Initial Publication Date: February 22, 2022

Anti-Racism Resources

With contributions from Chris Gentry, Tessa Hill, Cora Johnston, Olivia Lopez, Isabel Morris, and Erika Marin-Spiotta

Continued anti-Black police violence in the U.S., racial and ethnic inequities in COVID-19 related illnesses and deaths, and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic have lent renewed urgency to conversations and action to address systemic racism in the U.S. Racism is engrained in every aspect of our current society, including people's ability to access quality and affordable education, health care, housing, food, clean air and water, employment, and competitive salaries. Racism is also experienced in personal interactions through lack of trust, (micro)aggressions, active hostility and discrimination. The widespread lack of recognition of the violent history of colonization, genocide, disenfranchisement, dispossession, imperialism and white supremacy in the U.S. (and many other countries) contributes to failure to acknowledge their legacies in all aspects of today's society. The historical, societal and interpersonal context of racism contributes to racial inequities in academia and in science. Black scientists, for example, report having the police called on them by coworkers at their workplace, police interrogation at field sites, being followed by police on campus, being denied tenure, and being overlooked for promotion.


There is a wealth of scholarship on the history of the construction of race, racism, and racial identity which cannot be summarized on one page. Instead, we attempt to introduce some important concepts and point the reader to additional resources.

Scholars frame racism as a systemic feature of society, not an aberration of individual prejudice, but instead the product of intentional policies and practices to establish and perpetuate racial inequities.

The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn't shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.
-Toni Morrison

Learn about racism in the U.S.

Race is the child of racism, not the father.
-Ta-Nehisi Coates



Learn about history of racism in academia

Colleges were imperial instruments akin to armories and forts, a part of the colonial garrison with the specific responsibilities to train ministers and missionaries, convert indigenous peoples and soften cultural resistance, and extend European rule over foreign nations.
-Craig Steven Wilder. Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities


The following are a good introduction to the colonial and violent histories of the foundation of U.S. academic institutions of higher education.


Racism in STEMM

...classrooms are not only scenes of cosmology - the study of the origins and inner workings of the physical universe - but also scenes of society, complete with all the problems that follow society wherever it goes.
-Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. The Disordered Cosmos. A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, & Dreams Deferred




How does who you are shape what you know about the world? ... Few things are more difficult than to see outside the bounds of your own perspective—to be able to identify assumptions that you take as universal truths but which, instead, have been crafted by your own unique identity and experiences in the world. We live much of our lives in our own heads, in a reconfirming dialogue with ourselves. Even when we discuss crucial issues with others, much of the dialogue is not dialogue: it is monologue where we work to convince others to understand us or to adopt our view.

- David Takacs. How does your positionality bias affect your epistemology?


Ali et al. (2021) in their article An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations propose that for organizations to implement anti-racist and equitable practices, leadership and members need to ask themselves the following questions:

Who is in the organization?

Who benefits from the status quo?

Who holds power?

Who feels safe?

Who is left out and who is powerless?

Who feels unsafe?

Why do these differences exist?



Resources for anti-racist practices in STEM

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.

- Angela Y. Davis


10 Simple rules to facilitate antiracist dialogue in science workplaces

  1. Lead informed discussions about antiracism in your lab regularly
  2. Address racism in your lab and field safety guidelines
  3. Publish papers and write grants with BIPOC colleagues
  4. Evaluate your lab's mentoring practices
  5. Amplify voices of BIPOC scientists in your field
  6. Support BIPOC in their efforts to organize
  7. Intentionally recruit BIPOC students and staff
  8. Adopt a dynamic research agenda
  9. Advocate for racially diverse leadership in science
  10. Hold the powerful accountable and don't expect gratitude

- from Chaudhary and Berhe. Ten simple rules for building an antiracist lab

Six essential constructs for an anti-racist framework: identity, values, access, inclusion, equity, and justice (from Ali et al. 2020 An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations). Acknowledge the presence of racism and the role of intersectionality in shaping experiences of discrimination and exclusion. Be transparent about communicating the organization's values and hold it accountable. Ensure access by removing barriers to opportunities for full participation and career advancement. Recognize systems of oppression and exclusion and actively work towards inclusion. Ensure equity through active practices that counteract histories of exclusion. Address harms of racist and discriminatory histories and how they manifest in today's practices, such as colonial and parachute science.

Racism and anti-racism in the geosciences


Read this series of interviews at Stanford University written by Elenita Makani Nicholas:


Excellent resources by geoscientists 

URGE- Unlearning Racism in Geoscience is a NSF-funded community-wide journal-reading and policy-design curriculum to help geoscientists unlearn racism and improve accessibility, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (AJEDI) in our discipline.

GeoContext: A social and political context for geoscience education. Excellent site with resources and teaching modules for undergraduate and graduate courses to assist educators in integrating topics on racism, colonialism, imperialism, environmental damage, and exploitation of natural resources into subjects commonly taught within geoscience departments. Learn more about this project and read about the early career creators in this EOS article.

Geo Readings for Equity Crowd-sourced library with resources on: 1) the background of inequity in STEM higher ed, 2) particular Geoscience/Earth Science equity issues, and 3) strategies and resources for facilitating hard conversations, etc.

DEI Geoscience Literature Collection of articles related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Geosciences compiled by two early-career geoscientists, Julia Cisneros and Aída Guhlincozzi

Talking about race in earth and space science Resources for facilitating conversations about race and racism by J.C. Lerback

Communities of support (a sample)

See a broader list of communities of support in the earth, space and environmental sciences.

Learn more