; part of the problem.

  • wayne

    “Absurdistan The Music Video” (2018)

  • Questioner

    What strikes me is the fact that many of the top positions (e.g., primary investigator) in new space-probe projects at NASA and its associated universities are held now by women. I don’t have statistics, but I still ask: Weren’t the best ones taken here because they didn’t want white men, as in the many cases that Mr. Zimmermann presents to us here almost every day?

  • Herp McDerp

    They could have employed a more “equitable” solution: add three more candidates to the list of five — one a woman, one a BIPOC, and one LGBTwhatever. Then evaluate the research contributions of all eight candidates. I’ll give good odds that one of the original five would have won, if judged by objective criteria.

    The committee would never do that, though, because ideological purity would have required one of the three added candidates to win … but based on visibly inferior work.

  • Andrew X

    Ever it has been thus. The Left cannot elevate, they can only chop down in the quest for “equity”. Make everyone poorer, everyone less rewarded, everyone less free.

    EVER it has been thus. Forever it shall be.

  • IMPedie


  • Cotour

    Andrew X:

    I love what you wrote, is that an original? :

    “Ever it has been thus. The Left cannot elevate, they can only chop down in the quest for “equity”. Make everyone poorer, everyone less rewarded, everyone less free. EVER it has been thus. Forever it shall be.”

    I have just quoted you in communicating with a confused Liberal Democrat who intuitively understands what you wrote but is having trouble making sense of it all and is coming to me asking questions in order to explain things so they make some sense to her.

    Thank you.

  • Urkiddingme

    And we wonder why China has gained the advantage in the hypersonic missile launch? SMH- for being so “intelligent” these people are pretty dumb. They will still be braying about “equality” as the Chinese spread their authoritarian society on the world.

  • Cotour


    Tell me what conclusions you can come to based on what it is that you see coming out of the Biden / Democrat party machine agenda in the interests of America and the American people. The banking system is the foundation of the American peoples freedom to make and spend their money as they see fit. The Democrats do not agree with that proposal, obviously.

    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, noted that Omarova wrote her university thesis on Marxism while at Moscow State University in 1989, titled, “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.”

    “In a recent paper “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” she has proposed an “overtly radical reform” plan for the Federal Reserve to “effectively end banking as we know it”, to offer consumer bank accounts and become “the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a modern economy, calling this plan “ultimately a more pragmatic and sensible response to the challenge of democratizing finance.” She has advocated expanding the Federal Reserve’s mandate to include the price levels of “systemically important financial assets” as well as worker wages. ”

    What does this Marxist acolyte propose? National / Federal absolute control over banking and your bank account. Do you think that is a good idea? How much central government control do you desire in your life? What does a government official trained in Russia and graduated from Moscow University who is totally immersed in Marxist doctrine bring to America?

    You have common sense, does this make sense to you as an American? Tell me what you think.

  • Arthur Glunt

    Anytime that you’ve chosen a person over another based on race or gender versus performance you’ve successfully disenfranchised the unchosen.

  • Ever it has been thus. The Left cannot elevate, they can only chop down in the quest for “equity”. Make everyone poorer, everyone less rewarded, everyone less free.

    The Progressive approach is much like what control engineers refer to as dominant-pole compensation … basically, slowing everything down to the point that the slowest component can easily keep up with the rate of change. You can only get away with that in a society by leaving a lot of productive behavior untapped … and even then, only for a limited time.

  • Cotour, Omarova sounds more like Lin Jinyue (the lead designer of the CCP social-credit-score system) … or Revelation chapter 13 … than it sounds like common sense to my less-than-elite ears.

    But it is not unexpected – Omarova is promoting just one characteristic of the terminal stage of social technocracy, where all decision-making is vested in the Pedestaled Elite. And this Souper Genius will be speaking to a lot of receptive ears, that believe that they themselves are neither qualified nor worthy to make such decisions.

  • BLSinSC

    I just read the Principles for the Communist Takeover of the USA. It’s uncanny how something entered into the Congressional Record in 1963 reveals the political platform that the democrats have utilized! One article had comments from 2002 that they couldn’t believe the level of SUCCESS the dems have had easing the USA into communism. Those 2002 commenters were just pikers compared to TODAY! The turnip in the White House has moved full steam ahead on completing the conversion to communism. Only the greatest people in the world can stop it! Are you one of them???

  • Cotour

    Man Im getting a lot of insightful, thoughtful concepts here today.

    “dominant-pole compensation … basically, slowing everything down to the point that the slowest component can easily keep up with the rate of change. “

  • Federal absolute control over banking and your bank account.
    That ship has long since sailed. Perhaps not absolute “control”, but absolute “reporting” has been around my entire life.

    I just sold a house and wrote a check to move the proceeds from one account to another. I did it because I’ll probably never again be able to write such a huge check and I wanted the fun of doing it. I’m sure IRS computers around the country started beeping alerts. I was tempted to use a suitcase full of cash, but didn’t want to push my luck – both with the IRS and driving that far with that much cash.

  • Casual Observer

    Soooo……they discriminated against folks for their skin color. Straight up racism, institutional, no?

  • Edward

    Oh, the irony. A once-respected scientific association now believes the science is less important than the politics. All hail the Lysenkoism.

    I once worked with a several scientists who were members of the AGU, back when the AGU was respectable. Quite a bit of space science is relevant to this organization.

  • Zhuk86

    The cancer of identity politics and affirmative action rears its head again. All thanks to the Democrat party and the US Supreme Court.

  • markedup2 wrote: “I was tempted to use a suitcase full of cash, . . .”

    I bought a vehicle well into 5-figures this year, and paid cash, because, as you noted, it was a fun thing to do. Had to break up the transaction, though, because of the $10,000 limit.

  • wayne

    ya know, we’ve had this since 1970:

    “IRS Form 4789 Currency Transaction Report”

    “Multiple transactions must be treated as a single transaction if the financial institution
    has knowledge that (1) they are by or on behalf of the same person, and (2) they result in either currency received (Cash In) or currency disbursed (Cash Out) by the financial institution
    totaling more than $10,000 during any one business day.”

  • wayne

    Eminem –
    “White America” (2002)

  • EHS

    A trophy for everyone!! Let’s reward everyone so that the reward means nothing. What about the dumb, stupid whites.. should they not be given the Medal of Honor? The blacks wouldn’t be given a reward because they are above “racism”.

    The full utilization of what the Almighty gives you is out!! It is true.. not all humans havde the same gifts. SORRY.

  • Slim Shady: is that all you got?

    Yeah; trash-talked on a nerd space site.

    White America
    I look just like you
    White America
    Me and my crew

    Poppin’, with a furious program
    Urban to the suburb
    And kickin’ pretenders to the curb

    My creds,
    There’s no need to check
    I’m flambosting my flow
    With ruthless effect

  • Edward

    From the article:

    Candidates, typically middle- or senior-level scientists, are first nominated by peers.

    It looks like the problem that the AGU has is not in the selection process but in the nomination process. They don’t have the variety that they wanted because that variety was not nominated. So, why is the selection process not providing the variety of candidates that they want?

    This has me wondering, with this topic being a national concern for over half a century, the length of a career, why is this only now becoming a topic of concern at the AGU? All the time that these scientists have been in their careers, this has been a topic in our society, so this is not new to them. Since this is being treated as a big deal, this year, this must be the first time in decades that this has happened. Over the course of fifty years, and among a number of sections all selecting candidates, isn’t it statistically likely that there will be years in which the majority race and majority sex in the field would be the selected candidates? It is like getting four-of-a-kind at poker. It may be rare, but I have seen it happen (unfortunately in someone else’s hand, not mine).

    “We realize that our decision means that excellent scientists who have done nothing wrong and who were strong candidates for recommendation by the Cryosphere section were denied the support of the Cryosphere Fellows committee at the AGU Union Fellows level this year,” the committee added. “What we hope is that this moment will serve as both a time to reflect on community engagement and a call to action.”

    What action do they want called? The equivalent of the elimination of the four-of-a-kind winning hand?

    So they are punishing excellent scientists who have done nothing wrong for a problem that either they should have taken care of in another way or that does not exist but appears to show up on rare occasion.

    Now that the bias against whites and men is recognized and announced, the question is what will the AGU do about it?

    “I think that the committee’s response was bold, but it definitely got the conversation started, and for that reason alone I think that it was a great reaction to the nomination pool,” said Melisa Diaz, a postdoctoral scholar and geochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “When you have a nomination pool that consists of one very specific demographic, how can you actually tell that that demographic is truly the best in our field?”

    I’m beginning to wonder just how smart these scientists are. Maybe we aren’t doing very well at training our students how to think, just what to think, so that is all they wind up thinking about. Perhaps the demographic is not the “best” demographic, but if it is the largest demographic it is likely to show up more often — analogous to that poker reference.

    What an interesting way to introduce confirmation bias into science. There they are, smart enough to get PhDs, but they don’t recognize confirmation bias when it is in their own award system. Or should I call it anti-confirmation bias, since they are refusing to confirm the very specific demographic of white men. One has to wonder about the papers that all these scientists write. How much confirmation bias do they fail to recognize as they peer-review each other’s papers?

    One also has to wonder why the race and the sex of the nominees are known to the committees making the decisions. This sets the conditions for bias to enter the process, as demonstrated by the Cryosphere Fellows committee.

    If awards nominators or selection committees are composed primarily of homogeneous groups — for instance, white people or men — that can lead to an unintentional skew in the people who are nominated or selected for awards.

    So, doesn’t that mean that if the selection committees are composed of diverse groups that a different unintentional skew may be introduced? We are already reading a report based upon a post-nomination skew, and this one is most definitely an intentional skew. A skew that they are so proud of that they announce it and brag about it in the article and the Cryosphere Fellows committee letter.

    “We went out and we found all the letter writers and did all this work, and it worked: Women started winning,” she said.

    Look at that! An intentional bias that skewed the results. Perhaps with all these women winning, someone went out and found a bunch of men, and that may be why all they got were men, this year. Or is there a requirement that the bias and skew go only one way? This is suggested by the refusal to accept the men who were nominated this year and the bragging about increasing the number of women in that other year. That would be a bias indeed.

    These committees can also help tackle the issue of implicit bias, she added.

    Who is going to tackle the issue of explicit bias?

    “It’s not that men don’t see women doing good work or white people don’t see people of color doing good work,” she said. “But people need to be pushed to do it, and when they do it they might think only of the superstar who’s already won seven awards and published 10 Nature papers. And the truth is there’s a lot of people making a lot of impact who aren’t those people.”

    Is she saying that the others are just as good as the superstar? Is she suggesting that the AGU should be celebrating mediocrity rather than excellence? Not only are they biased against white men, but they are biased against excellence, too.

    This is beginning to sound like Obama, when he said that people who started businesses weren’t any smarter and didn’t work any harder than the rest of us and denied that those entrepreneurs built their own businesses. As Obama said: “Someone else built that.”

    “Science is so collaborative now,” said Diaz, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist. “So does it really make sense to give awards to a single person? They’re not doing the work by themselves; there are students and postdocs and collaborators and friends. So I think we really need to think about who we want these awards to go to and what we want them to represent.”

    Look at that. I was right. Now they want the scientists’ “Igor” assistants to get the credit and the awards. The scientist wasn’t smart enough and didn’t work hard enough to author that scientific paper. Someone else wrote that.

  • Questioner

    I found this presentation quite instructive. Video maker: Data for this video is from the US Census Bureau.

    “History of Race & Ethnicity in the United States (1610-2060)”

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