The Data Fallacy

Jesús Pando
DePaul University
Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Data Fallacy

Despite two decades of efforts to improve the numbers of, the climate for, and promote the efforts of minoritized groups in physics, the situation for these communities remains problematic. Most of these efforts have relied on data to identify what the conditions are for minoritized groups and where the specific interventions can be developed to address the problems. Here I argue that the reliance on data is a convenient strategy that institutions use to absolve themselves of their responsibility for the state of the climate for minoritized groups. This strategy allows institutions to limit the resources devoted to improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in very narrow ways. Institutions use data as a way to resist real change and to instead maintain the dominant culture in physics. After making this case, I will outline the key points needed to transform the culture so that data can be placed in its proper context and the rectification of physics culture can begin.

Dr. Jesús Pando is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

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