- On April 7, 2015, theoretical astrophysicist Dr. Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein spoke up on Twitter about the conflict surrounding the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea. But her points were broader than that, discussing how Western cultural notions of progress are not universal; the assumption that they are universal harms the people who do not share that culture. I thought her remarks were important and should be available for future discussion among the scientific community, so I asked for her permission to Storify them here.
- It started with this tweet.
- — Charee Peters (@SiouxperNova)Mon, Apr 06 2015 02:47:35As an indigenous astronomer, I need to say: This is sacred ground! No science is worth taking away people's culture. http://tinyurl.com/mls2lvh
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:11:47Discourse about astronomy in Hawai'i is very alienating. So many reminders that any of us who don't fit European def of progress: unwelcome
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:14:11How can intellectual descendents of European enlightenment be so confident that they understand "progress" better than others?
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:15:54Apparently the modern definition of progress involves destroying earth. Can people consider that maybe, maybe, sci comm isn't always right?
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:18:55What will happen if we put off a telescope to have a real, problem-solving discussion about colonialism and science? Will people die?
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:19:37I do know this: indigenous people have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Indigenous youth are killing themselves.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:21:01I stood in the shower & cried 2day because apparently I am part of a prof community where a piece of equip matters more than people's lives.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:21:53in case any1 is wondering why URMs sometimes feel alienated: bc I too come from a colonized people, so when you disrespect them, you dis me
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:23:22I am supposed to swallow that my peers want to run over the culture & lives of people like me and then go back to sharing the work with them
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:26:27So let me be loud and clear astronomy community: y'all are ruining the fucking stars for me.I can't look up now without thinking about this.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:27:49I totally agree with @DNLee5 that we have to resist these narratives and not let people take sci from us, but this is a struggle.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:28:46So when you try to convince urselves that those protestors up on Mauna Kea r in *your* way, please stop & think about what "progress" means
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:32:42I believe in progress which is why I believe we can and should stop to think, talk, and plan a post-colonial world full of art and science.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:36:22I've wanted to be a cosmologist since I was 10. And I believed that cosmology could improve people's lives. I want to believe that still.
- — Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:37:49What I have learned as a cosmologist is that science has too often been on the wrong side of "progress." I want that to change.
- — Katie Mack (@AstroKatie)Tue, Apr 07 2015 23:34:39@IBJIYONGI Do you ever get the feeling that people in power are just shifting around uncomfortably waiting for indigenous groups to die out?
Astronomy "Progress" Is Not Universal
byEmily Lakdawalla1 Like5,401 Views