As an absolute antiracist, I am tired of problematic half measures like removing the names of scientists from buildings. We should cancel not only their names but also the fruits of their labors. Their scientific results are, after all, fruit from the poisonous tree.
To be an absolute antiracist, we must accept Critical Repugnance Theory (CRT) absolutely. The foundations of Critical Repugnance Theory are ingratitude, condemnation, and malice. The first step in bringing CRT to our campus is to determine which identity groups are irreparable, incurable, and irredeemable. The second step is to define each and every member of those groups by his/her worst moment, action, or word. The third step is to cancel each and every aspect of these cretins. To end systemic racism in science, we must cancel every scientific result, experiment, and theory built by white supremacists. In so doing we will have created a more inclusive campus where members of our Black, LatinX, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaska native, female, LGBTQI, and differently-abled communities will no longer have to face endless microaggressions that are disproportionately hurtful to those in historically marginalized communities.
Imagine the deep grief that members of our Black, LatinX, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaska native, female, LGBTQI, and differently-abled communities feel when they are exposed to the fruits of the research of white supremacist science. It is the fruit of the poisonous tree and it must all be canceled.
The first person we should erase is Philipp Lenard, who showed that in a vacuum, the electrons ejected from a metal by ultraviolet light could be accelerated or retarded by an electric field. The greater the electric field needed to retard the electrons, the greater the kinetic energy of those electrons must have been. Lenard showed that the kinetic energy of the ejected electrons was related to the frequency of the incident light and not to its intensity. Lenard, however, later became a Nazi white supremacist, and so his work should be canceled.
The Nobel Prize given to Albert Einstein should be taken away since it was given for the equation he proposed to describe the photoelectric effect. Einstein’s equation stated that the kinetic energy of an electron is equal to the product of Planck’s constant and the frequency of the light minus the amount of energy it takes to release an electron from an atom. Since Einstein’s work on the photoelectric effect was based on the work of Lenard, who later became a Nazi white supremacist, it too should be canceled. It is the fruit from the poisonous tree.
The next person who should be canceled is Robert Millikan, who provided the experimental proof that confirmed the validity of Albert Einstein’s equation for the photoelectric effect. The slope of the line that related the kinetic energy of the electrons ejected from a metal to the frequency of the incident light was equal to Planck’s constant, and the product of the x-intercept and Planck’s constant was equal to the work function–just as Einstein predicted. However, Millikan, turned out to be a white supremacist eugenicist whose name has been righteously ripped from the buildings of Cal Tech. His research too should be canceled.
Russell Ohl, who was merely privileged, discovered that light affected the flow of electrons across the p-n junction of a silicon slab. Dr. John Shive, who was also privileged, tested the light sensitivity of current flow in a transistor and showed that the photelectric effect could take place in a transistor. However, since the transistor was invented in part by William Shockley, who was a card-carrying white supremacist racist, this work too should be canceled. As Phil Szuromi wrote, Make no mistake. Shockley was a racist. Shockley was a eugenicist. That’s all.
The research of these white men made the development of solar cells possible. While solar cells are necessary to have carbon-free sustainable, solar energy, we should not suffer from white supremacy amnesia and celebrate the lives and works of white supremacists by using solar panels. While climate justice activists envision a “postcarbon” future that not only transforms energy infrastructures but also redresses the fossil fuel economy’s long-standing racial inequalities… this anti-racist rebranding of the “zero emissions” telos does not tend to the racial grief that’s foundational to white supremacy.
We must dismantle racism in science and take a zero tolerance antiracism-first approach to energy. Only then, will inclusive antiracist science and technology produced by members of our Black, LatinX, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaska native, female, LGBTQI, and differently-abled communities flourish.