The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

The Antiracist Uncertainty Principle

By Hymie Wernerberg

In our battle to replace systemic racism with antiracism, we turn our attention to physics—a field that is plagued by whiteness, according to Amy D. Robertson and W. Tali Hairston.

In his book, How to be an Antiracist, our prophet Ibram X. Kendi wrote that we must be activists that produce power and policy change in order to dismantle the systemic racism that defines Amerika. Now, power is a mechanical concept describing the rate of energy production or use. Watt, the unit of power, is equivalent to Joules/second, which is the amount of energy produced or used per unit time. I note that the Watt and the Joule are both named after dead white men. Given the enormous power Kendi has had in influencing colleges and universities across Amerika, in the name of antiracism, I propose that we change the name of the unit of energy from the Joule to the Kendi, and redefine power in units of Kendis per second.

Here I have characterized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in terms of energy in order to mathematize them in a manner that makes them consistent with quantum mechanics, one of the scientific foundations of postmodernist thought.

Mathematically, the antiracist uncertainty principle is given by:

ΔE Δt ≥ h/4π

where ΔE represents the change in Equity.  h is Planck’s constant, which is also known as the quantum of activism.  Δt represents the duration of time an idea has been in existence.

For back of the envelope calculations when using the antiracist uncertainty principle, assume that Δt = 63,072,000,000 seconds (= 2000 years) for classical ideas, Δt = 3,153,600,000 seconds (= 100 years) for modern ideas, and Δt = 1,576,800,000 seconds (= 50 years) for postmodern ideas.

By plugging in the duration of time each of the three types of philosophical ideas have been around, we see that the change in Equity (in energy units) is greatest when one uses ideas based on postmodernism. These ideas include critical race theory, critical queer theory, critical gender theory, critical disability theory, and any other critical theory that pits the oppressed against the oppressor.

By contrast, the change in Equity is lowest when using classical thinking; and the change in Equity is intermediate when using modern thinking.

Based on a quantum mechanical analysis of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I propose that more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion administrators be hired at every level in the university. However, in the long run, to maximize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a completely new way of thinking that has not been subjected to the test of time, is needed. As Δt0, ΔE∞. 

I have hope that physics can escape whiteness. After all, quarks, the basic building blocks of all things that matter, are particles of color. There is also hope in the fact that bosons were named after Satyendra Nath Bose, a person of color, and fermions were named after Enrico Fermi, who in his lifetime many considered to be non-White.


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