As China’s Military Tech Dominates, US Science Bows to Racist ‘Justice’

China’s murky intentions regarding its Russian alliance and the Ukrainian war make headlines. Whatever the outcome, the next global conflict may well involve the use of Beijing’s growing technological prowess.

China has already surpassed America in several branches of quantum information science, involving massive computation and near-instantaneous communication – and in critical areas of artificial intelligenceall of which have military applications.

So this does not seem an ideal time for America to direct its limited resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to racial justice initiatives.

But legislation aimed at increasing our scientific competitiveness with China is riddled with mandates to “diversify” STEM faculty, student bodies, and research labs.

Regardless of the fact that diversity in STEM can currently only be achieved at the expense of scientific standards. Instead of sharpening our technological edge, Congress would weaken it.

the House passed the America COMPETES Act — a quarter-trillion-dollar, nearly 3,000-page behemoth — in February; The Senate passed similar legislation last year. Both drive the federal government to subsidize applied research and commercialization in areas like domestic semiconductor manufacturing and clean energy.

The bills are before the conference committee for approval. President Joe Biden will no doubt sign off on whatever comes out after campaigning for the legislation during his State of the Union address.

The House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act, aimed at helping the US compete with China in STEM fields.
The House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act, aimed at helping the US compete with China in STEM fields.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Of course, diversity is not a new pursuit for the federal STEM bureaucracy and its academic partners.

The National Institutes of Health Neuroscience Initiative, for example, requires applicants to demonstrate how they “enhance diverse perspectives” and “empower” individuals from groups that are “traditionally underrepresented” in biomedical research.

The National Science Foundation gives millions to academic STEM departments for “intersectional approaches” to achieving diversity.

Many universities require applicants to physics, engineering, and other STEM subjects to explain how their work will improve diversity in science. Diversity, Equality and Inclusion proposals deemed insufficiently enthusiastic will result in the automatic rejection of a candidate, regardless of academic credentials. The surest way to meet the requirements of the DEI declaration is to be diverse yourself.

But the America COMPETES Act and the United States Senate Innovation and Competition Act greatly expand this obsession with identity and racial justice. The following provisions are found in one or both bills; nothing has anything to do with actual scientific achievement:

  • A new grant program for research into race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity in STEM.
  • A new grant program for research into harassment of “vulnerable groups”, defined as ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and “persons from sexual and gender minorities”.
  • A new directorate within the National Science Foundation focused on “societal challenges” such as “inequality.”
  • A requirement that the NSF fund historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions that serve minorities, regardless of whether they conduct cutting-edge research. Funding decisions will also favor community colleges that enroll large numbers of underrepresented minorities, regardless of whether they conduct cutting-edge research.
  • Implicit bias training for program managers in all federal science agencies.
  • University racial and gender data submission on all aspects of STEM faculty recruitment and promotion, data that will inevitably guide future scholarship awards.
  • The Race and Sex Collection of Patent Applicants and Award Winners.
  • Greatly increased funding for NSF’s Chief Diversity Officer.
  • Workshops for federal academic chairs and heads of science labs on bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion. Discussions will address the “unique challenges” faced by underrepresented groups in STEM.
  • Subsidies to local school districts that prioritize “equal access” to STEM for underrepresented minorities. School districts that partner with black colleges receive a funding advantage.

US schools are eliminate gifted and talented programs in the name of racial equality and the disparagement, if not elimination, of algebra instruction in order to conceal racially diverse achievement in algebra instruction.

China is going the opposite way. It identifies his best math talents early and gives accelerated lessons to math gifted students. His rigorous university entrance exams reward effort and achievement, not identity. Undergraduate math competitions provide a pipeline to the best graduate programs in STEM.

Parents are protesting plans to phase out Gifted and Talented programs in New York schools on October 14, 2021.
Parents are protesting plans to phase out Gifted and Talented programs in New York schools on October 14, 2021.
AP Photo/John Minchillo, file

These efforts are working. Status 2018 China in first place in the international tests of K-12 mathematics, science and reading known as PISA; America ranked 25. Chinese teams dominate Stanford’s challenge for machine reading and the International Olympiad in Informatics. Highly qualified STEM PhD students are pouring out of graduate schools.

Republican opposition to the House and Senate bills focused on the federal government’s involvement in commercial research and development and the huge cost without strings attached.

But equally important should be the continued promotion of the irrelevance of race and gender in science. Scientific research is about one thing: advancing knowledge. Scientists are not tasked with closing the academic achievement gap; This task falls to families, those responsible for culture and schools.

Diverting more and more US STEM resources from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of supposed racial equality almost guarantees that a hard-line, performance-oriented China will win the war for scientific and technological supremacy, giving it a massive military advantage.

Heather Mac Donald is a Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Diversity Delusion. As China’s Military Tech Dominates, US Science Bows to Racist ‘Justice’


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