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How Structural Racism Is Addressed by Open Science

Structural racism is a problem that has persisted in society for a significant period. Spreading its influence in the roots of the many systems the world relies upon, it becomes a danger to many and an issue requiring significant attention. Statistically, disparities between groups of people can be seen, with many of the differences aligning with the notion of race and ethnicity. Living conditions, the quality of health treatment, income, interactions with structures of power, legal and judicial systems, all the above, and many more can present people with different outcomes depending on their race. However, the importance and significance with which race affects every aspect of people’s lives are often understated.

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Due to the inability of such problems to be seen with the naked eye or solved through interactions with individuals, the process of actually ending systematic racism becomes much more difficult. People have often seen discriminatory actions as a fault of the individual or a particular group, which can be a confusing and incorrect way to look at the problem, which further complicates matters. It is necessary to have the ability to access the totality and intricacy of the issue while also finding something to do about it. In many cases, useful and important parts of society have been exploited to push a certain agenda, which is in many cases harmful and discriminatory. People in positions of power having certain political agendas, vested interests, or prejudices used the vital parts of society against the many people that inhabit it. In particular, science and research have often come to be used unjustly, pushing specific conclusions and promoting harmful ideas.

For many centuries in American history, the use of scientific data and research were utilized to promote the racist agenda and keep a large portion of the population under control by another. This was done to promote several specific goals – the superiority of white people as a class and maintain the power, wealth, and status of particular parts of American society. Science was co-opted as a way to justify discrimination, hate, violence, and inhuman actions done to black people. However, the times have changed since then. The vile and unfair nature of racism has become more widely understood by many and by society at large. The success of social movements and protests has helped marginalized communities pave the way towards more rights, and an ability to prosper and self-identify.

That being said, much remains to be done, and it is necessary to use public channels of communication and credibility as a way to educate people. In particular, the use of open-access scientific research plays a vital part in fighting racism. Giving more people an opportunity to understand the nature of systemic inequalities that permeate society while also giving more attention to the way they persist today can be a great tool for changing the world people live in. By giving people open access to knowledge, academia can make sure people have more understanding of their present condition, their place in life, and the role racism has played in it. It can give individuals the necessary understanding and vocabulary to understand some of the systematic grievances of the system they operate under. The understanding, in turn, can later become action and change. This way, the spread of public knowledge and access to real scientific research exists as a tool to combat prejudice.

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